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 research group
The PhD student will be working in the Rolf Kiessling/Stina Wickström research group under the main supervision of Stina Wickström. Stina Wickström is an Assistant Professor with her research focus towards treating cancer patients using adoptive cell therapy (ACT), how to improve both the cell product for ACT and the treatment protocol making it possible to treat a broader range of tumor types.

The doctoral student project and the duties of the doctoral student

Adoptive Cell Therapy (ACT) with tumor infiltrating lymphocytes (TIL) has successfully ben used as therapy for patients with malignant melanoma, and is now practiced at a number of clinical centers worldwide, including at Cancer Center Karolinska (CCK). At CCK we have the only GMP unit in Sweden with expertise and the authorization to use TIL therapy. Our ACT clinical trial is unique as it is combined with a Dendritic cell (DC) based tumor vaccine. The results are encouraging and shows that the combination of TIL cells and a DC vaccine induce improved clinical responses. The overall aim is to build on these clinical results and improve ACT for patients with metastatic melanoma and furthermore extend these findings to other solid cancers focusing on gynecological cancers. The candidate will have several projects aiming to improve and refine the cell product used to treat patients with a metastatic disease to achieve a better anti-tumor response and a better clinical outcome. This will include projects involving refining production and characterization of TIL from gynecological tumors and the usage of novel in vitro models for efficacy evaluation of the new TIL products. We have recently identified a novel way to increase resistance in cytotoxic cells (T cells and/or NK cells) against tumor- or therapy related stress response (reactive oxygen species). The student will work further on this line to increase our knowledge with regards to oxidative stress.

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 a highly talented and enthusiastic doctoral candidate with a M.Sc. degree and a background in immunology.
  • Experience in cell culture, flow cytometry and experience in in vitro assays used to study T and NK cell function.
  • Basic knowledge in immunology is a must.
  •  The successful candidate should be self-motivated and able to keep herself/himself informed on developments of the relevant research field.
  • Excellent communication skills, organizational skills, and the ability to work productively and dynamically in a team.
  • The applicant must be able to integrate well into the group and like to work closely in a team.
  • Excellent knowledge of spoken and written English is a requirement.


  • Experience in isolation and expansion of cytotoxic immune cells is a merit.

The selected candidate will work in collaboration with other members from the Kiessling/Wickström group, hence emphasis is put on personal suitability.

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
First day of employment Up on agreement
Salary Monthly sallary
Number of positions 1
Full-time equivalent 100
City Solna
County Stockholms län
Country Sweden
Reference number STÖD 2-2048/2023
  • Stina Wickström,
Union representative
  • Helen Eriksson, OFR,
  • Henry Wölling, Seko,
  • Per Hydbring/Nick Tobin, Saco,
Published 17.May.2023
Last application date 07.Jun.2023 11:59 PM CEST

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