Karolinska Institutet, Institutionen för medicin, Solna, Clinical Immunology and Allergy Unit

The Department of Medicine, Solna, is one of the largest departments at Karolinska Institutet. The department consists of several units that are separated into different research groups. The core activities of the department are research, doctoral education and undergraduate education for medical and biomedical students. The research has three main profiles: allergy, cardiovascular medicine and inflammatory diseases.

A doctoral position is an available doctoral education project to which a PhD student is to be recruited. After the selection process the process for admission to doctoral education will commence. An admission decision will not be taken until an individual study plan has been approved by the departmental admission board.

For more information regarding doctoral (PhD) education, see: http://www.ki.se/doctoral

Research group
The Immunology and Allergy Unit at the Department of Medicine, Solna performs research on different aspect of allergy and autoimmune diseases. Our research group (PI, Nicola Gagliani; Co-PI, Eduardo J. Villablanca) will investigate the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying the establishment of immune tolerance and how the breakdown of these mechanisms might lead to immune mediated inflammatory diseases. Our group works in an inspiring and interactive research environment at the Karolinska University, Solna and has ongoing collaborative projects with national and international colleagues.

The doctoral education project and the duties of the student
The immune system continuously protects us against pathogens which are particular insidious at the mucosal barriers such as the intestine. However, this efficient protective system comes at a price: immune-mediated inflammatory diseases (IMIDs) that disturbingly exhibit increased mortality rates. This shows the importance of a tuned immune system balancing between immunity and tolerance to self- or non-pathogenic antigens, such as microbiota derived antigens. 

The main focus of our research is to study the cellular and molecular regulatory mechanisms that prevent the development of immune mediated diseases, especially in the intestine. Dendritic cells and CD4+ T cells are among the main orchestrators of the immune system and in the intestine, are both involved in maintaining the homeostasis. However, in the intestine a third important play is present, namely the microbiota. The microbiota is a complex ecosystem composed of different microorganisms, including bacteria, which cohabit our body. Throughout a long coevolution, the dendritic cells and CD4 T cells have adapted to recognize and tolerate the microbiota while still remaining potentially reactive to invasive pathogens. The focus of our research is how these cells can repetitively adapt and be plastic when faced with different insults: i.e. fight against pathogenic infection but at the same time remain tolerant towards the “always present” microbiota. Our lab aims to deeply characterize the functional plasticity of Dendritic and T cell responses generated towards the commensal microbiota under sequential bacterial infections. In particular, by integrating sophisticated mouse models and cutting edge technologies, such as next generation sequencing approaches, multi parameters and bioinformatics analysis, we will dissect the cellular and molecular mechanisms responsible for the development of pathogenic intestinal inflammation.

When the mechanisms which control the Dendritic / CD4 T cell plasticity are revealed, this will help to develop conceptually alternative therapies: therapies, which aim to reset the immune system to its original and physiological homeostasis, rather than suppressing the overall activation of the immune system as has been the standard approach so far.

Entry requirements for doctoral education at KI
To be eligible for doctoral education following requirements has to be met:

General entry requirements
A person meets the general entry requirements for doctoral/third-cycle/PhD education (according to Higher Education Ordinance Chapt 7, section 39) if he/she:

  1. has been awarded advanced/second-cycle/master qualification (i.e. master degree) or
  2. has satisfied the requirements for courses comprising at least 240 credits of which at least 60 credits were awarded in the second-cycle/master level, or
  3. has acquired substantially equivalent knowledge in some other way in Sweden or abroad.

Specific entry requirements
Proficiency in English equivalent to the course English B/English 6 at Swedish upper secondary school:
Proficiency in the English language can be documented by an internationally recognized test such as TOEFL or IELTS, see web-link below for more information.
Applicants who meet the general entry requirements (1 or 2 above) from a university in one of the Nordic countries fulfill the requirements in English.

For more information regarding general and specific entry requirements: http://ki.se/en/education/entry-requirements-eligibility-for-doctoral-education

The applicant should have a second cycle background in medicine, biomedicine or biochemistry.

Skills and personal qualities
The applicant must be efficient, thorough, a good communicator in English, have experience from laboratory work, be flexible and have collaborating skills and enjoy working in an international and dynamic team.

Assessment criteria
A selection will be made among qualified applicants on the basis of the ability to benefit from doctoral education. 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

The qualifications of the applicants will be evaluated on an overall basis.

Terms and conditions
All doctoral students at KI receive financial support during their doctoral education and employment on a doctoral studentship is the most common sort of support. During the time between recruitment and admission a short-term employment can be offered for up to 6 months.

Application process
An application must contain the following documents in Swedish or English:

  • A personal letter and curriculum vitae
  • A copy of degree certificates and associated certificates
  • A copy of degree projects and any previous publications

The application is to be submitted through the MyNetwork recruitment system.

Type of employment Doktorandplats
Contract type Full time
Reference number 2-1236/2017
  • Eduardo Villablanca, Assistant Professor, +46 8 517 759 34
Union representative
  • Lars Ährlund-Richter, SACO, +46 8 517 734 50, lars.ahrlund@ki.se
  • Nasrin Bavand-Chobot, OFR, Nasrin.Bavand@ki.se
Published 07.Mar.2017
Last application date 07.Apr.2017 11:59 PM CET

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