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 follow an individual study plan. For a doctoral degree, the equivalent of four years of full-time doctoral education is required.

The research group

The Ådén research group’s goal is to save the brains of critically ill neonates by preventing and treating brain injury, and to avoid adverse neurodevelopmental outcomes. We study the underlying mechanisms and novel treatment strategies using state-of-the-art multilevel approaches. We offer excellent training opportunities with focus on neuroimmunology in a dynamic multidisciplinary work environment, national and international collaborations, possibilities to publish articles in high-impact journals, and a project where you can make a difference.

The group belongs to the Division of Neonatology, Obstetrics and Gynecology of the Department of Women’s and Children’s Health, and the lab is located in the Solna Campus. Work is also performed in the KMB animal facility.

The doctoral student project and the duties of the doctoral student

Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy is a major cause of neonatal death and long-term disability globally. Subsequent inflammation after the brain injury has been identified to be an important factor for neurological outcomes. Most studies have focused on early immunological changes following cerebral ischemia, but this strategy excludes many children from therapy since they present too late. Our group was the first to find long-lasting inflammation with activated T cells in the brain parenchyma up to five months after cerebral hypoxic ischemia in rodents, and that peripheral lymphocytes in animals exposed to a neonatal brain injury are proliferating in response to brain antigens several months later. Modulating this immune response may be beneficial in terms of neurological outcomes.

We aim to develop a novel therapy for alleviation of hypoxic ischemic brain injury through T-cell modulation. The project will address both translational and clinical research questions. The prospective student will be introduced to the biology of T-cells in the normal and injured developing brain, in close contact with immunologists, pediatric neuroscientists, and clinicians, and will learn state-of-the-art techniques, such as flow cytometry and single cell RNA sequencing.

The work will be performed in vivo using animal models, as well as in vitro using cell cultures.

Specific project objectives include: a) Characterization of the temporal and regional pattern of T-cell activation in different brain regions after hypoxic-ischemic injury in the mouse brain, b) Study of the effects of pharmacological agents modulating T-cell function on injury size and behavioral outcomes, c) Characterization of the temporal pattern and T-cell activation in the peripheral blood and relation to outcomes.

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 a highly motivated and enthusiastic candidate who expresses a passionate research interest in the research aims of the lab.

The candidate should be able to work efficiently with the research team but also be self-driven to conduct independent duties to drive the project. The candidate should be creative and able to bring original ideas into the project.

Since the applicant will work in a multidisciplinary environment, the ability to work with other scientists from other teams, and good communication skills (proficiency in spoken and written English) are necessary.

For this project it is desired that the applicant has a background in immunology. Previous experience with FACS and RNA sequencing data analysis are particularly advantageous. Since the project will involve animal models of brain injury, it is desired if the candidate has experience with animal work or at least be willing to master this. Hands-on experience in molecular and cellular techniques (e.g. qPCR, immunohistochemistry), and software for statistical analyses (i.e., GraphPad, SPSS, R) are meritorious. Applicants wishing to integrate experimental and computational biology approaches are especially encouraged to apply.

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 according to agreement
Salary monthly salary
Number of positions 1
Full-time equivalent 100
City Stockholm
County Stockholms län
Country Sweden
Reference number STÖD 2-2788/2023
  • Ulrika Ådén, Professor, +4673-9694219
  • Adamantia Fragkopoulou, Assistant Professor, +46721563488
  • Johanna Ahlström, HR-Partner, 08-52482397
Union representative
  • Henry Wölling, SEKO,
  • John Inge Johnsen , SACO,
  • Shahla Rostami, OFR,
Published 05.Jul.2023
Last application date 26.Jul.2023 11:59 PM CEST

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