Do you want to contribute to improving human health?

The Lindström research group offers a creative and inspiring environment filled with expertise and curiosity. Our vision is to contribute to top quality medical research within our field in order to improve survival and clinical management of breast cancer patients. We are part of the Department of Oncology and Pathology at BioClinicum, which combines basic, translational, and clinical cancer researchin an inspiring environment. Karolinska Institutet is one of the world's leading medical universities and since 1901 the Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet has selected the Nobel laureates in Physiology and Medicine. 

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

A PhD position is open in Linda Lindström’s research group.

We are seeking a highly motivated PhD student to join our team who is dedicated to improving the understanding of breast cancer and factors related to the development of metastatic disease and fatal breast cancer. Who has a high risk of dying from the disease and why? Breast cancer is a very heterogeneous disease both with regards to tumor biology, metastatic capacity and time to fatal disease. For instance, younger women are known to have a higher risk to die from their disease compared to middle-aged women, but the underlying reasons are not understood. A special interest of the Lindström group is to understand the long-term risk 20-30 years after primary diagnosis since we and others have shown that estrogen receptor (ER)-positive breast cancer patients have a steady and late risk of metastatic and fatal disease. A variety of approaches are used in the Lindström group to answer these research questions, and the group mainly conducts studies by annotating information on tumors in patient cohorts and clinical studies.

The group frequently collaborates with national and international research groups (USA, Netherlands, Norway, Spain) with a translational mindset. Linda Lindström is also the Co-Director of the Breast Cancer Theme Center (BRECT) at Karolinska Institutet and the Chairman of the national translational breast cancer network Swetribe including both preclinical and clinical researchers.

For further information about our work, please consult a selection of reports from our lab (or click on our research group link below):

Johansson and Lindström et al. JCO, 2022; Dar and Lindström et al. JAMA Netw Open, 2021; Yu and Lindström et al, JAMA Oncol. 2019; Lindström and Esserman et al, JNCI 2018.

The doctoral student project and the duties of the doctoral student

The PhD studies correspond to 4 years of full-time studies. The research program for this PhD position will include analytical but also more practical work, as well as scientific writing and courses, seminars, and presentations. The overall objective of the PhD studies is to improve the prediction of who will develop metastatic disease and die from breast cancer by determining key tumor characteristics influencing this risk, using unique clinical trial cohorts with long-term follow-up. The goal is to already at diagnosis be able to improve the clinical management by identifying patients at high and low risk for fatal disease.

We hypothesize and have previously shown that the early risk factors up to 10 years after diagnosis differ from the late or long-term risk factors for fatal breast cancer disease. Further, young (premenopausal) women have a worse prognosis as compared to older (postmenopausal) women and their risk is potentially also impacted by different factors. In addition, we have previously shown that intra- tumor heterogeneity of ER influences the risk of fatal breast cancer. Therefore as a continuation in these PhD studies, the aim is to determine the importance of intra-tumor heterogeneity down to single cell resolution, which now is also possible using spatial proteomics and novel image analysis methods that we will combine and develop further.

Endocrine therapy is the recommended and fundamental treatment for ER-positive breast cancer. It is however known that approximately half of patients do not benefit from the treatment, and the long-term benefit for patients with an initial benefit remains unclear. In these PhD studies we will continue the efforts to understand how pre- and postmenopausal status at diagnosis, tumor characteristics, and intra-tumor heterogeneity influence the time and pattern of endocrine treatment benefit.

The PhD student will have an important role in all the parts of the selected projects and the responsibilities will include literature review, statistical analysis, result interpretation, scientific article writing and data presentation. In addition, molecular analysis (mostly planning/ coordination), and more practical parts of the project (for example coordination of collection of potentially missing but needed patient information etc) will also be a part of the PhD student’s responsibility. Therefore, flexibility and a strong interest to work interdisciplinary (between clinical oncologists, pathologists/ biostatisticians/ epidemiologists/ molecular biologists etc) is very important.

Your supervisors have a broad expertise in biostatistics and epidemiology, oncology and molecular biology.

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 enthusiastic and highly motivated candidate with a clear interest in data analysis, molecular biology, and cancer research. Since the Doctoral student will work and communicate scientific findings in an interdisciplinary and international environment, good communication and writing skills in English are very important.

The applicant should have a mathematical and/or statistical undergraduate education and it is considered an advantage if the applicant also has documented knowledge of relevance to the area of research such as:

  • Documented subject knowledge of breast cancer or cancer in general
  • Documented experience in working with applied data analyses involving multidimensional data (for example patient cohorts or registry data)
  • Knowledge in high throughput analysis such as gene microarray, or RNA/ DNA sequence analysis, or spatial proteomics
  • Other documented knowledge or experience that may be relevant to the project

Emphasis will be placed on personal suitability.

Terms and conditions

The doctoral student will be employed on a doctoral studentship maximum 4 years full-time.

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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 September-October or as per agreement
Number of positions 1
Full-time equivalent 100
City Solna
County Stockholms län
Country Sweden
Reference number STÖD 2-2268/2023
  • Linda Lindström, +46-72-5365018,
Union representative
  • Helen Eriksson, OFR,
  • Henry Wölling, SEKO,
  • Per Hydbring, SACO/Nick Tobin, SACO,
Published 30.May.2023
Last application date 27.Jun.2023 11:59 PM CEST

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