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.

We are looking for a highly motivated individual, who has demonstrated excellent performance in undergraduate studies, has substantial laboratory and/or computational research experience, and strong documented interest in epigenetics in particular. The proposed project will deepen our understanding of functional cell states present in early human development and will seek to explain how key lineage choices are made and how early embryonic tissues are formed.

The research group

The Elsässer group is an international and multicultural research group that focuses on applying new synthetic and chemical biology methods to understand chromatin structure and function. We are a dynamic, collaborative, and supportive team within the Division of Genome Biology, Department of Medical Biochemistry and Biophysics located at the Science for Life Laboratory in Stockholm. The group includes senior and junior researchers, bioinformaticians, administrators, PhD students and undergraduate trainees.

The doctoral student project and the duties of the doctoral student

We expect that the student will advance the project under supervision and will gradually acquire independence in planning, executing, analyzing and presenting data. The successful candidate will take part in all research-related activities such as group meetings, departmental seminars, relevant international meetings, supervision of other students and researchers, if necessary, as well as contribute to common lab routines. The project is embedded in a collaborative research program with Fredrik Lanner’s group at CLINTEC department and the student will play an active role in driving the collaborative effort in elucidating early human embryogenesis. Finally, the PhD student will work to fulfil the course requirements of the PhD program as outlined in the relevant rules and documentation available at the website.


The main supervisor is Simon Elsässer, associate professor and group leader. Co-supervisors are associate professor Fredrik Lanner, professor Oscar Fernandez‐Capetillo and Carmen Luzon, computer scientist. All supervisors are experts in the research field and the methodology to be used in this PhD project.

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.

(A) and (B) can only be certified by the documentation requirement for doctoral education.

Skills and personal qualities

We are looking for a curious, highly motivated and dedicated student with a background in one or more of the following areas: Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Medicine, Chemical Biology, Biotechnology, Computational Biology. The doctoral project focusses on in vitro model systems for mammalian development, and documented experience in wet laboratory research is an absolute requirement.

Following skills and experiences are an advantage

  • proficiency in mammalian cell culture, specifically pluripotent stem cell culture, in vitro differentiation or organoid/blastoid models
  • hands-on experience in ChIP-seq, CUT&RUN, CUT&Tag, RNA-seq or ATAC-seq or related bulk or single cell protocols
  • hands-on experience in (epi)genomics data analysis
  • understanding of current methods in epigenetics and stem cells
  • hands-on experience in standard laboratory methods such as flow cytometry, western blotting, microscopy
  • hands-on experience in proteomics techniques and/or proteomics data analysis

Excellent skills in the English language (both orally and in writing) are required, not the least because this is the official language of the group.

The successful candidate must be able to work independently within his/her project but also have the capacity to work efficiently and productively in a team. The successful candidate must have a professional and collaborative mindset. It is necessary to work carefully and systematically, adhere to strict research ethics and have excellent documentation and organization skills.

In the selection of the successful candidate, emphasis will be put on personal suitability, motivation, knowledge and practical experience. Our group strives to provide a world class training environment and is looking for a driven and passionate person who fits in and actively contributes to our team.

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. We prefer that your application is written in English, but you can also apply in Swedish.

Your application must contain the following documents:

- A personal letter (max 1 page) addressing the question “how do cells remember their identity” and optionally discussing how you would study this question.
- A curriculum vitae
- Degree projects and previous publications, if any
- Any other documentation showing the desirable skills and personal qualities described above
- 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 Upon agreement
Salary Monthly salary
Number of positions 1
Full-time equivalent 100
City Solna
County Stockholms län
Country Sweden
Reference number STÖD 2-1731/2023
  • Simon Elsässer,
Union representative
  • Anurupa Nagchowdhury, OFR,
Published 24.Apr.2023
Last application date 31.May.2023 11:59 PM CEST

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