Postdoctoral studies in Liver Metastases Biology (scholarship): Karolinska Institutet - Stockholm, Sweden

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The Department of Biosciences and Nutrition performs research and education in several areas of medical science including aging, molecular endocrinology, cancer biology, functional genomics, systems biology, epigenetics, structural biochemistry, bioorganic chemistry, cellular virology, and nutrition. It offers an excellent international research and working environment, including around 250 scientists, students, administrative and technical personnel. The Department resides in the new biomedical research building Neo, aimed at being a creative and open environment that enables meetings, synergies, and exploration of areas of mutual interest across disciplines.

Do you want to contribute to top quality medical research?


We are looking for a Postdoctoral fellow to Marco Gerlings research group.

The research group, https://ki.se/en/bionut/signalling-and-cellular-heterogeneity-in-cancer-marco-gerling-leander-blaas-rune-toftgard , studies metastatic invasion of cancer cells into the liver. The group focuses on liver metastases of colorectal and pancreatic cancer, which are the main cause of death for patients with these cancer types. In order to chart cell types and cell interactions, they apply single-cell sequencing of mouse and human tissue based on novel sc-seq methodologies (e.g., https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.03.06.980243v1). They investigate the molecular and cellular mechanics of liver metastases invasion. Using mouse models, explant cultures and confocal 2-photon live cell imaging, they track invading metastatic cells.

The preclinical research is tightly connected to Karolinska University Hospital, a national center for liver and pancreatic surgery. A particularly close collaboration is established with the pathology department, allowing access to retrospective cohorts of patients with liver metastases. The group leader is working halftime as physician in oncology, and all projects are strongly translational. Relevant key collaborations are established with the groups of Peter Vermeulen, Antwerp Belgium (liver metastases pathology), and Martin Enge (single cell-based translational oncology), Karolinska campus Solna.  

The successful candidate will be financed by a Postdoc scholarship paid out by Karolinska Institutet. The period will be for one year starting from May 2021 or earlier.


The overarching aim is to understand the basis of metastatic invasion, and particularly the role of cellular crosstalk at the invasion front.

Initially, the project is a continuation of an ongoing study that uses mouse models of pancreatic cancer liver metastases in combination with sc-RNA seq to chart the cell types and states involved in metastatic invasion. The ultimate aim of the project is to generate a single cell atlas of tumor cells and their liver microenvironment, for which abundant data already exists. These data need to be analysed (using R) and validated in an existing, unique cohort of patients with pancreatic cancer liver metastases by RNA in situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry. 

The results will inform functional studies based on mouse models and explant cultures. These will be used to functionally evaluate candidate pathways identified by sc-RNA-seq, for which a PhD student is recruited separately. The postdoc project will involve close interaction and practical supervision of parts of the student’s work. 

The project spans one year, with the possibility of extension in case of successful external grant applications. While the initial focus lies on completion and validation of the ongoing project, the aim is to establish independent projects within the same general theme. To this end, ongoing collaborative projects that use advanced histopathological stainings and their AI-aided co-registration provide one possible avenue. In addition, projects using sc-RNA seq of human gastrointestinal cancer to characterize tumor-microenvironment interactions at the invasion front provide exciting future opportunities.

Skills and personal qualities

The ideal candidate is curiosity-driven and particularly interested in performing translational research that combines different wet lab techniques, bioinformatics and clinical pathology. The project requires integrating results from these disciplines and as such demands broad knowledge and genuine interest in the fundamental research question. Interacting with researchers and medical doctors of the different specialties requires good skills in personal communication and an openness for diverse perspectives.

Documented knowledge of general principles of data analysis in R is a particular plus for the position, as is previous experience with confocal microscopy and flow cytometry or single cell sequencing. Knowledge of histopathology is a particular merit. A medical background is a plus, but not required.

Entry requirements

Scholarships for postdoctoral qualification can be established for foreign researchers who place their qualifications in Sweden. The purpose of scholarships for postdoctoral qualification is to promote internationalization and contribute to research qualification after a doctorate or equivalent.

A scholarship for carrying out postdoctoral research can be granted for a maximum of two years within a four year period following the receipt of a doctoral degree or equivalent.

To be eligible for a postdoctoral scholarship, the person must have obtained a doctorate or a foreign degree deemed to be equivalent to a doctorate. Applicants who have not completed a doctorate at the end of the application period may also apply, provided that all requirements for a completed degree are met before the (intended) start date of the post doctoral education.

The head of the department determines whether their previous training and scholarly qualifications correspond to a Swedish doctorate or higher.

Location: Flemingsberg

Type of scholarship

The amount is tax free and it is set for twelve months at a time, paid out on a six months basis. In exceptional cases, shorter periods may be acceptable.

Application process

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

  • A complete curriculum vitae, including date of the thesis defence, title of the thesis, previous academic positions, academic title, current position, academic distinctions, and committee work

  • A complete list of publications

  • A summary of current work (no more than one page)

The application is to be submitted on the Varbi recruitment system.

Want to make a difference? Join us and contribute to better health for all

Reference number: STÖD 2-316/2021

Contact: Marco Gerling, PI , +46-76-416 74 35

               Thomas Tinglöv, Head of Administration, +46-8-524 835 49

Union representative: Henry Wölling, SEKO, +46-8-524 840 80

                                    Anders Lindholm, OFR, +46-8-524 810 12

                                    Chandrashekar Bangalore Revanna , SACO, +46-73-083 98 85

Published: 28.Jan.2021

Last application date: 21.Mar.2021 11:59 PM CET