Doctoral student in Medical Science - Experimental diabetes research

Updated: 8 months ago
Job Type: Permanent
Deadline: 10 Dec 2019

The Department of Physiology is part of the Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology at Sahlgrenska Academy, the Faculty of Health and Care Sciences at the University of Gothenburg. The Department conducts research within the area of physiology. Several projects involve a close collaboration with the Sahlgrenska University Hospital. We offer undergraduate courses as parts of study programs in Medicine, Dentistry, Pharmacy, Speech and language pathology, Dental hygiene, Occupational therapy, Physiotherapy and the bachelor program of Cognitive Science. The research groups at the Department represent a broad range of research areas within the field of physiology.

Project title: Experimental diabetes research

Job assignments

The PhD education in Medical Science comprise carrying out a scientific project and completing at least 30 credits of courses at third-cycle level. The doctoral student must also write a scientific compilation thesis or monograph corresponding to at least 120 credits. For more information about third-cycle studies at Sahlgrenska Academy, see

Background: Glucagon is the body’s principal hyperglycaemic hormone. It is released from the alpha-cells of the pancreatic islets in response to neurotransmitters (like adrenaline), ingested amino acids and – particularly important for this project - a fall in plasma glucose.

Diabetes is a bihormonal disorder involving both insufficient insulin secretion and defective glucagon secretion. Crucially, in type-1 diabetes (T1D) there is a complete loss of glucagon secretion in response to hypoglycaemia. This increases the risk of severe hypoglycaemia, a serious (potentially fatal) complication of insulin therapy.

Aim: We will explore the underlying mechanisms by measurements of glucagon secretion (perfused pancreas), cytoplasmic calcium (confocal microscopy), electrical activity (patch-clamp), and plasma glucose/glucagon (insulin tolerance tests). For most of the experiments, we will use the NOD mouse model, which develops autoimmune T1D when the mice are 10-15 weeks of age. Key observations will be repeated in human T1D islets (when available).

Preliminary data indicate that NOD mice recapitulate the loss of glucagon at low glucose seen clinically in T1D patients. Intriguingly, the secretion defect is specific for hypoglycaemia and addition of the amino acid arginine – if anything - produces a larger stimulation of glucagon secretion in T1D mice than in non-diabetic NOD mice. We will explore whether the loss of hypoglycaemia-induced glucagon secretion is due to defects of alpha-cell metabolism and/or increased paracrine suppression by somatostatin released from neighbouring delta-cells.

Significance: The proposed studies will result in new therapeutic paradigms that reduce the risk of hypoglycaemia and enable more aggressive insulin therapy (thereby reducing the risk of late complications).

Third-cycle studies are equivalent to four year full-time and lead to a Degree of Doctor. Those appointed to doctoral studentships shall primarily devote themselves to their studies. Those appointed to doctoral studentships may, however, work to a limited extent with educational tasks, research and administration (departmental duties). Before a PhD degree has been awarded, duties of this kind may not comprise more than 20 per cent of a full-time post.


To be eligible for third-cycle studies, the applicant must meet both the general and specific entry requirements.

A person meets the general entry requirements for third-cycle studies if he or she:
1. has been awarded a second-cycle qualification
2. has satisfied the requirements for courses comprising at least 240 credits of which at least 60 credits were awarded in the second-cycle, or
3. has acquired substantially equivalent knowledge in some other way in Sweden or abroad

A person meets the specific entry requirements for third-cycle studies in Medical Science if he or she: has successfully completed the English B/6 course or is considered to have acquired equivalent knowledge through previous studies


In selecting between applicants who meet the general and specific entry requirements, their ability to benefit from third-cycle studies shall be taken into account. The assessment shall attach particular importance to documented qualifications for:
- specific knowledge and skills within the subject area and related research fields
- experience of scientific theory and relevant research methodology
- scientific analysis and presentation verified through thesis, degree project, scientific journals or the like. 

It is desirable that the applicant has a background in biomedical science, physiology or similar. Documented experience of laboratory work and diabetes research is a merit.


After admission to third-cycle studies you will be appointed to doctoral studentship. Regulations for employment of doctoral students are given in SFS 1993:100. The initial appointment may apply for no longer than one year. An appointment may be renewed for no more than two years at a time. A person may be appointed to a doctoral studentship for a total of eight years. The total employment period may, however, not exceed the time corresponding to full-time third-cycle study for four years.

Location: Sahlgrenska Academy, Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Physiology. Extent: 100%. First day of employment: as agreed.

Salaries for doctoral students are regulated in a local agreement at the University. 

For further information regarding the position

For more information about the project please contact the principal supervisor,
Patrik Rorsman, Professor, Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology,


Union representatives at the University of Gothenburg:

How to apply

In order to apply for a position at the University of Gothenburg, you have to register an account in our online recruitment system. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that the application is complete in accordance with the instructions in the job advertisement, and that it is submitted before the deadline.

You must include the following, in pdf format

  • Personal letter
  • CV
  • Diploma and transcripts showing that you meet with the general entry requirement
  • Proof of completion of  English 6 course or the acquired equivalent knowledge through previous studies

If your degree is from a university outside of Sweden, check what you need to submit at where you can also see what you need to submit in order to fulfill the English language requirement.

  • If your degree has not been verified by a Swedish authority you need to provide contact details to the issuing university, registrar or similar, that can verify the degree at our request.

Closing date: 2019-12-10

The University of Gothenburg promotes equal opportunities, equality and diversity.

Applications will be destroyed or returned (upon request) two years after the decision of employment has become final. Applications from the employed and from those who appeal the decision will not be returned.

The University of Gothenburg tackles society’s challenges with diverse knowledge. 47 500 students and 6 400 employees make the university a large and inspiring place to work and study. Strong research and attractive study programmes attract scientists and students from around the world. With new knowledge and new perspectives, the University contributes to a better future.

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