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

This PhD position will be placed at the Department of Oncology-Pathology within the new BioClinicum building at KI Solna. At out department, the successful candidate will interact with basic, translational, and clinical cancer researchers totaling approximately 300 individuals from over 40 different nations. In addition to this thriving international atmosphere, the candidate will have immediate access, through main supervisor Nick Tobin, to a vast support network of cancer bioinformaticians as part of the cBioNet consortium. Similarly, the candidate will meet regularly with oncologists, surgeons, pathologists, epidemiologists, and lab-based researchers as a part of the BRECT breast cancer and Cancer Research KI networks.

The doctoral student project and the duties of the doctoral student

Our team uses data from large scale omics-based technologies to derive novel insight into cancer biology. Taking this knowledge and determining its value in a routine clinical cancer setting is of central importance to the work we do. In this PhD position, we are specifically interested in understanding the differences in cell cycle transition genes and oncogenic signalling between cell cycle phases in breast cancer subtypes using large collections of single cell RNA-sequencing data. In addition, we aim to assess the impact of the tumour microenvironment on cell cycle activity using cutting edge spatial transcriptomic technology on whole breast tumour sections.

Your goal will be to fulfill these aims through hypothesis driven data analysis, the application of innovative methodology including machine learning and AI techniques and by eventually taking a lead role in combining the diverse expertise of a supportive and experienced research team. You will publish as first author in biological and clinical cancer journals, building your cv into to that of a successful translational researcher with the support to allow you to evolve into a well-rounded, 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

In general, we are seeking a candidate with a strong background in bioinformatics and statistics, preferably from a medical point of view, with experience of (or a keen interest in) learning the biological basis of cancer. Alternatively, a student with a tumour biology background and strong statistical programming skills would also be more than capable of taking on this PhD.

The candidate should have:

  • Strong skills in R or Python and basic knowledge of the command line
  • Excellent communication skills in English, both written and verbal
  • Experience of analysing large-scale, and/or next generation sequencing data is meriting but not essential

The candidate should be:

  • Friendly, helpful and willing to contribute to the larger team
  • Curious and open to new learning experiences
  • Interested in understanding cancer biology and the implementation of research findings in a clinical setting 

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 April 1st, 2023
Number of positions 1
Full-time equivalent 100
City Solna
County Stockholms län
Country Sweden
Reference number STÖD 2-273/2023
  • Nick Tobin,
Union representative
  • Helen Eriksson, OFR,
  • Henry Wölling, SEKO,
  • Per Hydbring, SACO,
Published 20.Jan.2023
Last application date 05.Mar.2023 11:59 PM CET

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