Do you want to contribute to better health for all?

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 position regards the lab of Marie Carlén in the Department of Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet, Campus Solna. Utilizing a systems neuroscience approach the CarlenLab studies the cellular logic of information processing in the prefrontal cortex (PFC). The studies are mainly performed in behaving mice using high-density electrophysiological recordings or calcium imaging of neuronal activity. Optogenetics and tracing of neuronal networks are other central technologies. For more information see:

The doctoral student project and the duties of the doctoral student

Cognitive flexibility refers to brain processes that endow animals and humans with adaptive and flexible behavior. In the current project PFC’s role in cognitive flexibility will be investigated, with a specific focus on PFC’s interactions with the striatum. The project includes characterization of prefrontal projection neurons targeting the striatum and elucidation of how the PFC-striatal pathway contributes to cognitive flexibility. The PFC-striatal pathway is implicated as a primary site of circuit imbalance in cognitive and emotional disorders, notably autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and the project also includes comparative analyses in mouse models of ASD.

With a focus on the role of the PFC-striatal pathway in cognitive flexibility the hired student will characterize the projectome of select PFC populations using viral tracing and transgenic mice. The findings will guide high-density electrophysiological recordings (Neuropixels probes) of the activity in the PFC-striatum pathway in behaving mice (both head-fixed and freely moving settings). Optogenetics will be used for optotagging and elucidation of the function of specific neuronal populations. An important part of the project involves analysis of single unit and LFP data and usage of computational frameworks for anatomical annotation and visualization of structural and functional components of brain circuitry and activity.

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 to recruit a highly motivated and creative lab member able to work both individually and as part of a team. Open and honest communication, and active contribution to the theoretical and practical work are expected and encouraged.

Formal requirements: Education and practical experience of experimental neuroscience focused on study of neuronal activity in behaving mice. Animal work certification in accordance with current Swedish and/or European legislations.

Desirable: practical experience of electrophysiology/calcium-imaging/optogenetics in behaving mice; surgeries for recording/manipulation of brain activity; intracranial injections and usage of viral strategies for interrogation of brain circuitry; behavioral studies in mice. Proficiency in programming and documented experience of advanced data analysis is meriting.

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, and a motivational letter with direct relevance to the described position                                                                                       
- 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 As soon as possible
Salary Monthly salary
Number of positions 1
Full-time equivalent 100
City Stockholm
County Stockholms län
Country Sweden
Reference number STÖD 2-1940/2024
  • Marie Carlén, 08-52483043
Published 07.May.2024
Last application date 22.May.2024 11:59 PM CEST

Return to job vacancies