Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society, Aging Research Center, ARC

Aging Research Center (ARC), a division within NVS, is located at KI Campus Solna, Stockholm. It is a multidisciplinary academic environment, representing medicine (e.g., neurology, epidemiology, psychiatry, geriatrics), psychology (e.g., cognition, structural, functional, and molecular brain imaging), and social gerontology (e.g., sociology, public health, social epidemiology, social work). The center has around 70 employees, it has a strong focus on research with unique research resources, such as large-scale longitudinal studies and nationwide registries.

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

Aging Research Center ( is one of the divisions at the NVS Department, located at KI campus Solna. The Aging Research Center is a multidisciplinary academic environment, representing psychology, sociology, and various branches of medicine (e.g., neurology, epidemiology, and psychiatry). In the psychology sector of the center, we examine brain correlates of cognitive aging and seek to understand how genetic and lifestyle factors shape development of brain and cognition in adulthood and old age. We approach these research questions with small-scale neuroimaging studies, large-scale intervention (e.g., training) studies, and large-scale population-based longitudinal studies. Our research group consists of senior researchers, postdocs, and doctoral students.

The doctoral student project and the duties of the doctoral student

Episodic memory, our long-term memory of specific events, declines with age and shows large inter-individual differences. The hippocampus is crucial for the encoding, consolidation, and retrieval of episodic memories. Meanwhile, adult neurogenesis, the formation of new neurons, occurs in the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus and also declines with advancing age. Animal data have shown that hippocampal neurogenesis is crucial for two cognitive processes key to episodic memory: pattern separation, which prevents confusion between similar memories, and reactivation, which supports consolidation. Additionally, neurogenesis is important for mental health, specifically depression. However, data in humans are lacking due to the difficulty of measuring neurogenesis non-invasively. Due to groundbreaking developments in magnetic resonance imaging, it has very recently become possible to detect the neurogenic signal in vivo.


The current doctoral project will be led by Principal Researcher Goran Papenberg (main supervisor, The work will be conducted in close collaboration with Principal Researcher Marc Guitart-Masip ( and Assistant Professor Bárbara Avelar Pereira ( who will serve as co-supervisors for the selected candidate.


In the current project, the student will combine behavioral neuroimaging and intervention approaches to study whether between-person difference in neurogenesis is the common mechanism influencing memory and mental health. As such, our findings will contribute to a better understanding of the role of neurogenesis in the living human brain and its relationship to memory and depressive symptoms in adults without a psychiatric diagnosis.


The student is expected to fulfil the course requirements of the doctoral program, participate in regular group meetings, seminars, and present at national/international meetings. Most importantly the student is expected to plan and drive the research projects, participate in the data collection, analyze, and present results.


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 doctoral student who is efficient, thorough, and enjoys working in an international and dynamic multidisciplinary team.



  • Applicants should have second-cycle background in neuroscience, cognitive science, psychology, or some other relevant area
  • Prior knowledge in neuroscience and cognitive psychology
  • Experience in recruiting participants and data collection
  • Computer programming ability (particularly in Matlab and R)
  • Good communicator in English (both orally and in writing)


  • Prior knowledge and skills in MR neuroimaging
  • Good communicator in Swedish (both orally and in writing) which will be beneficial when communicating with participants


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.

Aging Research Center (ARC) | Karolinska Institute

Cognitive Aging and Mental Health Group


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 the agreement
Salary Monthly salary
Number of positions 1
Full-time equivalent 100
City Stockholm
County Stockholms län
Country Sweden
Reference number STÖD 2-431/2024
Union representative
  • Taher Darreh-Shori, SACO,
  • Carina Eklund, OFR, 08-58582665
  • Henry Wölling, SEKO,
Published 05.Feb.2024
Last application date 26.Feb.2024 11:59 PM CET

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