PhD-position within Biochemistry – Chemo-optogenetics

Deadline: 03 September 2018
Open to: international applicants
Benefits: monthly salary


At the Umeå University Department of Chemistry, there is open position for doctoral candidate within the project Chemo-optogenics.

The lab is located within the cross-disciplinary Chemical Biological Centre at Umeå University and provides excellent facilities and state-of-art equipment and platforms in a creative, inspiring, international and highly interactive environment. Facilities include Protein Expertise Platform, X-ray, Proteomics, NMR (850-400 MHz), Cryo-EM and Biochemical Imaging Centre (confocal, FLIM, spinning disk). The recent breakthrough researches from UmU include deciphering the molecular mechanisms of the bacterial CRISPR-Cas9 system and repurposing it into a tool for genome editing.

Project description
Genetic perturbations by gain or loss of gene function through overexpression, knock-out or knock-down approaches is powerful for biological studies. However, traditional genetic approaches are chronic (hours to days). Consequently, the phenotype may not be detected due to adaptation and the dynamics of phenotypic change cannot be followed. Chemical genetic approaches using small molecules are acute, reversible, conditional and tunable and have been very useful to dissect the complexity of biological regulatory networks. However, many of these compounds have additional off-target effects that may confound elucidation of biological systems in certain contexts. Canonical optogenetic systems using photoreceptors suffer from limitations in tunability, dynamic range and maneuverability.

Their laboratory has developed a set of chemical and photochemically induced dimerization (CID and pCID) system to spatiotemporally control cellular signaling and intracellular cargo transport. We will further develop novel chemo-optogenetic systems that enables the activity to be controlled by light with high spatial and temporal precision in live cells and organisms.

The PhD student will focus on protein/peptide synthesis, cell imaging and organic synthesis. The project is funded by European Research Council (ERC) and Wallenberg Foundation. The project is interdisciplinary with strong collaborations across scientific disciplines.


  • To be admitted for studies at third-cycle level you are required to have completed a second-cycle level degree, or completed course requirements of at least 240 ECTS credits, of which at least 60 ECTS credits are at second-cycle level or have an equivalent education from abroad, or equivalent qualifications;
  • To fulfil the specific entry requirements to be admitted for studies at third-cycle level in chemistry, you are required to have completed first-cycle courses of at least 90 ECTS credits within the field of chemistry or another subject considered to be directly relevant to the specialization in question. Of those 90 ECTS credits, at least 15 ECTS credits shall have been acquired at second-cycle level within the specialization or an equivalent subject;
  • Very good language skills in English, both spoken and written, is required. Experiences in protein/peptide chemistry, organic synthesis, and/or cell imaging are strong merits.


The appointment aims at a PhD degree and the main task of the PhD student is to pursue their doctoral studies, which includes participation in research projects as well as postgraduate courses. In the assignments, teaching and other departmental work (up to a maximum of 20%) can be included. The employment is limited to four years full-time or up to five years when part-time teaching. The salary placement takes place according to the established salary level for doctoral employment.

How to apply?

A complete application should contain the following documents:

  • A cover letter including a description of your qualifications, research interests and motivation for applying (max 2 pages);
  • A Curriculum Vitae;
  • Copies of degree certificates or equivalent, including documentation of completed academic courses and obtained grades;
  • Name and contact information of at least two reference persons.

Applications must be submitted via their e-recruitment system.

For more information please visit the official website.