Marie Sklodowska-Curie PhD student position at Kancera AB on the role of fractalkine (CX3CL1) and its receptor (CX3CR1) in inflammatory conditions.

Kancera AB (publ) in collaboration with Karolinska Institutet, Department of Physiology and Pharmacology

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.

The student will be employed by Kancera AB. The research will be conducted both at Kancera AB and at the Karolinska Institutet (KI) with supervisors both at KI and at Kancera.  The doctoral education at KI is four years.

For more information regarding doctoral education at Karolinska Institutet (KI), see:

The PhD-student will join two other Marie Sklodowska-Curie PhD students in another ITN named SYNTRAIN at Kancera AB. They are doing their second year in close collaborations with Karolinska Institutet. A part of their work was recently published in Nature Communications: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-018-06287-x

About Kancera AB (publ).
Kancera develops the basis for new therapeutics, starting with new treatment concepts and ending with the sale of a drug candidate to international pharmaceutical companies. Kancera is currently developing drugs for the treatment of inflammation and cancer, by regulating the immune system, blocking survival signals in the cancer cell and addressing repair mechanisms. Kancera’s operations are based in the Karolinska Institute Science Park in Stockholm and the company employs around 15 people. MD PhD Charlotte Edenius, MD PhD Anders Gabrielsen, Professor Carl-Henrik Heldin and Professor Håkan Mellstedt are board members and Kancera’s scientific advisers.

For more information please visit Kanceras web site: www.kancera.com

About the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology
At the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology we teach and conduct internationally acclaimed, high-quality research in Physiology, Pharmacology, Anesthesiology and Intensive care. We have around 400 employees, 30 research groups, and 90 doctoral students. Our research fields include cellular signaling, cardiovascular and respiratory systems, neuropsychopharmacology, neuroinflammation, pharmacogenetics, regenerative medicine, Renal System, anesthesiology and intensive care, muscle physiology and pain. Our collaboration with the clinics at Karolinska University Hospital provides unique opportunities for translational research within our subjects. More information about research at http://ki.se/fyfa_english

About the Research group
The overall research mission of the unit for molecular pain research led by Prof. Camilla Svensson is to advance our understanding of the mechanisms that drive chronic pain states, in particular persistent pain in arthritis and fibromyalgia. In this context, we are exploring how the immune system in the periphery and glial cells in the spinal cord affect the sensory nervous system and contribute to the regulation of pain signal transmission. Intracellular signaling pathways that are activated or deactivated in this process are being dissected and studied in relation to persistent pain.
We use a number of behavioral, immunohistochemical, electrophysiological and molecular biological techniques to dissect pain pathways in vivo and in cell culture systems. The research group (10 PhD students, postdoctoral fellows and staff members) collaborate with preclinical as well as clinical researchers not only within Karolinska Institutet, but also with other Swedish and international researchers.

The doctoral education project and the duties of the student
This PhD project is one out of eleven in an EU-funded Marie Skodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network, with the acronym TOBeATPAIN. TOBeATPAIN is structured around two research areas: 1) pathophysiology of pain in neurodegenerative diseases characterised by neuroinflammation, and 2) pathophysiology of neuroinflammation in chronic pain syndromes. The strong inter-sectoral (five world leading universities, three biotech SMEs, two large companies, and one non-profit research organisation charity) and the international dimension (four European countries are represented) offers an unique training platform that ensures exposure to different research training environments.

Millions in Europe and beyond suffer from chronic pain as a debilitating complication of disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia. The research is centered on the role of fractalkine (CX3CL1) and its receptor (CX3CR1) in inflammatory conditions. The project forming the basis for the prospective PhD studies is focused on pain in rheumatic diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and fibromyalgia (FM). It has been demonstrated that disruption of the CX3CL1-CX3CR1 pathway reverses pain-like behavior in experimental models of RA and that CX3CL1 levels are elevated in CSF of patients with fibromyalgia. CX3CL1 and its receptor regulates the activity of resident microglia in the CNS as well as infiltration of macrophages to the CNS as well as peripheral tissues. Recently, resident macrophages in DRGs and changes in their phenotype have been implicated in chronic pain condition, but the role of the CX3CL1-CX3CR1 system in this process still remains to be determined. Thus, the ERS5 will i) explore pain-associated roles of resident macrophages in the DRGs and microglia in the CNS in animal models of chronic rheumatic pain, 2) investigate how inhibition of CX3CL1-CX3CR1 pathway alters the profile of these cells and the impact it has on pain signal transmission and 3) examine macrophage profiles and changes in CX3CL1, CX3CR1 and associated factors in patient material. The PhD student will use animal models of pain pathology in rheumatic disease and different in vivo behavioural assays and immunological and molecular biological tools. The project also includes in vitro work based on macrophage, microglia and neuronal cell cultures and associated assays as well as analysis of patient samples. The student will be a part of a larger research network in Stockholm consisting of preclinical and clinical researchers.

A detailed description of the eleven PhD projects, including compulsory secondments, Supervisors and host organizations, as well as contact persons are available on https://tobeatpain-itn.net . This project is the Early Stage Researcher 5 (ESR 5). This information is also available on the EURAXESS website: https://euraxess.ec. europa.eu/jobs/365179

Entry requirements for doctoral education at KI
In order to participate in the selection for a doctoral position at Karolinska Institutet, 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
  3. has acquired substantially equivalent konwledge 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 is an entry requirement for doctoral education at KI. Applicants who meet the general entry requirements (1 or 2 above) from a university in one of the Nordic countries has met the requirements in English.

Follow the link below for information on how other applicants can certify their English proficiency (such as through IELTS or TOEFL, previous upper secondary or university level studies). For more information regarding general and specific entry requirements, please see: https://ki.se/en/phd/entry- requirements-eligibility-for-doctoral-education

Specific requirements for the Innovative Training Network (ITN)
All PhD students recruited in an ITN must be Early-Stage Researchers (ESR). ESR can be of any nationality and age, and they must comply with the LEVEL OF EXPERIENCE and MOBILITY RULE (see below).

LEVEL OF EXPERIENCE: Early-Stage Researchers (= PhD Students) must, at the date of recruitment by the beneficiary, be in the first four years (full-time equivalent research experience) of their research careers and have not been awarded a doctoral degree. The date of recruitment means the first day of the employment of the researcher for the purposes of the action (i.e. the starting date indicated in the employment contract or equivalent direct contract). Full-time equivalent research experience is measured from the date when the researcher obtained the degree entitling him/her to embark on a doctorate (either in the country in which the degree was obtained or in the country in which the researcher is recruited), even if a doctorate was never started or envisaged.

 MOBILITY RULE: researchers must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the country of the recruiting beneficiary for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately before the recruitment date. Compulsory national service, short stays such as holidays, and time spent as part of a procedure for obtaining refugee status under the Geneva Convention are not taken into account.

 Skills and personal qualities
We are seeking a highly motivated, talented student who has the maturity and desire to study hard and independently as well as work in a group setting. The day-to-day studies are to a large extent laboratory based and require self-motivation. In addition, the research is team based and the group have multiple ongoing collaborative projects and as such the applicant must have an ability to interact effectively and work productively in a collaborative manner.

The applicant must be fluent in English, with excellent communication and writing skills. A genuine high level of curiosity for research in general and in the pain field in particular is advantageous. Previous experience in the fields of neuroscience, immunology and/or behavioral pharmacology is considered an advantage for this project. Emphasis will be placed on personal skills, motivation and previous experience of laboratory work.

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 are to be submitted to: https://kancera.varbi.com/en/what:job/jobID:244374/

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

  • A personal letter and a curriculum vitae
  • Documents certifying the entry requirements*: Academic degree diplomas, transcripts of records, and if applicable, authorised translations
  • Copies of degree projects and any previous publications
  • Proof of English proficiency
  • Any other documentation showing the desirable skills and personal qualities described 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:  https://ki.se/en/phd/entry-requirements-eligibility-for-doctoral-education

If an applicant claims equivalent konwledge (point 3 under general entry requirements above) for the eligibility assessment, a form has to be filled in and submitted. Please find more information here: https://ki.se/en/phd/assessing-equivalent-knowledge-for-general-eligibility-for-doctoral-education

Selection process
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.

 Kancera AB 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

The selection process will include several steps. The most suitable applicants will proceed to the next step which includes personal interviews. All applicants will be informed when the recruitment is done.

 Pursuant to the regulations of the Swedish National Archives, applications are kept on file for two years after the appointment has gained legal force. The regulations do not apply to attachments that have been printed or otherwise published.

Kancera AB strives to provide a workplace that has approximately the same number of women and men, is free of discrimination and offers equal opportunity to everyone.

For temp agencies and recruiters, and to salespersons: We politely, yet firmly, decline direct contact with temp agencies and recruiters, as well as those selling additional job announcements.

Type of employment Temporary position 3-6 months
Contract type Full time
First day of employment 2019-04-01
Salary Monthly salary
Number of positions 1
Working hours 100%
City Solna
County Stockholms län
Country Sweden
Reference number 2018/2
  • Camilla Svensson, 08-524 800 00
  • Martin Norin, +46-(0)735 20 4002
Union representative
  • Elisabeth Olsson, SACO, +45 735 20 4024
Published 20.Dec.2018
Last application date 28.Jan.2019 11:59 PM CET

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