Karolinska Institutet, Department of Medicine, Solna, Experimental endocrinology division

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.

We are recruiting a student for doctoral education.

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

Research group
The experimental endocrinology unit, lead by Professor Olle Kämpe, is an internationally active research group conducting experimental, translational, and epidemiological studies in the field of immunology and autoimmune diseases. The main focus of the research is to understand mechanisms underlying autoimmunity. A key strategy in the work has been to use rare autoimmune disorders as disease models. Using this approach, the group has been successful in identifying novel autoantigens, describing mechanisms underlying tissue-specific autoimmune diseases and establishing new diagnostic biomarkers in clinical routine.

The proposed project will be conducted under the supervision of Professor Olle Kämpe and Dr. Daniel Eriksson.

The doctoral education project and the duties of the student
The PhD project’s focus is on characterizing the genetic and serological characteristics of autoimmune disease, particularly autoimmune Addison’s disease (AAD) and paraneoplastic pemphigus (PP).

AAD is caused by an autoimmune destruction of the adrenal cortex and the subsequent loss of adrenal hormones is ultimately lethal if not rapidly substituted with hormone replacement therapy. In the vast majority of cases, AAD is inherited as a complex trait with high heritability. In a small number of cases, however, AAD is a manifestation of a recessive disease called autoimmune polyendocrine syndrome type 1 (APS1), also featuring hypoparathyroidism and mucocutaneous candidiasis. In the planned project, high density genotyping arrays and whole genome sequencing will be employed to dissect the genetic background of AAD, both in terms of common genetic risk factors, and rare high impact variation.

PP is caused by misdirected immune responses in patients with certain types of malignant diseases. Despite its rarity, PP is a good model for the immune system’s selection of autoantigens in the setting of cancer. In the planned project, broad-scale molecular technologies will be used for identifying the autoimmune targets in PP. Results from the explorative studies will then be validated with affinity based methods and autoantibodies evaluated as diagnostic biomarkers in PP.

We are looking for a talented, highly dedicated candidate with strong analytical skills and a positive attitude. Interest in cell biology, immunology and experimental medicine is encouraged. As a PhD student, the successful candidate is expected to perform practical laboratory work, contribute to the development and optimization of methods, analysis of data and presentation of results. A successful candidate is also expected to function well in team environment and to have a good ability for problem solving and independent work.

Entry requirements for doctoral education at KI
To be eligible for doctoral education, the following requirements have 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
  1. has acquired substantially equivalent knowledge in some other way in Sweden or abroad.

For more information regarding the general entry requirements, please see:

Specific entry requirements
Proficiency in English equivalent to the course English B/English 6 at Swedish upper secondary school. Applicants who meet the general entry requirements (1 or 2 above) from a university in one of the Nordic countries fulfill the English language requirement.

For information on how other applicants can certify their English proficiency (such as through IELTS or TOEFL, previous upper secondary or university level studies), please see:

Proficiency in Swedish is also required, as the work may involve collecting information from medical records and writing applications to ethical boards in Sweden. 

Skills and personal qualities
The candidate should have a strong background in both biology and immunology, and practical experience from molecular biology techniques, such as molecular cloning, PCR and affinity-based protein detection. It is further desirable that the candidate has experience from working with protein arrays and autoantibody analyses. The candidate should also have in-depth understanding and practical experience from genetic studies in immunological diseases. Experience from bioinformatics analysis of large-scale genetic datasets, such as next generation whole genome sequencing is required.

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.

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

  • A personal letter and a curriculum vitae
  • Academic degree diplomas, transcripts of records in original language and, if applicable, authorised translations
  • Copies of degree projects and any previous publications
  • Proof of English proficiency as stated in the specific requirement above

All documents certifying the entry requirements must be scans of originals (scans of copies or certified copies will not be accepted). The scanned documents must be in color and both the front and the back of the documents must be scanned. Please note that there are specific documentation requirements for a number countries, please read the instructions at:


The application and supporting documents are to be submitted through the Varbi recruitment system.

Type of employment Doktorandplats
Contract type Full time
Reference number 2-5335/2018
  • Olle Kämpe, Professor, +46 8 517 791 55
  • Daniel Eriksson, med. dr., +46 73 065 10 10
Union representative
  • Lars Ährlund-Richter, SACO, +46 8 517 734 50, lars.ahrlund@ki.se
  • Nasrin Bavand, +46 8 517 723 64
Published 05.Oct.2018
Last application date 16.Oct.2018 11:59 PM CET

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