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At the Department of Oncology-Pathology basic, translational and clinical research and educational activities related to cancer are carried out. Approximately 300 people from over 40 nations are currently working at the department. About 30 research groups with various cancer research profiles are involved and we have around 110 PhD students. The Department of Oncology-Pathology is responsible for undergraduate courses in Pathology, Oncology and Forensic Medicine for medical students, as well as for Tumor biology courses for biomedicine students and Pathology courses for opticians.

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 doctoral studies will be conducted in the Cancer proteomics Mass spectrometry (MS) research group headed by professor Janne Lehtiö. The research group is placed at Science for Life Laboratory (SciLifeLab) in Solna, Stockholm.

Proteomics is a research field aiming to study proteins on a systems level by simultaneous analysis of thousands of proteins. We develop MS-based methods for in-depth interrogation of the proteome as well as for functional proteomics and apply these methods in cancer research. Our aim is to improve personalized cancer treatment by increasing the understanding of cancer biology at the proteome level. This enables the development of novel therapeutic strategies as well as the identification of biomarkers with predictive, prognostic and diagnostic value.

We are currently engaged in multiple method development projects including deep proteomics (HiRIEF-LC-MS), proteogenomics, post-translational modification analysis as well as subcellular localization analysis. In cancer proteomics we apply our methods to analyse clinical samples as well as model systems with a focus on cancers of the lung, breast and leukemia.

To complement the MS-data, we have access to a wide range of state-of-the-art omics and high throughput methods by our close proximity to SciLifeLab facilities. In close affiliation to the research group we also provide access to MS-based proteomics for external users through our core facilities at KI and SciLifeLab.

The doctoral student project and the duties of the doctoral student

We are seeking a highly motivated and talented person for a PhD position within the plasma proteomics sub-group led by dr. Maria Pernemalm. Our general focus is method development to expand and improve the concept of mass spectrometry based proteomics analysis of biological fluids in health and disease.

The plasma team works both on method development and applied projects involving expanded applications of plasma proteome analysis such as plasma protein interaction with viruses and nanoparticles, proteogenomics biomarker discovery, and approaches to combine biochemical plasma markers with symptoms clusters for improved accuracy and sensitivity in precision medicine.

In the current project we aim to take advantage of recent developments in in-depth global plasma proteomics methodologies, including both mass spectrometry-based methods (plasma HiRIEF-LC MS/MS) as well as antibody based methods (Olink Explore) to explore the potential of finding blood based biomarkers that could assist and improve the detection of lung cancer. The connection of sample data generated by mass spectrometry and antibody based methods and clinical outcome data will enable a high-resolution, multi-level evaluation of patients with high risk of lung cancer. Our overall aim is to output findings of potential clinical value in early detection of lung cancer.

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 an enthusiastic and highly motivated candidate to join our team. Applicants should hold a masters' degree (or equivalent) in molecular biology, biotechnology or another relevant life science or related fields. We place great emphasis on personal suitability. To succeed as a PhD student, it is important that you have a personal drive and a flexible and inquisitive mind to handle the rapidly developing field of cancer proteomics. Excellent and documented skills in R and/or python as well as practical lab experience within molecular biology are required. Previous experience of working with mass spectrometry-based proteomics, proximity extension assays, sequencing, machine learning, statistical models, and data interpretation is an advantage. Since the applicant will work in a multidisciplinary environment the ability to work with other scientist and good communication skills are important. Proficiency in oral and written English is necessary and knowledge in Swedish is a preferable as much of the gathered clinical data is in Swedish.  

Terms and conditions

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

Lehtio Lab


KI Oncology-Pathology Lehtio Group

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 According to agreement
Salary Monthly
Number of positions 1
Working hours 100
City Solna
County Stockholms län
Country Sweden
Reference number STÖD 2-2629/2022
  • Maria Pernemalm,
Published 14.Jun.2022
Last application date 30.Jun.2022 11:59 PM CEST

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