PhD position in Biochemistry - structural biology supported by artificial intelligence

Updated: about 2 months ago
Deadline: 13 Dec 2022

Published: 2022-11-08

Uppsala University is a comprehensive research-intensive university with a strong international standing. Our ultimate goal is to conduct education and research of the highest quality and relevance to make a long-term difference in society. Our most important assets are all the individuals whose curiosity and dedication make Uppsala University one of Sweden’s most exciting workplaces. Uppsala University has over 54,000 students, more than 7,500 employees and a turnover of around SEK 8 billion.

Department of Chemistry – BMC conducts research and education in analytical chemistry, biochemistry and organic chemistry. More than 100 people, including around 45 PhD students, work at the department. New employees and students are recruited from all over the world and English is the main working language. The department is located at the Biomedical Centre in Uppsala, which facilitates collaborations with research groups in biology, pharmacy, medicine and SciLifeLab and gives access to advanced infrastructure for experimental and theoretical studies. The international environment and good opportunities for interdisciplinary collaborations enables PhD students at the department to participate in relevant research projects and prepare for an international research career.

Read more about the research at The Department of Chemistry – BMC at our website.

Project description: Your goal will be to uncover the structure ofphotoreceptor proteins using cryo electron microscopy or time-resolved serial crystallography at free electron lasers. In particular, we plan to use cutting-edge methods at the forefront of artificial intelligence (AI) to solve the protein structure to finer detail; we may also use molecular dynamics simulations to underscore structural data. This project will be a at the crossroads of obtaining novel structural information and to advance the methods to obtain these structures.

You are expected to be involved in all steps of the project, i.e. to prepare and to perform experiments and to analyze and publish the data. The choice of sub-projects will be adjusted to your interests and previous knowledge and experiences.  

Tasks may include:

  • Performing and analysis of cryo electron microscopy or crystallography data.
  • Prediction of protein structure with the support of AI
  • Development of AI-based methods in data analysis and / or protein prediction.
  • Identification and publication of the results
  • Scientific collaboration within and outside the group
  • Communication of the results

You will be given extensive creative space to develop the project, significant resources to produce cutting edge results, and you will profit from being part of our highly collaborative team.

The position is placed in the Westenhoff research group. The team has the goal to uncover structural dynamics of proteins and chemical reactions. The research at the interface of biology, chemistry and physics has resulted in two ERC awards and other high-profile grants, and the group continuously publishes in high impact journals. Find more information on: and on Google Scholar.

Read more about our benefits and what it is like to work at Uppsala University

The main duties of PhD students are to devote themselves to their research studies, which includes participating in research projects and third cycle courses. The work duties can also include teaching and other departmental duties (not more than 20 % of full time). 


  • To be eligible for doctoral education, a basic higher education equivalent to at least 240 ECTS credits, including at least 60 ECTS credits at second-cycle level, or essentially equivalent competences acquired in some other way, is required.  More information about the general requirements can be found here.  
  • To be admitted to the doctoral education programme in biochemistry, 120 ECTS credits in biochemistry or courses relevant to the biochemistry field are required. These courses shall include at least 90 ECTS credits chemistry courses, of which 45 ECTS credits are biochemistry courses where at least 15 ECTS credits consist of a degree projects in biochemistry.  More information about the subject specific requirements can be found here . 
  • Very good English proficiency in speech and writing

Great emphasis will be placed on personal qualities such as good collaborative skills, motivation and independence, as well as how the applicant through his/her experience and competence is judged to have the abilities necessary to develop within and acquire the doctoral education.

Additional qualifications
We are looking for a bold person, which is highly independent and driven and can work effectively in a team. Primarily, we are looking for a biochemist/biophysicist, who has a strong interest and documented experience in programming and computational chemistry/biology.  We will also consider applications by computer scientists, who have strong experience with computational biology, for example through research experience and courses at the university level.

PhD students at the department are typically engaged in teaching at BSc and MSc level. Prior experience from teaching/mentoring, also from non-academic contexts, and outreach can therefore be considered a merit.

Rules governing PhD students are set out in the Higher Education Ordinance chapter 5, §§ 1-7 and in Uppsala University's rules and guidelines .

About the employment
The employment is a temporary position according to the Higher Education Ordinance chapter 5 § 7. Scope of employment 100 %. Starting date as agreed. Placement: Uppsala

For further information about the position, please contact: Prof Sebastian Westenhoff , +46 766 18 39 36.

Please submit your application by 13th December 2022, UFV-PA 2022/4007.

Are you considering moving to Sweden to work at Uppsala University? Find out more about what it´s like to work and live in Sweden .  

Please do not send offers of recruitment or advertising services.

Submit your application through Uppsala University's recruitment system.

Placement: Department of Chemistry - BMC

Type of employment: Full time , Temporary position longer than 6 months

Pay: Fixed salary

Number of positions: 1

Working hours: 100 %

Town: Uppsala

County: Uppsala län

Country: Sweden

Union representative: ST/TCO
Seko Universitetsklubben

Number of reference: UFV-PA 2022/4007

Last application date: 2022-12-13

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