Doctoral (PhD) student position in Host-bacteria interactions and cancer

Karolinska Institute Stockholm


January 31, 2022


Do you want to contribute to top quality medical research?

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 student will be part of a research team who investigates how the bacterial microbiota participates in cancer initiation and progression. Specifically, we are interested in the molecular mechanisms which link bacteria to alterations of the tumor suppressor p53 pathway, and ultimately to cancer.

The PhD student will be co-supervised by Assistant Professor Marie-Stéphanie Aschtgen, Pr. Birgitta Henriques-Normark, both experts in infectious diseases and Pr. Galina Selivanova, an expert in tumor biology.

The doctoral student project and the duties of the doctoral student

Recent studies have confirmed the role of genotoxin-producing bacteria in tumorigenesis. However, why and how bacteria influence cancer is still poorly understood. In this context, the doctoral project aims at understanding the molecular mechanisms of cancer promotion by oncogenic bacteria both on the host and bacterial side, using Klebsiella pneumoniae as a model.

The main goals of the projects are:

  • To investigate how bacterial genotoxins modulate the immune response and affect host tumor suppressor pathways.
  • To understand how bacterial K. pneumoniae genotoxins contribute to the hypervirulence phenotype associated to increased rates of colorectal cancer.
  • The doctoral student will design and perform the lab experiments needed, including animal experiments, and will draft the manuscripts linked to the project. Additionally, to the work directly related to the doctoral project, the student is expected to contribute to the lab routine duties of the group. Finally, the student will participate in group meetings and journal clubs, and will have the opportunity to attend international conferences on the topic.

    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 are looking for a highly motivated, curious, and creative candidate, with a background in Immunology or Cancer biology. Hands-on laboratory experience with basic laboratory techniques (western blots, qPCR) and mammalian cell culture is required. Previous experience in animal studies (mice) or gene expression data (RNAseq) analysis are highly valued. Successful candidates should be self-driven and passionate about the research themes developed in the lab, have strong organizational skills, and be willing to be part of the lab teamwork.

    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)


    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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    Type of employment PhD placement
    Contract type Full time
    First day of employment According to agreement
    Salary Monthly salary
    Number of positions 1
    Working hours 100
    City Solna
    County Stockholms län
    Country Sweden
    Reference number STÖD 2-86/2022
    • Marie-Stéphanie Aschtgen,
    Union representative
    • Henry Wölling, SEKO,
    • Carina Eklund, OFR,
    • Taher Darreh-Shori, SACO,
    Published 11.Jan.2022
    Last application date 31.Jan.2022 11:59 PM CET