Doctoral Student Position in Cell and Developmental Biology University of Helsinki, Epithelial morphogenesis group Finland

The University of Helsinki is a leading Nordic university with a preeminent role in life science research. Within the university, the Institute of Biotechnology (BI) is a part of the Helsinki Institute of Life Science (HiLIFE), dedicated to successful development of biotechnology and integrative biology and the application of this knowledge for the benefit of society. HiLIFE coordinates research infrastructures, provides research-based interdisciplinary training, and supports researchers within its units and partner faculties.


The Epithelial morphogenesis group ( led by Research director Marja Mikkola is inviting applications for a




for a fixed-term of two years with a possibility of extension, if funding for it can be secured. The full-time position will start in May 2019, or later by agreement.


Our laboratory, funded by the Academy of Finland, Sigrid Jusélius Foundation, Cancer Foundation Finland, and HiLIFE, uses mammary gland and hair follicle as models to uncover the principles of epithelial morphogenesis in development and disease. We use a wide range of molecular, cellular, and imaging techniques, as well as ex vivo and in vivo manipulation of developing mouse organs. The PhD project will focus on the molecular and cellular mechanisms governing mammary gland branching morphogenesis and will also utilize transgenic mouse models displaying benign and malignant mammary hyperplasia.


We are seeking for dedicated and enthusiastic candidates with a Master’s degree in cell/molecular biology, developmental biology, genetics, biomedicine, or other appropriate field. Candidates who will receive their MSc degree in near future are also eligible to apply. A solid knowledge in cell biology is essential. Previous experience in confocal imaging and image analysis, or cell and tissue culture is considered advantageous. Good written and oral skills in English and a team spirit are a necessity.


We offer an international, inspiring and supportive research environment and excellent research facilities with access to state-of-the art technologies. We are part of the Academy of Finland funded Center of Excellence in Experimental and Computational developmental biology ( The salary will be based on level 2 of the University salary system for teaching and research personnel and includes a salary component based on personal performance. A six-month trial period will be applied.


The application should include the following documents as a single pdf-file: a cover letter describing your research interests and motivation for this position (max 1 page), a CV (including degree topics and grades of the Master’s degree), and contact information of at least two referees.


To apply, please submit your application using the University of Helsinki electronic recruitment system by clicking on Apply for the position. Internal applicants must submit their applications through the SAP HR portal.


The deadline for submitting applications is March 17, 2019, but review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled.


For informal inquiries, please, contact marja.mikkola(at) For technical support to use the recruitment system, please, contact rekrytointi(at)


Publications from the lab include:
1. Biggs LC, Mäkelä OJM, Myllymäki SM, Das Roy R, Närhi K, Pispa J, Mustonen T, Mikkola ML. Hair follicle dermal condensation forms via Fgf20 primed cell cycle exit, cell motility, and aggregation. Elife 7, pii: e36468, 2018.
2. Ahtiainen L, Uski I, Thesleff I, Mikkola ML. Early epithelial signaling center governs tooth budding morphogenesis. J Cell Biol 214: 753-67, 2016.
3. Voutilainen V, Lindfors PH#), Trela E#), Lönnblad D, Shirokova V, Elo T, Rysti E, Schmidt-Ullrich R, Schneider P, Mikkola ML. Ectodysplasin/NF-κB promotes mammary cell fate via Wnt/β-catenin pathway. PLoS Genet 11:e1005676, 2015.
4. Ahtiainen L, Lefebvre S, Lindfors PH, Renvoisé E, Shirokova V, Vartiainen MK, Thesleff I, Mikkola ML. Directional cell migration, but not proliferation, drives hair placode morphogenesis. Dev Cell 28: 588-602, 2014.
5. Voutilainen M, Lindfors PH, Lefebvre S, Ahtiainen L, Fliniaux I, Rysti E, Murtoniemi M, Schneider P, Schmidt-Ullrich R, Mikkola ML. 2012. Ectodysplasin regulates hormone-independent mammary ductal morphogenesis via NF-κB. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 109: 5744-9.


Due date
17.03.2019 23:59 EET

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