The Department of Biosciences and Nutrition performs research and education in several areas of medical science including aging, Alzheimer, bioorganic chemistry, biomaterial, molecular endocrinology, cancer biology, functional genomics, systems biology, epigenetics, structural biochemistry, immunology, and nutrition. It offers an excellent international research and working environment, including around 250 scientists, students, administrative and technical personnel. The Department resides in Neo at Campus Flemingsberg, a biomedical research building, aimed at being a creative and open environment that enables meetings, synergies, and exploration of areas of mutual interest across disciplines.

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

The research group of associate professor Ivan Nalvarte studies estrogen signaling in reproduction, neurodevelopment and neurodegeneration. A key focus is on understanding sex differences and estrogen signaling in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) (Maioli S, et al., Essays in Biochemistry 2021). The research group integrates experimental in vivo and in vitro models of AD, with population-based cohorts on ageing and hormonal therapies. Thus, multidisciplinary research approaches and networks are important for the group. The group consists of one PhD student, one technician, and three researchers and is funded by among other the National Institutes of Health (NIH), STINT, Forska Utan Djurförsök, and Karolinska Institutet. The research group is located at the Department of Biosciences and Nutrition, Karolinska Institutet, Campus Flemingsberg.

The doctoral student project and the duties of the doctoral student

Women have an increased risk of being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) than men. Although many factors are likely involved in this increased female risk, both environmental and genetic, imbalances in sex hormone signaling during critical phases in life is suggested to have a prominent role in the sex differences in AD. In this project we will focus on a specific receptor for the female sex hormone, estrogen, the estrogen receptor beta (ERbeta). The project will explore the neuroprotective properties of ERbeta and how loss of ERbeta signaling in various cell types in different regions of the brain contributes to loss of resilience to nerve damage. The crosstalk between estrogen signaling and brain cholesterol metabolism in AD pathology will also be explored. We will use state-of-the-art methods and experimental AD models to decipher the role of ERbeta in vulnerability and resilience to AD in men and women.

The successful candidate is expected to have a profound interest in sex differences in neurodegeneration, enjoy practical lab work as well as in vivo experimental analyses. You are expected to independently but with support of the supervisors and fellow group members, generate and analyze data. The project is focused on in vivo analyses, including behavioral studies, biochemical, immunohistological, and cell biological analyses, as well as bioinformatic analyses of single cell transcriptomics. We work in collaboration with other groups and in an multidisciplinary way, which demands the applicant to be independent, creative, have a positive attitude and be collaborative. The candidate will supervise master students in the lab and participate in teaching activities at the department.

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

The applicant must have a basic theoretical knowledge in estrogen receptor signaling and in sex differences in Alzheimer’s disease. Furthermore the applicant must have practical experience in various gene and protein expression analyses, microscopy, cytokine profiling, cell sorting, and experience in handling rodent models. It is desirable that the applicant also has experience in transcriptomics analysis using bioinformatics tools, as well as be able to write scripts in R or python. The applicant must be fluent in both written and spoken English. A positive attitude and strong drive to pursue research is a must. Emphasis will be put on personal qualities in the selection process.

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.

Want to make a difference? Join us and contribute to better health for all

Type of employment PhD placement
Contract type Full time
Number of positions 1
Full-time equivalent 100
City Huddinge
County Stockholms län
Country Sweden
Reference number STÖD 2-5481/2021
  • Ivan Nalvarte, group leader, +46-8-524 811 48
  • Thomas Tinglöv, Head of administration, +46-8-524 835 49
Union representative
  • Anders Lindholm, OFR, +46-8-524 810 12
  • Henry Wölling, SEKO, +46-8-524 840 80
  • Torkel Falkenberg, SACO, +46-70-618-38-68
Published 15.Dec.2021
Last application date 12.Jan.2022 11:59 PM CET

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