PhD Scholarship in Molecular Biosciences at Stockholm University

Applications are invited for a PhD position in environmental sciences to join Stockholm University. Successful candidate will have funding to work and study for four years in Sweden. The deadline to apply is October 07, 2020.

The Department of Molecular Biosciences, Wenner-Gren Institute (MBW) conducts experimental basic research in molecular cell biology, intergrative biology and infection and immune biology. The research environment is characterized by a modern and advanced methodology and has a strong international profile. MBW is one of the larger departments of the Faculty of Science at Stockholm University (Stockholm University scholarships) with more than 30 research groups and about 200 employees, of whom 65 are doctoral students. Read more about MBW at

Up to half of the average natural ionising radiation exposure of people comes from radon gas. Radon is formed by the radioactive decay of naturally occurring uranium in soils. It can mix with the air in homes, offices and mines. Breathing radon-rich air can lead to lung cancer and today radon is the second cause of lung cancer, surpassed only by smoking. Radon and cigarette smoke interact, leading to a lung cancer risk that is higher than additive. The mechanisms of this interaction are not understood. Also, it is not well known if radon interacts with air-borne toxins like nanoparticles. MBW and Department of Environmental Science (ACES), Stockholm University participates in a multidisciplinary, EU-funded project RadoNorm and the PhD position is embedded in this project.

The aim of the PhD project is to better understand the mechanism of the interaction and to identify biomarkers of exposure to radon in combination with other stressors. Experiments will be carried out with human and non-human cells. Human cell experiments will focus on normal bronchial cells exposed using an air liquid interface (ALI) exposure system to radon gas, cigarette smoke and various naturally and occupationally relevant nanoparticles.

Experiments with non-human cells will be carried out on the effect of radon and nanoparticles in collaboration with the CERAD Centre of Excellence in s, Norway. DNA damage induced by various combinations of the stressors will be assessed by cytogenetic methods, gamma-H2AX focus assay and level of DNA damage responsive gene expression. Qualitative and quantitative analysis of the endpoints will show if different stressor combinations induce a fingerprint of exposure that can be used as a future biomarker.

This doctoral student position is available in the laboratory headed by Professor Andrzej Wojcik (MBW) in collaboration with Assoc Professor Karine Elihn (ACES). Knowledge of radiation biology or toxicology (toxicology scholarships) is regarded as an asset. Readiness to participate in activities of an EU-funded project such as participation in project courses and meetings are mandatory requirements.

In order to meet the general entry requirements for doctoral studies, the applicant must have completed a second-cycle degree, completed courses equivalent to at least 240 higher education credits (of which 60 credits must be in the second cycle), or have otherwise acquired equivalent knowledge in Sweden (Sweden scholarships) or elsewhere.

In order to meet the specific entry requirements, the general syllabus for doctoral studies in the field of molecular biology, stipulates that the applicant at the undergraduate (undergraduate scholarships) level has at least 120 credits in molecular biology, biology, chemistry or the equivalent. And at least 60 credits at an advanced level in molecular biosciences or the equivalent, of which at least 30 credits must consist of an independent thesis project.

The selection among the eligible candidates will based on the capacity to benefit from the training. The following criteria will be used to assess this capacity: the candidates' documented knowledge in a relevant field of research, written and oral proficiency in English, the capacity for analytical thinking, the ability to collaborate, as well as creativity, initiative, and independence. The assessment will be based on previous experience and grades, the quality of the degree project, references, relevant experience, interviews, and the candidate's written motivation for seeking the position.

The term of the initial contract may not exceed one year. The employment may be extended for a maximum of two years at a time. However, the total period of employment may not exceed the equivalent of four years of full-time study.

Doctoral students should primarily devote themselves to their own education, but may engage in teaching, research, and administration corresponding to a maximum of 20 % of a full-time position.

Further information about the position can be obtained from Andrzej Wojcik, +46 8-16 12 17,, Karine Elihn, +46 8-674 77 63, or Lovisa Lundholm, +46 8-16 41 40,

Apply for the PhD student position at Stockholm University’s recruitment system. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that the application is complete in accordance with the instructions in the advertisement, and that it is submitted before the deadline.

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