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 Department of Molecular Medicine and Surgery (MMK) and the research group of Vascular Surgery is looking for a curious and highly motivated Ph.D. student to join Prof. Ulf Hedin, Dr. David Marlevi, and Dr. Melody Chemaly to improve stroke risk prediction for patients with carotid atherosclerosis using a multidisciplinary combination of advanced image processing, dedicated bioinformatic analysis, and experimental vascular biology. Based in a dynamic translational research environment of vascular surgery, biology, and imaging, you will join a diverse research team focused on atherosclerotic plaque instability based on data from the Biobank of Karolinska Endarterectomies (BiKE): the world’s largest resource for molecular studies on carotid atherosclerosis, offering unprecedented opportunities for both scientific and clinical impact. 

The doctoral student project and the duties of the doctoral student

The overall goal of the proposed project is to investigate clinical, diagnostic, and molecular features of tissue hypoxia, angiogenesis and intraplaque haemorrhage (IPH) in relation to stroke risk, seeking to improve on current paradigms for clinical risk predictions and individualize diagnostic precision. Improving atherosclerotic risk prediction has been a primary focus of our team’s efforts over the last couple of decades, seeking insights into pathways steering plaque instability, as well as identifying novel biomarkers improving on clinical routine. A cornerstone of these developments lies in the Biobank of Karolinska Endarterectomies (BiKE); established by our group and where clinical, radiological, histological, and complete genomic, transcriptomic and proteomic profiling of plaque tissue and plasma exist from over 1000 patients, together representing the world’s largest resource for molecular characterization of human atherosclerosis. The PhD student project will use data available in the BiKE resource to explore the hypothesis surrounding IPH, leveraging image and bioinformatic analysis to extract correlations between clinical, radiological, and underlying biology in combination with an array of experimental investigations. Lastly, prediction models encompassing novel markers of IPH and IPH-related plaque risk will be invoked, with data-driven methods explored and implemented by the student.

As part of an individual research project, you will be responsible for setting up and evaluating data analysis, coupled clinical and benchtop experiments, define optimal scientific protocols, and write scientific articles and conference contributions to review and report the results of these investigations. Alongside the research project, the PhD student will work towards meeting the course requirements of the doctoral program, as outlined in the relevant rules and documentation available on the website.

Skills and personal qualities

We are looking for a highly motivated, independent, and analytical person, with:

  • A degree or the equivalent in scientific data analysis, data science and machine learning , biomedicine or bioinformatics
  • Skills in bioinformatics (Python, R or others) and biostatistics (SPSS, STATA etc.)
  • Specific knowledge of big data analysis, quantitative medical image analysis, or application of data-driven methods for clinical application purposes in general and vascular applications in particular is advantageous, but not required.
  • Experience from experimental cellular or vascular biology is meritorious, but not required.
  • Previous experience with scientific data analysis is advantageous, with involvement in previous scientific publications meritorious.

Further, great emphasis will also be placed on personal competence, with an ambitious, systematic, and problem-solving attitude being central to the sought-after candidate. Excellent communication skills in both spoken and written English are a must, as is the ability to interact and work in a translational research team on national or international level. Dedication to open science is also central, with group work focused on open-source developments, data sharing, etc. We invite exceptional individuals from around the world to apply for this exciting opportunity.

What do we offer?

As part of the Vascular Surgery team we offer a unique translational research environment with wide-ranging expertise spanning clinical science, molecular biology, bioinformatics, and biomedical engineering, all working together to improve atherosclerotic and vascular disease diagnostics. Leveraging unique cohorts and biobank data, the student will also be directly involved in cutting-edge data-driven translational science, collaborating with international networks to push causal understanding of atherosclerotic plaque instability from clinical observation, to molecular understanding, and back to an improved diagnostic reality. Herein, participation in international workshops and conferences, as well as potential research visits to collaborating sites will be included in the expected work. Further, being deeply integrated with the clinical activities at the Karolinska University Hospital, direct access to state-of-the-art imaging equipment, diverse patient cohorts, and relevant computational resources provide excellent opportunities for ground-breaking research. The successful candidate will be capable of working efficiently and productively within a team, while also developing the professional ability to work independently on their specific project over time.

On a larger scale, 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.

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 2-647/2024
  • Ulf Hedin, Professor,
Union representative
  • Taher Darreh-Shori, SACO,
  • Virpi Töhönen, SACO,
  • Elisabeth Noren-Krog, OFR,
Published 08.Feb.2024
Last application date 07.Mar.2024 11:59 PM CET

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