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

Department of Clinical Neuroscience (CNS) conducts research and education in the field of neuroscience from the molecular level to the society level. The clinical research and education is conducted in collaboration with other research groups from the Karolinska Institutet, with other universities as well as the Stockholm County Council.

Our research group is a translational and multidisciplinary research team studying movement and psychiatric disorders, particularly Parkinson’s disease and depression. We use cellular and animal models and analyse clinical samples and biopsies from patients. Our goals are to understand the molecular mechanisms underlying disease states, drug mechanisms and to identify novel biomarkers and medically relevant therapeutic targets.

The doctoral student project and the duties of the doctoral student

Disorders of the brain are among the biggest challenges facing public and personal health today. Major depression is one of the most frequent disorders of the brain and the majority of drugs used for its treatment affect signaling through the neurotransmitter serotonin (5-HT) in one way or another. Side effects of these drugs are common and many patients do not respond to treatment, such that there is a pressing need for new drugs with fewer side effects and enhanced efficacy. To develop such drugs, a more complete understanding of signaling in mood disorders is necessary. Towards this end, the Translational Neuropharmacology laboratory uses molecular, cellular and animal models in which the function of glutamate and serotonergic receptors are studied. Thanks to the breadth of methodological approaches, the laboratory is capable of translating results from molecular and cellular assays into the clinical stage using patient samples.

Over the course of the doctoral studies, the development of various behavioral, neurochemical, electrophysiological, molecular, and morphological analyses to evaluate the effects of the fast-acting antidepressant ketamine and its enantiomers will be a focus. The successful applicant will generate data that guide the development of novel pharmacological approaches (rapid-onset) to be tested in animal models of stress and depressive-like behavior. Independence and strong motivation are expected throughout the project. The candidate will be encouraged to serve as supervisor for exam students.

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

Applicants should have an academic degree in Biological Sciences (Molecular Biology or Human Biology). Applicants must have a background in the mechanisms underpinning the pathophysiology of depression and fast-acting antidepressant agents, such as ketamine. A strong background in biochemical or behavioral paradigms, animal models of stress and depression, and extensive experience with methods of molecular and cellular neuroscience is a strength. In addition, candidates should have a solid knowledge of neuroscience and pharmacology in theory and practice. Ideal applicants will have spent part of their education in a foreign country, bringing international experience and a strong team spirit to the laboratory. Excellent command of the English language is requierd.

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.

Read more about the Department of Clinical Neurosience here
Read more about the research group here

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
Number of positions 1
Full-time equivalent 100%
City Solna
County Stockholms län
Country Sweden
Reference number STÖD 2-1846/2023
  • Mikaela Hernberg, HR administrator,
  • Per Svenningsson, Professor/senior physician,
Union representative
  • Venus Azhary, OFR, 0707-124127
  • Henry Wölling, SEKO,
  • Arsalan Amir, SACO, 08-51773337
Published 07.Mar.2023
Last application date 21.Mar.2023 11:59 PM CET

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