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 student will be working and trained in Hong Qian’ group at the Center for hematology and Regeneratve Medicine (HERM), the Department of Medicine Huddinge.

The group aims to unravel the role of leukemic microenvironment/niche in the progression and drug response of myeloid leukemia including acute and chronic myeloid leukemia (AML and CML). The ultimate goal is to identify new niche- based therapeutic targets for better treatment outcome of the diseases. The group so far has been mainly focusing on the mesenchymal niche in myeloid leukemia in patients and mouse models. The group has identified a set of molecules that are dysregulated in leukemia niche. The main technologies used include multi-color flow cytometry, confocal imaging, lineage tracing, in vitro and in vivo stem cell assays including coculture and transplantation, as well as advanced molecular tools including RNA sequencing, digital PCR and single cell PCR.

The doctoral student project and the duties of the doctoral student

The doctoral project will be conducted under the main supervisor Hong Qian, co-supervisors Julian Walfridsson, Andreas Lennartsson and Johanna Ungerstedt with unique expertise on gene regulation, epigenetics and myeloid nalignancies, respectively. The project will be focusing to uncover the molecular pathways that mediate leukemic cell interactions with their niche and can serve as potential therapeutic targets for myeloid leukemia, particularly, AML which is a devastating disease with very poor treatment outcome in most of the patients.

Recent studies from Hong Qian group have revealed an array of altered niche factors in AML. Among them, we have shown that laminin a4 chain (Lama4), a receptor-binding chain of extracellular matrix protein laminin isoforms, inhibits AML progression and relapse since loss of Lama4 in host microenvironment accelerates AML onset and relapse (Cai, et al., Blood, 2022). One of the aims within this project will be to reveal molecular mechanisms mediating the functional impact of Lama4 on AML and potential therapeutic effects of Lama4 on AML?

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 seeking a motivated, responsible and organized candidate. The applicant must be able to work flexibly and in a high-paced research environment. Good proficiency of spoken and written English, strong organizational skills, experience with mice, flow cytometry and cell culture, particularly, co-culture with mesenchymal stem cells, will be desired.

Eligible applicants should hold a degree of Master within Molecular Biology and translational research. Personal suitability will be a strong selection criterion.

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 Stockholm
County Stockholms län
Country Sweden
Reference number STÖD 2-460/2023
  • Hong Qian,
Union representative
  • Belinda Pannagel, SACO,
  • Mari Gilljam, OFR,
Published 02.Feb.2023
Last application date 02.Mar.2023 11:59 PM CET

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