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

In 2021 Assistant Professor Bennie Lemmens has started a new research group at Karolinska Institutet (KI) in Stockholm, focussed on DNA replication & Cancer Genetics. His team at KI aims to discover how human cells copy DNA and maintain genome stability. The Lemmens group also implements this knowledge to design better, more selective anti-cancer treatments. The lab is hosted in the Science for Life Laboratory (SciLifeLab), a national center for molecular biosciences with focus on health and environmental research.

The Lemmens group is formed by a young, dynamic and enthusiastic group of scientists of different backgrounds and knowledge and offers the perfect environment for a PhD candidate willing to learn and develop as an independent scientist. The group has obtained generous funding from KI faculty (incl.100% KID grant), the Swedish Research Council and the Mark Foundation for Cancer Research, which secures its activities in the long term. The group is also embedded in a highly collaborative and engaging Genome Biology division at the department of Medical Biochemistry and Biophysics (MBB), which makes it a great place to acquire new skills and scientific networks.

Research in the Lemmens laboratory aims at gaining fundamental insights into the cellular mechanisms that control genome stability. Of particular interest is discovery of targets for personalized cancer treatment using a range of genetics/CRISPR approaches as well as cutting-edge imaging methods, including live-cell, high-content, super resolution and expansion microscopy.

Understanding human biology and finding innovative cancer cures is a global team effort and the Lemmens laboratory works closely together with research pioneers around the world as well as many synergetic labs within the division, including the groups of Dr. Jiri Bartek, Dr. Oscar Fernandez Capetillo, Dr. Simon Elsässer and Dr. Nicola Crossetto, which are experts in cancer biology, cell-based screening, chromatin dynamics and DNA sequencing technologies, respectively.

The doctoral student project and the duties of the doctoral student

The student will be responsible for his / her own project and should be able to work well within a team of research group members and collaborators. The student should, with the guidance from the supervisor(s), be able to plan and perform experiments, analyse results, write scientific articles, and present results at scientific meetings.

The project is aimed to define how human cells start DNA replication and find new clues on how to improve cancer care. The forced proliferation of cancer cells compromises DNA replication fidelity and causes DNA replication stress. DNA replication stress promotes genome instability and cancer progression but also provides therapeutic opportunities. Therapeutic drugs that hinder the start of DNA replication show promising anti-cancer activities, especially for cancers lacking the tumorsuppressor p53. However, to date, surprisingly little is known about how human cells start DNA replication, hampering the design and validation of innovative therapies that act at the level of replication initiation. The doctoral student will create new human cell models to study the mechanism of DNA replication using cutting-edge protein depletion methods and CRISPR-based genome modification techniques. These cell models will be studied using advanced imaging and single-cell analysis platforms already established in the lab, allowing the student to detect DNA replication in time and space with high precision. The PhD student will practice a number of molecular and cellular techniques, including cell culture, RNAi, CRISPR-editing, immunofluorescence microscopy, live-cell imaging and 3D tissue expansion. An important aspect of the project is the use of automated microscopy in combination with image analysis in order to obtain information from different cell types and treatments. We believe this project will provide critical insight into the mechanism of human cell proliferation and provide new clues on how to design better, more selective cancer therapies. At the same time the project exposes the student to a wide variety of frontline techniques and intricate biological phenomena in both time and space, which, together with our support, will create an inspiring environment and solid foundation to grow as an independent scientist.

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

Successful candidates are expected to be highly talented, motivated and enthusiastic. Applicants should have innovative thinking and be eager to solve problems. We especially put an emphasis on motivation and interest for research in cell biology and cancer genetics. A master degree in molecular medicine, biomedicine, or equivalent is highly desirable. Since the study involves various CRISPR methods and imaging techniques previous experience in gene technology and/or fluorescence microscopy is considered a merit.

Excellent communication skills and fluency in both written and spoken English is a request. The applicants should have strong organizational skills with the ability to work both in a group but also individually. 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. 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
- 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.

Last day to submit your application is 26th of January 2022, 11:59 PM CET. 

For more information regarding our division and/or Karolinska Institutet, visit:

Research division of Genome Biology

KI - Your career continues here

KI Strategy 2030

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 2-5362/2021
  • Bennie Lemmens,
Union representative
  • Anurupa Nagchowdhury, OFR,
  • Hongyan Xia, SACO,
Published 16.Dec.2021
Last application date 26.Jan.2022 11:59 PM CET

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