Doctoral Student Position in Medical Science; Systems Biology focusing on ALK Signaling
University of Gothenburg Institute of Biomedicine

Doctoral Student Position in Medical Science - Systems biology focusing on ALK signaling

Diary id:PAR 2020/276
Employment level:Fixed term
Location:Institute of Biomedicine
Apply by:2020-06-30

Job assignments

The PhD education in Medical Science comprises carrying out a scientific project and completing at least 30 credits of courses at third-cycle level. The doctoral student must also write a scientific compilation thesis or monograph corresponding to at least 120 credits. For more information about third-cycle studies at Sahlgrenska Academy, see

Project: ALK is a tyrosine kinase receptor that is a clinical target in cancer. ALK was originally identified as a fusion protein with nucleophosmin (NPM) in anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL). Numerous oncogenic ALK variants have been described in different tumor types, including inflammatory myofibroblastic tumors (IMT) and non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). However, in neuroblastoma, full length ALK is activated by point mutations, predominantly in the kinase domain. Mutations and rearrangements in ALK trigger the activation of the receptor and its downstream signaling pathways. Tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) that target ALK are currently in clinical use for the treatment of ALK-positive NSCLC patients. However, monotherapy with ALK TKIs have been less encouraging in neuroblastoma patients with ALK alterations, raising the question of whether combinatorial therapy may be more effective. Identification of combinatorial therapy targets and relevant biomarkers requires the thorough understanding of the underlying signalling dynamics. Gaining deeper insights in these signaling dynamics requires a systems biology approach. By integrating data from different (high throughput) experiments and publicly available (signaling) data, systems biology aims at understanding the properties of the system by focusing on pathways, rather than single genes. In this regard it takes a more holistic approach, in contrast to the classical gene-centred reductionistic approach.

The overall goal of this PhD project is to better understand the effects of different molecular perturbations on the dynamics of ALK signaling and use these new insights to identify combinatorial treatment options in ALK-positive tumours. To accomplish this goal the PhD project uses a stepwise systems biology approach, with increasing levels of complexity. The project has a strong bioinformatics focus, but its success will critically depend on daily interactions with the wet-lab. Furthermore, new findings at each stage of the project will be evaluated for wet-lab validation. This is a collaborative project with the University of Ghent, Belgium and the PhD student will spend time both in Gothenburg and Ghent.

Third-cycle studies are equivalent to four year full-time and lead to a Degree of Doctor. Those appointed to doctoral studentships shall primarily devote themselves to their studies. Those appointed to doctoral studentships may, however, work to a limited extent with educational tasks, research and administration (departmental duties). Before a PhD degree has been awarded, duties of this kind may not comprise more than 20 per cent of a full-time post.


To be eligible for third-cycle studies, the applicant must meet both the general and specific entry requirements.

A person meets the general entry requirements for third-cycle studies if he or she:
1. has been awarded a second-cycle qualification
2. has satisfied the requirements for courses comprising at least 240 credits of which at least 60 credits were awarded in the second-cycle, or
3. has acquired substantially equivalent knowledge in some other way in Sweden or abroad

A person meets the specific entry requirements for third-cycle studies in Medical Science if he or she: has successfully completed the English B/6 course or is considered to have acquired equivalent knowledge through previous studies


In selecting between applicants who meet the general and specific entry requirements, their ability to benefit from third-cycle studies shall be taken into account. The assessment shall attach particular importance to documented qualifications for:
- specific knowledge and skills within the subject area and related research fields
- experience of scientific theory and relevant research methodology
- scientific analysis and presentation verified through thesis, degree project, scientific journals or the like.

It is desirable that applicants have a background in bio-informatics, biological disciplines, computer science or equivalent. It is an advantage if candidates with a biomedical background have programming experience (e.g. R, Linux bash, Python) and candidates with a computational background have biology knowledge. Documented experience in cancer biology/genomics and with R and Bioconductor is an asset. Good communication skills, being able to work in team as well as independently, and having a critical and creative mindset are also desirable.


After admission to third-cycle studies you will be appointed to doctoral studentship. Regulations for employment of doctoral students are given in SFS 1993:100. The initial appointment may apply for no longer than one year. An appointment may be renewed for no more than two years at a time. A person may be appointed to a doctoral studentship for a total of eight years. The total employment period may, however, not exceed the time corresponding to full-time third-cycle study for four years.

Location: Sahlgrenska Academy, Institute of Biomedicine, Department of Medical Biochemistry and Cell biology. Extent: 100%. First day of employment: as agreed.

Salaries for doctoral students are regulated in a local agreement at the University. 

For further information regarding the position

For more information about the project please contact the principal supervisor, 
Ruth Palmer, Professor, Institute of Biomedicine,
phone: +46 31 7863906, e-mail:


Union representatives at the University of Gothenburg:

How to apply

In order to apply for a position at the University of Gothenburg, you have to register an account in our online recruitment system. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that the application is complete in accordance with the instructions in the job advertisement, and that it is submitted before the deadline.

You must include the following, in pdf format

  • Personal letter
  • CV
  • Diploma and transcripts showing that you meet with the general entry requirement
  • Proof of completion of  English 6 course or the acquired equivalent knowledge through previous studies

If your degree is from a university outside of Sweden, check what you need to submit at where you can also see what you need to submit in order to fulfill the English language requirement.

  • If your degree has not been verified by a Swedish authority you need to provide contact details to the issuing university, registrar or similar, that can verify the degree at our request.

Closing date: 2020-06-30

The University of Gothenburg promotes equal opportunities, equality and diversity.

Applications will be destroyed or returned (upon request) two years after the decision of employment has become final. Applications from the employed and from those who appeal the decision will not be returned.

If you apply for this position please say you saw it on Bioloxy


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