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PhD-position in Medical Sciences with a research profile in Molecular Medicine

Umeå centrum för molekylär medicin (UCMM)




  • Typ av anställning Temporary position longer than 6 months
  • Omfattning 100%
  • Ort Umeå

This PhD student position in neural circuit controlling behaviour, is placed at Umeå Centre for Molecular Medicine (UCMM) within Wallenberg Centre for Molecular Medicine (WCMM), Umeå University. WCMM in Umeå is part of a national plan for Sweden to regain its leading position in medical research ( Behind the centre stands the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation together with, among others, Umeå University, Västerbotten County Council, the Kempe Foundation and the Cancer Research Foundation in Northern Sweden. Local and national networks within WCMM will be developed, where students are given good opportunities to interact with researchers in their own and other research groups. This is a great opportunity to work in a creative, friendly and collaborative research environment investigating neural circuit controlling behaviour.

Project description

Animals respond to the variation of oxygen (O2) levels by changing their behavior and physiology. This can be either acute or sustained. How animals sense and respond to the fluctuation of O2 supply is not entirely clear. We are investigating O2 sensing in the nematode C. elegans. Its simple and fully constructed neural circuit offers special opportunities to dissect the molecular and circuit bases of O2 sensing. Many molecules required for O2 sensation are conserved. Discoveries made in worms can always shed light on the molecular mechanisms of O2 sensing in mammals. C. elegans prefers O2 concentrations close to 7%, and they respond dramatically to avoid stressful exposure to 21% O2. We recently discovered that IL-17, a pro-inflammatory cytokine, acts like a neuromodulator in the C. elegans nervous system to modulate its response to 21% O2. However, it remains unclear how IL-17 modulates neuronal responses to O2 stimulation. This project will combine high-throughput behavioral screen, biochemistry, optogenetics, calcium imaging and single neuron transcriptional profiling to how IL-17 cytokine exerts effects on neuronal function to modulate responses to 21% O2.


Applicants must hold a University degree of at least 240 credits (ECTS), including 60 credits at advanced level, or equivalent levels of education otherwise acquired in Sweden or abroad.

In addition, the applicant should, through university studies or other equivalent education, have gained basic theoretical knowledge in molecular/cell biology, and have good experience of laboratory work, method development, and different biochemical methods of analysis. Previous working experience in C. elegans will be a plus. The applicant must be able to work both independently and as part of a team, and much focus will be given to the candidate’s potential collaborative skills.

Specific admission requirements

The applicant must be skilled in both oral and written communication in English, and this is evaluated by a presentation of the research plan in English for the supervisor and the postgraduate studies board of the department.

Additional information about the position

Provided by Changchun Chen, UCMM/WCMM, Umeå University, 901 87 Umeå, SWEDEN (E-mail:


The application should contain:

  • a cover letter with description of the applicant’s research experience, research interests and motivation for the application,
  • curriculum vitae, including degrees and previous work experience,
  • copy of relevant degrees with certifications,
  • copies of Bachelor/Master thesis work and relevant publications,
  • contact information to two reference persons

Your application must be registered in Umeå University e-recruitment system no later than 2018-02-23.

Start date

By agreement

Other information:


We are looking forward to receive your application!


Enligt överenskommelse


Changchun Chen,

Registration number

AN 2.2.1-204-18



Union representative


090-786 53 65


090-786 52 96


090-786 54 31