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 Department of Women’s and Children’s Health and, in particular, the Division of Paediatric Oncology performs research aiming to improve the survival, quality of life, care and treatment of children and adolescents with cancer or haematological diseases. Located in the Solna Campus, it offers an excellent international environment, favouring professional development and networking.

The research group

Professor Klas Blomgren leads a multidisciplinary team using state-of-the-art multilevel approaches to study the effects of cranial radiotherapy on the juvenile brain. The team aims to design new therapeutic strategies to improve the outcome and quality of life of the growing population of paediatric brain cancer survivors, particularly those who underwent cranial radiotherapy.

The doctoral student project and the duties of the doctoral student

Our research group has been involved in seminal works describing the effects of ionising radiation in the juvenile brain and using lithium (among other drugs and therapeutics strategies) to minimise these effects. Regarding lithium, we have shown that it protects the brain from acute radiation injuries without protecting or promoting the growth of the malignant cells (Cancer Research, 2006; Oncotarget, 2017), even when administered long after cranial irradiation (Molecular Psychiatry, 2021). Moreover, lithium prevents radiation-induced cognitive deficits (Molecular Psychiatry, 2021; Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience, 2012) and increases the hippocampal proliferation of the neural stem and progenitor cells (Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism, 2013; Oncotarget, 2015; Frontiers in Molecular Neuroscience, 2018). However, despite the collected evidence supporting the efficacy of lithium in preventing radiation-induced late cognitive impairment, its mechanisms of action of remain elusive, as does the pathophysiology of radiation-induced brain damage. The candidate will use a combination of single-cell/spatial transcriptomics technologies, electrophysiology data, behaviour analysis and cell metabolism techniques to simultaneously assess the effects of radiation on the juvenile brain, the mechanism of action of lithium and the ability of lithium to become the first pharmacological treatment for cranial radiotherapy-induced cognitive impairment.

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 interested in unravelling the pathophysiology of late-onset radiation-induced cognitive impairment in paediatric brain cancer survivors. The candidate should have a strong collaborative spirit, be team-oriented, and add to the good working environment of the lab. Moreover, the applicant is expected to be able to multitask and develop progressive independence. A master’s degree in biomedical sciences, neurosciences, cellular and molecular biology, or similar is required, and preference will be given to candidates with documented previous research experience in at least one of the following areas:

  • - Computational biology, with programming knowledge;
  • - Bulk, single-cell and/or spatial transcriptomics;
  • - Bioenergetics and cell metabolism;
  • - Radiotherapy and radiation biology;
  • - Rodent models of brain disease - LAS/Felasa certification is a plus;
  • - Certification in radiation protection and experience in animal irradiation;
  • - Basic cellular and molecular neuroscience techniques (brain collection and handling; free-floating immunohistochemistry; RT-qPCR; Western-blotting).

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 Månadslön
Number of positions 1
Full-time equivalent 100
City Stockholm
County Stockholms län
Country Sweden
Reference number STÖD 2-4656/2023
  • Klas Blomgren, Professor of Paediatrics,
  • Carlos Rodrigues, Affiliated to research,
  • Sabina Brinkley, HR-partner, 08-52482380
Union representative
  • John Inge Johnsen , SACO,
  • Henry Wölling, SEKO,
  • Shahla Rostami, OFR,
Published 27.Nov.2023
Last application date 07.Jan.2024 11:59 PM CET

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