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

Research in the Gerlach group is directed at understanding basic cellular and molecular principles governing CD8 T cell responses to acute infections and cancer. Using a combination of several state-of-the-art single-cell technologies we strive to understand mechanisms underlying the generation, maintenance and consequences of the diversity within the T cell immune response. Our long-term goal is that the fundamental knowledge we generate will contribute to improved vaccines and immunotherapies.

The Gerlach group is part of the Department of Medicine Solna, the Center for Cellular Cancer Therapy  and the Center for Molecular Medicine where it is physically located.

The doctoral student project and the duties of the doctoral student

The doctoral student project investigates CD8 T cell immunity to infections in mice and humans. It involves the development of immunological tools with their application in both clinical and fundamental mechanistic studies. The doctoral student will study CD8 T cell responses in human individuals infected with Plasmodium falciparum, and perform studies in mice to determine mechanisms of CD8 T cell diversification in response to acute infection. The project involves work with murine and human primary T cells, infections, advanced flow cytometry, cell sorting, molecular biology and analysis of single-cell RNA sequencing data. The doctoral student will be supervised by Carmen Gerlach (main supervisor) and co-supervisors Christopher Sundling and Anna Färnert.

The doctoral student is required to be able to work both independently and as a collaborative and helpful team member. The doctoral student is expected to plan, perform, analyze and document experiments in a transparent manner, and to communicate the results within and outside of the research group. The duties furthermore include mouse colony maintenance, actively taking part in research meetings and journal clubs, and contributing to the well-functioning of the local research environment.

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, ambitious, initiative-taking, technically skilled person that is passionate about pursuing research in T cell immunology, has a critical mind, a collaborative, team-oriented and collegial attitude, and a strong drive to pursue a career in science. A personal fit into the group is of importance. Perseverance in working towards goals, and a proactive and problem-solving attitude is required. The position furthermore requires dedication to the project, and a high level of accuracy and attention to detail.

The ideal candidate should have:

  1. A solid academic background in immunology through e.g a Master degree in Biomedicine, Immunology, Molecular Biology or similar.
  2. Experience and proficiency in flow cytometry and primary immune cell handling.
  3. Experience in working with mice.

Strong communication skills and proficiency in written and spoken English are a necessity.

A plus are:

  • experience in high-dimensional data analysis
  • experience in handling infections and infectious samples

Terms and conditions

The doctoral student will be employed on a doctoral studentship maximum 4 years full-time.

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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.


The position is located within the Department of Medicine, Solna. The department consists of eleven divisions and each division consists of several research groups. The position is located within the research group of Carmen Gerlach, which organizationally is part of the Department of Medicine Solna.  We are physically located in the Center of Molecular Medicine (CMM) on the Solna Campus of Karolinska University Hospital. Lab websites: &

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 Solna
County Stockholms län
Country Sweden
Reference number STÖD 2-2002/2024
  • Carmen Gerlach,
Union representative
  • Afsar Rahbar OFR,
  • Louisa Cheung, SACO,
Published 13.May.2024
Last application date 03.Jun.2024 11:59 PM CEST

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