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 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

The research group where the announced position will be placed is headed by Cecilia Williams. Her team focuses on the role of estrogen and non-coding RNA signaling in cancer and endocrinology ( The group combines large-scale molecular technologies with in vivo studies, mechanistic and functional cell biology studies. The laboratory is located at SciLifeLab, Solna (

The doctoral student project and the duties of the doctoral student

The doctoral Programme is a collaboration between the Karolinska Institutet and KTH Royal Institute of Technology, aiming towards a joint doctoral degree. ( ).This project is entitled “Molecular sex differences and estrogen receptor beta impact colorectal cancer development”. Colorectal cancer is the 3rd most common cancer for men and women, but a truly preventive or targeted therapy against this disease does not yet exist. Estrogen is associated with a lower incidence and our goal is to understand the basic mechanistic background of this association. Estrogen signaling is mediated by estrogen receptors which can be activated or inactivated by ligands, and are ideal candidates for therapeutic targeting.

The overall objective of this project is to dissect the molecular mechanisms underlying the protective effect of estrogen receptor beta against colorectal cancer and help understand the impact of sex and estrogen signaling in colorectal cancer development. The project involves tissue-specific knockout animals, specific stable cell lines, investigation of the role of inflammation and circadian rhythm, and application of mechanistic and functional studies using multiple techniques within molecular and cell biology, including chromatin-immunoprecipitation and large-scale methods such as RNA sequencing. It also includes collaboration with US institutions MD Anderson Cancer Center, University of Houston, and University of Illinois. The project is supported by grants from KID, the Swedish Research Council, and Swedish Cancer Society.

Duties and qualifications

  • Performing molecular biology, cell biology, and biochemical assays, including immunohistochemistry, immunofluorescence staining, transfections, chromatin immunoprecipitations, western blotting, qPCR
  • Applying omics approaches (e.g., RNA-seq) and bioinformatics
  • Animal studies
  • Organization of laboratory routines and documentation
  • Analyzing data, and presenting the results
  • Preparation of manuscript drafts and grant applications
  • Attending seminars, courses and conferences 

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 successful applicant is expected to be a highly motivated student with an ability to work independently as well as part of a team. Good communication skills in both spoken and written English is a requisite. Previous lab experience with basic techniques in molecular biology and biochemistry is required. Applicants with a strong background in cell or molecular biology, along with a deep interest in cancer or endocrine research will be higly considered. Prior research with documented proficiency involving cell culture, tissue handling, immunohistochemistry, western blotting, qPCR, animal studies, RNA-seq, and bioinformatics, is considered a merit. Experience from the fields of nuclear receptor signaling, colorectal cancer and risk factors such as obesity, colitis, and gut dysbiosis would be an advantage.

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 Solna
County Stockholms län
Country Sweden
Reference number STÖD 2-678/2022
  • Cecilia Williams, Researcher, +46-73-765 05 72
  • 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 11.Feb.2022
Last application date 04.Mar.2022 11:59 PM CET

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