PhD student position in genomic technologies for endometrial receptivity studies (MSCA)

Updated: 9 months ago
Job Type: FullTime
Deadline: 09 Apr 2020

Early-Stage Researcher (ESR) / PhD student


PhD student will carry out her/his doctoral research and training jointly at two degree-awarding universities and will be awarded a double PhD degree from the University of Tartu (Estonia) as the main host and the Karolinska Institutet (Stockholm, Sweden) as the co-host.

Universities and research units

The University of Tartu (UT, established at 1632) includes four faculties, four colleges and several regional development units. It has currently more than 13,000 students and 1,300 PhD students. The UT belongs to the top 2% of universities worldwide. UT is the leading centre of research and training and the only medical university in Estonia.

Karolinska Institutet (KI, established at 1810) is Sweden’s only university especially focusing on biomedical/clinical sciences. In addition, KI annually awards the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. KI ranks as one of the world’s leading medical universities, thanks to the quality of its research activities, which today account for 40% of all medical research in Sweden. KI has about 3,700 employees (full-time equivalents), nearly two-thirds of whom are female. Some 80% of KI’s income is devoted to research, distributed among 600 research groups.

A successful candidate will conduct research primarily at the research group of Prof. Andres Salumets at the Faculty of Medicine at University of Tartu. The ESR will also be co-hosted by group of Prof. Kristina Gemzell Danielsson and Dr. Lalit Kumar Parameswaran Grace at the Department of Women’s and Children’s Health at KI.


A PhD researcher will be hired on a project funded through the EU project MATER, a Marie Curie Training Network. The aim of the ESR’s project is to study human endometrial tissue (uterine lining) biology, by identifying the molecular mechanisms of endometrial receptivity. Endometrium becomes receptive in preparation of embryo implantation and is characterized by the unique gene and protein expression profiles, known as endometrial receptivity biomarkers. ESR will compare the gene/protein expression of endometrial receptivity biomarkers in fertile and infertile women with recurrent implantation failure, after using assisted reproductive technologies. ESR uses a unique pipeline for single-cell RNA-sequencing for endometrial biopsies by analysing the isolated single epithelial, stromal, endothelial and immune cells of endometrial tissue. This study enables to identify the abnormally regulated genes and pathways contributing to the aetiology of female infertility.

ESR5 will mostly be hosted by the University of Tartu and will be seconded for a shorter period to the Karolinska Institutet (minimum of 6 months in total). The position also includes a training period in European company focusing on reproductive health.

Eligibility criteria

• Researchers can be of any nationality.

• There is no age limit.

• All researchers recruited in a Marie Sklodowska-Curie ITN must be ESRs. An ESR shall, at the time of recruitment by the host organisation, be in the first four years of their research career and not yet have been awarded a doctoral degree. The four years start to count from the date when a researcher obtained the degree which would formally entitle her/him to embark on a doctorate.

• Researchers are required to undertake transnational mobility (i.e. move from one country to another) when taking up their appointment.

• One general rule applies to the appointment of researchers: At the time of recruitment by the host beneficiary, researchers must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the country of their host beneficiary for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to the reference date. Note that the mobility rule applies to the beneficiary where the researcher is recruited, and not to beneficiaries to which the researcher is sent or seconded.

A successful PhD candidate should preferably have:

• Degree in biomedical sciences, bioinformatics, or a relevant other discipline;

• An outstanding record of undergraduate and master's degree work;

• Proven proficiency in English, both written and orally;

• Strong writing and analytical skills;

• Good communication and organization skills;

• Ability to meet deadlines and complete a PhD thesis within the defined project time;

• Capacity to work both as an independent researcher and as part of a team;

• Ability to work in an interdisciplinary context.

Additional information:

What we offer

We are offering one full time appointment (100%) as a PhD student for a period of 4 years, of which the first three years are covered by the Marie Curie ITN project and the fourth year by the hosting research institutes. The starting date is negotiable. ESR5 will be awarded a PhD by the University of Tartu and the Karolinska Institute.

The project also offers a unique opportunity to train under several established researchers in the field of reproductive health and thus opportunity to obtain vast network facilitating establishment of fellow’s future career. The multinational research environment will help in advancing adaptation and organization skills, both important traits to become a successful researcher.


For more information, please contact Prof. Andres Salumets ( ) or Prof. Kristina Gemzell Danielsson ( ).

For questions regarding MSCA EJD double degree, please contact Reet Marits ( ) at Tartu University and Lotta Lundqvist ( ) or Lise-Lotte Vedin ( ) at KI.

Apply here:

Candidates who make the shortlist will be invited for an interview. These may be conducted in person or via Skype.

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