The Department of Medicine, Solna, is one of the largest departments at Karolinska Institutet. The department consists of several divisions that are separated into different research groups. The core activities of the department are research, doctoral education and undergraduate education for medical and biomedical students. The research has three main profiles: allergy, cardiovascular medicine and inflammatory diseases.

Do you want to contribute to top quality medical research?

To be a doctoral student means to devote oneself to a research project under supervision of experienced researchers and following an individual study plan. For a doctoral degree, the equivalent of four years of full-time doctoral education is required.

The research group

The doctoral student will work within the Pulmonomics research group, led by Associate professor Åsa Wheelock ( ), within the Respiratory Medicine Unit, Center for Molecular Medicine and Department of Medicine Solna. Our research interests can be broadly defined as developing a respiratory systems medicine framework for molecular sub-phenotyping of chronic inflammatory diseases of the lung. We focus equal efforts on translational studies of the response to environmental exposures in patient cohorts, and innovation & methodology development in the fields proteomics, multivariate modeling and data integration. Our translational systems medicine studies encompass profiling of mRNA, miRNA, proteomes, metabolomes and lipid mediators of from multiple lung compartments (airway epithelium, alveolar macrophages, exosomes, and bronchoalveolar exudates) using multiple omics platforms, in combination with extensive clinical phenotyping. The strength of our approaches is the ability to integrate information from multiple molecular levels and anatomical locations both to improve the statistical power in small patient cohorts, and to improve our understanding of disease mechanisms on a systems level.

Project and duties

The doctoral educational project will be performed within the international ArthritisHeal project that aims to train young researchers to generate novel therapeutic targets focusing on the role of pro-resolving lipid mediators in two rheumatic diseases: osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA). This project is included in Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions Innovative Training Networks (H2020-MSCAITN-2018) program of courses and exchange visits between the partner institutions. Part of the training period will be carried out at the other partner institutions. For more information and details about the project, please go to the ArthritisHeal website ( ).

The successful candidate will be joining a large research team of clinicians, experimental scientists, statisticians and bioinformaticians to investigate how autoimmunity is generated in RA via the lung compartment, with focus on the role of exosomes and other extracellular vesicles (EVs) as mediators. Specific autoimmunogenic peptides presented on the surface of EVs, as well as miRNA- and immune-modulating lipid (oxylipin) cargos involved in disease etiology will be identified and correlated with rigorous clinical phenotyping. The work will be conducted both on cell culture models, as well as on a bronchoalveolar lavage samples collected on a patient cohort consisting of newly diagnosed RA patients and controls. The PhD-student is responsible for planning and performing the experiments and reporting and publishing the results in scientific journals and at international conferences. A student with a specific interest in bioinformatics may also be trained in the multi-omics integration approaches pursued in the group, whereas a student with a specific analytical interest may be trained in mass spectrometry and lipidomics through co-advisor Assistant professor Antonio Checa ( ). The studies are performed in close collaboration with clinicians at the Karolinska University Hospital both in Respiratory medicine (co-advisor: Prof. C. Magnus Sköld) and Rheumatology (co-advisor: Prof Anca Catrina), enabling the successful candidate to be directly involved in translational systems medicine efforts.

What do we offer?

A creative and inspiring environment full of expertise and curiosity. Karolinska Institutet is one of the world's leading medical universities. Our vision is to pursue the development of knowledge about life and to promote a better health for all. At Karolinska Institutet, we conduct successful medical research and hold the largest range of medical education in Sweden. As a doctoral student you are offered an individual research project, a well-educated supervisor, a vast range of elective courses and the opportunity to work in a leading research group. Karolinska Institutet collaborates with prominent universities from all around the world, which ensures opportunities for international exchanges. You will be employed on a doctoral studentship which means that you receive a contractual salary. Employees also have access to our modern gym for free and receive reimbursements for medical care.

Eligibility requirements for doctoral education

Eligibility criteria for the early stage researcher within ArthritisHeal project

  • not have resided in the country of the recruiting beneficiary (Sweden) for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately before the recruitment date
  • not have spent more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to the date of selection in the same appointing international organization (Karolinska Institutet)
  • be at the date of recruitment in the first four years of his/her research career
  • not have a doctoral degree

In order to participate in the selection for a doctoral position, you must meet the following general (A) and specific (B) eligibility requirements at latest by the application deadline.

It is your responsibility to certify eligibility by following the instructions on the web page Entry requirements (eligibility) for doctoral education.

A) General eligibility requirement
You meet the general eligibility requirement for doctoral/third-cycle/PhD education if you:

  1. have been awarded a second-cycle/advanced/master qualification (i.e. master degree) or
  2. have satisfied the requirements for courses comprising at least 240 credits of which at least 60 credits were awarded in the advanced/second-cycle/master level, or
  3. have acquired substantially equivalent knowledge in some other way in Sweden or abroad.*

Follow the instructions on the web page Entry requirements (eligibility) for doctoral education.

*If you claim equivalent knowledge, follow the instructions on the web page Assessing equivalent knowledge for general eligibility for doctoral education.

B) Specific eligibility requirement

You meet the specific eligibility requirement for doctoral/third-cycle/PhD education if you:

- Show proficiency in English equivalent to the course English B/English 6 at Swedish upper secondary school.

Follow the instructions on the web page English language requirements for doctoral education.

Verification of your documents
Karolinska Institutet checks the authenticity of your documents. Karolinska Institutet reserves the right to revoke admission if supporting documents are discovered to be fraudulent. Submission of false documents is a violation of Swedish law and is considered grounds for legal action.

Skills and personal qualities

We are looking for a talented and highly motivated student with a background in biomedicine, biochemistry, molecular biology, systems medicine or omics-related field. Practical experience with cell culture-, molecular biology-, mass spectrometry- or protein biochemistry techniques is preferable. Previous experience within similar projects as well as with bioinformatics or biostatistics is a merit. The successful candidate must have good communication and collaborative skills, and excellent knowledge of written and spoken English is essential.


The position is located within the Department of Medicine, Solna. The department consists of twelve divisions and each division consists of several research groups. The position is located within the Pulmonomics research group, led by Associate professor Åsa Wheelock ( ), within the Respiratory Medicine Unit.

Terms and conditions

The doctoral student will be employed on a doctoral studentship maximum 4 years full-time.

Application process

Submit your application and supporting documents through the Varbi recruitment system. Use the button in the top right corner and follow the instructions.

Your application should contain the following documents:

- A personal letter and a curriculum vitae (Swedish or English)
- Degree projects and previous publications, if any (Swedish or English)
- Any other documentation showing the desirable skills and personal qualities described above (Swedish or English)
- Documents certifying your general eligibility (see A above)
- Documents certifying your specific eligibility (see B above)

A selection will be made among eligible applicants on the basis of the ability to benefit from doctoral education. The qualifications of the applicants will be evaluated on an overall basis.

Karolinska Institutet uses the following bases of assessment:

- Documented subject knowledge of relevance to the area of research
- Analytical skill
- Other documented knowledge or experience that may be relevant to doctoral studies in the subject.

All applicants will be informed when the recruitment is completed.

Want to make a difference? Join us and contribute to better health for all

Type of employment Doktorandplats
Contract type Full time
Reference number 2-5707/2019
  • Åsa M Wheelock, +46 70-22 00 308 /
Union representative
  • Niklas Andersson, OFR,
  • Biborka Bereczky Veress, SACO, 46 70-173 85 75
Published 15.Nov.2019
Last application date 09.Dec.2019 11:59 PM CET

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