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

A PhD position is open in Dr Linda Lindström's research group.

Our research focus is to understand the risk for women diagnosed with breast cancer to later die from their disease. This is important because breast cancer is the most common cancer, common already mid-life, and the main cause of death. Breast cancer is a diverse disease both considering tumor aggressiveness and time to metastatic disease, which varies from months to several decades after primary diagnosis. Therefore, an improved way of identifying patients at high and low risk to die from their disease is important to individualize treatment and improve our approaches for disease prevention. Our research group uses a variety of approaches in our studies, but the research is mainly patient oriented and based on clinical studies and cohorts.

The group frequently collaborates with national and international research groups (USA, Netherlands, Spain) with a translational mindset. For instance Dr. Lindström is the Chairman of the Swedish breast cancer network SweTRIBE including both preclinical and clinical researchers.

Linda Lindström

Linda Lindström's group

The doctoral student project and the duties of the doctoral student

The PhD studies correspond to 4 years of full-time studies. The research program for this PhD position will include analytical but also more practical work, as well as scientific writing and courses, seminars and presentations. The project focuses on studies to determine which patient and tumor characteristics that are associated with long-term (20 years) survival in women diagnosed with breast cancer. The goal is to already at diagnosis be able to improve the clinical management by identifying patients at high and low risk for fatal disease.

We are initiating several research studies on long-term survival. In one study we will continue our research initiatives on breast cancer intra-tumor heterogeneity as we have found high intra-tumor heterogeneity associated with poor survival (Lindström et al, JNCI 2018, PMID: 29361175). In this study we will use several approaches to further understand intra-tumor heterogeneity of breast cancer tumors. One of the projects will focus on image analysis of tumor slides (using AI/ machine learning methods etc) to assess tumor heterogeneity, and in another project we will use single-cell sequencing to assess information on the expression of genes in breast cancer tumor cells. We have also recently finished the annotation of two large clinical trials with genomic information and tumor characteristics to determine which factors that are associated with long-term survival (Esserman and Lindström et al, JAMA Oncology 2017, PMID: 28662222). Our ultimate goal is to improve patient survival by identifying risk factors for fatal disease and implementing our findings in clinical management.

The PhD student will have an important role in all the parts of the selected projects and the responsibilities will include literature review, statistical analysis, result interpretation, scientific article writing and data presentation. In addition, molecular analysis (mostly planning/ coordination since in the research group molecular analyses are generally sent to core facilities for genetic analysis such as sequencing etc), and more practical parts of the project (for example coordination of collection of potentially missing but needed patient information etc) will also be a part of the PhD student’s responsibility. Therefore, flexibility and a strong interest to work interdisciplinary (between clinical oncologists, pathologists/ biostatisticians/ epidemiologists/ molecular biologists etc) is very important.

Your supervisors have a broad expertise in epidemiology and biostatistics, oncology and molecular biology.

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 looking for an enthusiastic and highly motivated candidate with a clear interest in statistical analysis and cancer research. Since the Doctoral student will work and communicate scientific findings in an interdisciplinary and international environment, good communication and writing skills in English are very important.

The applicant should have a mathematical and/or statistical undergraduate education and it is considered an advantage if the applicant also has documented knowledge of relevance to the area of research such as:

  • Documented experience in working with applied data analyses involving multidimensional data of epidemiological nature (for example patient cohorts or registry data)
  • Documented subject knowledge of breast cancer or cancer in general
  • Knowledge in high throughput analysis such as gene microarray) or RNA/ DNA sequence analysis
  • Other documented knowledge or experience that may be relevant to the project

Emphasis will be placed on personal suitability.

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 As per agreement
Reference number 2-2444/2020
  • Linda Lindström, 08-524 881 17,
Union representative
  • Helen Eriksson, OFR, 08-524 823 38
  • Andreas Lundqvist, SACO, 08-517 768 84
Published 01.Jun.2020
Last application date 30.Jun.2020 11:59 PM CET

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