A PhD student position is available in the group of Docent Leonard Girnita at the Department of Oncology-Pathology. The successful applicant will join a multidisciplinary research team with a translational profile in cancer signaling.

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 group led by Docent Leonard Girnita focuses on signaling pathways dysregulated in cancer, in particular in clarifying the role of the cross-talk between G-protein coupled receptors (GPCR) and tyrosine kinase receptors (RTK). Girnita and colleagues have identified the molecular mechanism of IGF1R biased signaling, demonstrating that GRK/β-arrestin complex controls IGF-1R functional outcomes. They have also identified natural and therapeutic “biased” agonists and the major goal is to translate this knowledge into clinical practice.

More information about the group and research can be found at our homepage:


The doctoral student project and the duties of the doctoral student

The overall objective for the PhD student (PhDs) is to learn and perform innovative preclinical studies to investigate the function of the βarr/GRKs signaling complexes involved in the GPCR/RTK  crosstalk. The successful candidate will also learn how to use the generated knowledge to develop novel strategies for improved management of cancer patients. The supervisors represent expertise in tumor pathology, molecular pathology and tumor biology. The group has established model systems to study dysregulated signaling and its relation to tumor progression. The translational approach is aided through access to clinical material relevant for the project and close clinical collaborations.

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 an ambitious, highly motivated PhD student. The successful candidate is expected to be organized and structured, work independently and have an ambitious and innovative attitude. The project is multi-disciplinary and involved national and international collaboration therefore excellent collaborative skills are essential.

This project covers many areas, including generation of stable cell lines, CRISPR, gene cloning and mutagenesis, recombinant protein production and purification, analytical biochemistry assays, imaging. Therefore, the candidate should have theoretical knowledge and practical experience in at least some of the described areas.

Essential requirements

The candidate should be able to document very good experience with the following:

  • Cell culture work: cell culture, cell growth and cell death assays, 3D culture models, transgenic modification of cell lines.
  • RNA experiments: RT-qPCR, DNA/RNA extraction.
  • Protein experiments: Western blots, immunostaining, FACS, immunoprecipitation, sample preparation to be used in animal models.
  • Demonstrate ability to organize, plan and document experimental bench-work.
  • Excellent communication skills and the ability to work both independently and in collaboration with colleagues in very diverse fields.
  • Ability to stay on top of the relevant research field.
  • Experience in scientific writing.

Desired requirements

  • Cell culture work: Generation of stable cell lines.
  • RNA experiments: quantitative PCR,  RNA extraction from FFPE samples. Plasmid constructions using restriction enzymes and gateway system. Experience with next-generation sequencing analysis including RNA and DNA seq, ChIPseq,
  • Experience with advanced state-of-the art confocal microscopy, FRET/BRET.
  • Xenopus or zebrafish experiments: Handling of these animals, microinjection techniques to eggs, and whole mount in situ hybridization.
  • Previous experience in experimental application of molecular and cellular biology techniques in cancer-biomarkers discovery.
  • Documented research experience within cancer signaling field.
  • Experience in supervising/co-supervising students at the undergraduate level.
  • Experience in scientific writing documented by scientific publications.

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
First day of employment As soon as possible
Number of positions 1
Full-time equivalent 100
City Stockholm
County Stockholms län
Country Sweden
Reference number STÖD 2-3435/2022
  • Leonard Girnita, leonard.girnita@ki.se
Union representative
  • Andreas Lundqvist, SACO/Nick Tobin, SACO, andreas.lundqvist@ki.se/nick.tobin@ki.se
  • Helen Eriksson, OFR, helen.eriksson@ki.se
  • Henry Wölling, SEKO, henry.wolling@ki.se
Published 01.Sep.2022
Last application date 22.Sep.2022 11:59 PM CEST

Return to job vacancies