Do you want to contribute to improving human health?

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 PhD position is available at the Division Cancer proteomics Mass spectrometry (MS) research group at Science for Life Laboratory (SciLifeLab). The division is headed by Prof. Janne Lehtiö and the doctoral studies will be conducted in the leukemia subgroup led and supervised by assistant professor Rozbeh Jafari. We are a translational group of scientists with a drive to improve personalized cancer treatment by the means of mass spectrometry-based proteome analysis. Proteomics is a research field aiming to study proteins on a systems level by simultaneous analysis of thousands of proteins. We aim to gain new knowledge on proteins in the context of biological networks, to discover biomarkers and understand how genome changes impact the proteome level. In addition to the MS-data, we also generate genomic and transcriptomic data at SciLifeLab, which are used together with proteomics data to gain in-depth insights into cancer biology. We are engaged in method development projects to improve tissue, cell line and plasma proteomics, for example, using high resolution peptide isoelectric focusing (HiRIEF), subcellular localization analysis and targeted proteomics to increase sensitivity and throughput in clinical validation of proteomics data. We are also applying thermal proteome profiling (TPP) to study target engagement of drugs in a variety of contexts for target and off-target identification.

To strengthen our leukemia subgroup led by assistant professor Rozbeh Jafari we are seeking a PhD student within the field of molecular and cellular biology in leukemia research.

For further information, see the Lehtiö research lab homepages:

Janne Lehtiös Group

Lehtiö Lab

The doctoral student project and the duties of the doctoral student

The focus of this doctoral project will be on childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) which is the most common childhood malignancy. Although most of the patients are cured by the standard broad therapies, there is still need for new and improved therapies that can help children who do not respond and those who relapse in disease. In addition, the current intensive broad and cytotoxic therapy results in higher morbidity and mortality in the ALL survivors due to a myriad of long-term side effects decreasing their quality of life. Therefore, there is an immediate need for novel and improved therapies for a more successful treatment of childhood ALL with fewer relapses and severe side-effects. In this proposal, we will work on validating novel biomarkers from already generated genomics and proteomics data derived from childhood ALL cell lines as well as clinical specimens using standard molecular and cellular biology methods such as DNA/RNA/protein preparation and characterization, immunoprecipitation, western blot, RT-PCR, siRNA/shRNA transfection and gene overexpression as well as drug sensitivity and resistance testing. The doctoral student will also learn and apply thermal proteomics methods such as cellular thermal shift assay (CETSA) and TPP to study and characterize investigational oncology drugs in relevant disease models. The candidate is expected to work within the general framework of the research project but will be encouraged to contribute with ideas and proposals for experiments and spin-off projects. The doctoral studies correspond to four years of full-time studies and include laboratory work, data analysis, general and project related research courses, active participation in seminars, participation in writing scientific papers, and to present results at national and international seminars and meetings.

The current position offers great possibility for innovative research combining cutting-edge genomics, quantitative- and thermal proteomics together with a dedicated group of scientists.

Project title: Integrated proteomics analysis for precision therapy of childhood leukemia.

Supervisor: Rozbeh Jafari, PhD, Dept. of Oncology-Pathology, Karolinska Institutet

Co-supervisor: Janne Lehtiö, PhD, Dept. of Oncology-Pathology, Karolinska Institutet

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

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 seeking a highly self-motivated doctoral student who is creative, independent, goal-oriented and driven by the interest in solving research questions. The candidate should have a degree in cell- or molecular biology, immunology, medicine, biotechnology or an equivalent field. The applicant should have extensive laboratory skills and basic knowledge of cell and molecular biology. An ideal candidate has a scientific background with a desire to work with cancer research in a translational, interdisciplinary and international research environment. The applicant is expected to work in a diligent manner and to take responsibility in generating properly controlled scientific data of high quality.

Previous experience in haematological cancers, drug development and screening, mass spectrometry-based proteomics or other omics technologies are highly valued and beneficial. In addition, previous experience in programming (for instance R or Python), basic bioinformatics data and statistical analyses are considered as an advantage for this project.

The applicant should have excellent communication skills and the ability to work productively in a team of researchers. Excellent ability to express themselves in speech and writing, including scientific writing in English is a requirement. We place great emphasis on personal suitability to the project and group.

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 PhD placement
Contract type Full time
First day of employment Early September 2020
Reference number 2-1296/2020
  • Rozbeh Jafari,
  • Helena Bäckvall,
Union representative
  • Andreas Lundqvist, SACO, 08-517 768 84
  • Helen Eriksson, OFR, 08-524 823 38
Published 10.Mar.2020
Last application date 06.Apr.2020 11:59 PM CET

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