Do you want to contribute to improving human health?

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 student will be a part of the Kallioniemi research group. The group focuses on optimizing treatments for individual cancer patients based on molecular profiling and functional drug testing. For the details of the group: Specifically, the student will be in the pediatric oncology team lead by Dr. Kasper Karlsson.  The team focuses on improving survival for children with cancer by identifying efficient therapy combinations. We do this by applying several different methods and techniques, including cell barcoding to study individual tumor subclones, state-of-the-art organoid technologies, high-throughput drug screening and single-cell sequencing.

The lab is located at the Department of Oncology-Pathology, which conducts basic, translational and clinical research related to cancer. The department aims is to discover fundamental mechanisms in all aspects of cancer biology, find novel biomarkers and potent anti-cancer drugs for personalized cancer medicine.

The doctoral student project and the duties of the doctoral student

In this project we will use a technique called cell barcoding to identify efficient drug combinations to overcome tumor heterogeneity in pediatric cancer. In cell barcoding a molecular barcode is inserted into cells’ genomes which makes it possible to monitor thousands of tumor subclones simultaneously and see how they evolve as they respond to drugs. We use this to identify and characterize cell populations that survive standard of care treatment, and to identify drugs specifically targeting those cell populations – a concept we have termed Precision Lethality.

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.

Your work will be carried out at the Science for Life Laboratory (SciLifeLab), that is a leading national infrastructure for next-generation life science research in Sweden. SciLifeLab is jointly operated by the four host universities: Karolinska Institutet, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm University and Uppsala University, and it has facilities in four other universities across Sweden. There are over 1 000 people working at SciLifeLab, either in research groups or in the infrastructure facilities, most of them in the KI Solna campus and in Uppsala. This position resides at the Solna campus.

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

The successful candidate should be highly motivated to pursue a 4-year doctoral education and must hold an MSc in a relevant field, such as biomedical science, molecular and cell biology or biotechnology. The applicant must be fluent in English and be eager to work in a cross disciplinary and international team. The candidate should possess excellent interpersonal and communication skills, enjoy working in a collaborative setting, be willing to learn new techniques and be self-driven. Qualified candidates have the following profile:

  • Experience in tissue/cell culture techniques is required
  • Previous programming experience in Python or R will be prioritized
  • Handling of small-molecule drugs and high-throughput screening is desirable
  • Experience in library preparation for next generation sequencing is desirable
  • Experience analyzing single cell and cell barcoding data is desirable
  • Previous experience with image analysis is desirable

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 2024-01-01
Number of positions 1
Full-time equivalent 100
City Stockholm
County Stockholms län
Country Sweden
Reference number STÖD 2-4462/2023
  • Kasper Karlsson, 0793471099,
Union representative
  • Per Hydbring, SACO/Nick Tobin, SACO,
  • Henry Wölling, SEKO,
  • Helen Eriksson, OFR,
Published 15.Nov.2023
Last application date 06.Dec.2023 11:59 PM CET

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