Doctoral (PhD) student position in skin stem cell biology

Updated: 2 months ago

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

Kasper Lab: With our research, rooted within the fields of skin and stem cell biology, we aim to answer fundamental questions about tissue homeostasis, repair and regeneration. We use modern techniques such as single-cell RNA-sequencing, in vivo lineage-tracing, spatial mapping in situ and computational biology, to uncover the cellular behavior and molecular signals of individual cells in skin during health, injury repair and cancer development (key lab references: Joost et al. Cell Systems 2016; Joost et al. Cell Reports 2018; Joost*, Annusver* et al. Cell Stem Cell 2020; Sun*, Are* et al. eLife 2020; Cockburn*, Annusver* et al Nature Cell Biology 2022). The overall aim is to understand human skin disorders, improve early cancer detection and uncover new regenerative strategies to restore skin.

We are a young and dynamic research team with a well-established collaborative network ( ). The group is placed in Biomedicum, a top modern research building with a large repertoire of researchers and technologies including activities in forefront single-cell omics, mouse work, FACS and high-end microscopy.

The doctoral student project and the duties of the doctoral student

The PhD project focuses on understanding how, when, and why tissue stem cells self-renew (remain stem cells) or differentiate (produce cells undertaking tissue functions). The aim of the PhD program is to uncover the molecular triggers that govern the fate decision of skin stem cells in healthy skin, knowledge that we then take further to positively impact injury repair or counteract cancer growth. A combination of experimental and computational state of the art techniques will be used, such as in vivo lineage tracing, organoid culture, single-cell omics, high-end microscopy, and computational biology.

The project is a combination of practical laboratory work (wet-lab work, imaging, mouse work) and computational analysis of single-cell transcriptomics/ATAC-seq data (programing in R and/or Python). The studies also include attending seminars, courses, and conferences.

The PhD student will under supervision, and with time more independently, plan and execute experiments, analyze data, interpret, and present the results as well as write scientific articles.

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:

  • have been awarded a second-cycle/advanced/master qualification (i.e. master degree), or
  • 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
  • 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 seek a student with a background in molecular biology, biomedicine or equivalent and with a strong interest in tissue stem cell and single-cell biology. The candidate should have a good team spirit, be self-motivated and bring a keen interest in solving intricate scientific questions in tissue biology. Experience in working with molecular biology techniques, confocal microscopy, mouse work and the isolation and culture of primary cells/3D culture is a strong plus. A high interest to learn programing (R and/or Python), good team-work ability and good communication skills in English (written and spoken) are required. Emphasis will be also placed on personal suitability, fitting well into the current research group.

    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)
    - Two recommendation letters or contact details of two reference persons. 


    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.

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