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

Björn Högberg’s research group at the Biomedicum in Solna, Stockholm, at the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, Karolinska Institutet is looking for PhD candidates with an interest in developing next generation technologies for deciphering biology. We work with DNA nanostructures and DNA reaction networks to build future tools for bioengineering, biophysics and cell biology. Our diverse team of physicists, biologists, chemists, and computational biologists is a leading group in the field of DNA nanotechnology specialized in creating molecular tools for life-science. We offer a stimulating scientific environment and a top research infrastructure both locally, at the department level and institution level.

The doctoral student project and the duties of the doctoral student

This project is financed by a an ERC Advanced Grant to Björn Högberg with the aim to generate images of RNA distributions in tissue using methods that have become known as DNA Microcsopy. The principle is that by letting barcoded strands of DNA (for example cDNA) interact and concatenate in-situ, it is possible to generate adjacency information from sequence alone, independent from optical microscopy. This adjacency or neighbor-neighbor information can be used generate images in a computer. Today one person can routinely read millions of sequences on a weekly basis. And likely soon, we will be able to read billions of sequences daily in small labs. This outlook together with future increases in power of computational methods will then enable us, and others, to learn the inner secrets of biological system at a significantly faster rate.

The PhD student will need to actively contribute and innovate to the development of this technique and also use the technique to look at tissue samples to elucidate spatial heterogeneity and genetic or epigenetic mosaicism in biology, for example in stem-cell niches and germinal centers. We believe in letting people follow their passions, so the PhD student will have a considerable flexibility in driving his/her 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

You should preferably have a master’s degree within the fields of life sciences although exceptional candidates with a computer science or physics background with a keen interest in biological sciences are also welcome to apply.

If you are from the life sciences you should have familiarity with basic lab techniques such as PCR, basic enzymatic methods for nucleic acid manipulation (e.g. ligation, restriction digestion), gel electrophoretic techniques and similar. If you have a background in computer science or physics, you will be expected to learn these skills. 

The ability to conduct experimental work and the ability to document results in a precise and neat manner and to critically discuss and present results comprehensively is required.

Not a requirement but it will be considered advantageous if the applicant has knowledge and/or experience in one or some of the following:

  • DNA reaction networks or DNA nanostructures
  • Bioinformatics or programming
  • Systems biology
  • Computational biology
  • Spatial biology techniques

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 and a curriculum vitae, including contact information to 2 references.
- 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 according to agreement
Salary Monthly
Number of positions 1
Full-time equivalent 100
City Solna
County Stockholms län
Country Sweden
Reference number STÖD 2-2288/2024
  • Professor Björn Högberg ,
Union representative
  • Anurupa Nagchowdhury (OFR),
Published 29.May.2024
Last application date 04.Aug.2024 11:59 PM CEST
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