PhD positions in structural biology and biophysics

The group of Björn Burmann at the Department of Chemistry and Molecular Biology of the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, is recruiting two PhD-students for studying large protein complexes by solution NMR-spectroscopy. The Department and the Swedish NMR Centre offers an international and enthusiastic working environment with excellent infrastructure for studies in all areas of life science. Our facilities for structural biology include several state-of-the-art 600-900 MHz Agilent and Bruker NMR spectrometers, access to national super-computer infrastructure, as well as a fully equipped biochemistry laboratory for expression, purification, and subsequent biophysical characterization of our proteins of interest.


Research and graduate education at the department of chemistry and molecular biology comprises a wide scientific field from the atomic and molecular levels all the way through cells to intact organisms. We participate in undergraduate programs in chemistry, molecular biology, medicinal chemistry, biology, marine sciences, and pharmacy.

A third cycle education at our department will lead to a Ph.D. in Natural sciences, or Natural sciences with a specialisation in Chemistry. Ph.D. studies comprises four years at the post graduate level. The time period can be extended to 5 years in total through teaching and/or other departmental duties.

The newly established group of Björn Burmann plans to use state of the art NMR-spectroscopy to study large molecular complexes underlying basic cellular functions at the atomic level in combination with other structural biology methods and biophysical characterization. Our group will use E.coli based expression for specific isotope-labeling suited to study large proteins and their respective molecular complexes playing an integral role for protein quality control achieved by molecular chaperones and their proteases, whose dysfunction is at the basis of many aging-related diseases, such as neurodegeneration and cancer. Results of our previous studies into the basic function of molecular chaperones at the atomic level have been published in top journals (Burmann et al. NSMB 2013/Thoma, Burmann et al. NSMB 2015).

Job assignments

The PhD projects, funded by the Swedish Research Council, aim at advancing our molecular understanding of the function and regulation of homo-oligomeric serine-proteases from bacteria and mitochondria at their atomic level by advanced NMR-spectroscopy. Dysregulation of these important proteases leads to the accumulation of misfolded protein species in the respective cells, which subsequently can provide the foundation for cell death in bacteria and a wide range of diseases like different cancer types, neurodegenerative diseases etc. in higher eukaryotes.
Specifically, the students will study (1) the molecular mechanisms by which these proteases are regulated and activated (2) how they recognize and subsequently cleave their misfolded protein substrates, and (3) how the protease interact with adaptor proteins in order to modulate their function. The PhD students will be exposed to a broad range of scientific tasks and research questions that require a genuine interest in and knowledge of ranging from basic biochemistry to advanced structural biology methods (not restricted to NMR-spectroscopy only as it is planned to also apply X-Ray crystallography or cryo-electron microscopy whenever indicated by our data) and biophysical characterization. Methods in microbiology, molecular biology, bioinformatics and biochemistry will also be used.


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 courses and study programmes 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.

To meet the specific entry requirements for third-cycle studies, applicants must: (i) have a second-cycle (advanced-level) degree in a relevant* subject area in the natural sciences, or (ii) have completed studies for at least 60 higher education credits at a second-cycle level in relevant subject areas in the natural sciences, or (iii) have completed a corresponding programme of relevance to the planned third-cycle programme, in Sweden or in another country, or have equivalent qualifications.
*Relevant for the planned third-cycle education
The specific entry requirements also include an acceptable command of spoken and written English. Guidelines for assessing English proficiency may include a minimum score of 550 on the TOEFL test (or 213 on the TOEFL-CBT, or 79 on the TOEFL-iBT).


Regulations for the evaluation of qualifications for education on a doctoral level are given in SFS 1998:80.

We seek talented and dedicated students eager to pursue a career in structural biology. You should be open-minded, eager to learn, and have a genuine interest in Science. The graduate students will be exposed to a broad spectrum of scientific tasks and questions related to the project and in turn a genuine interest in and knowledge of biochemistry and structural biology is mandatory. Educational courses and other experience with protein expression and purification, isotope-labeling for NMR, molecular biology, biophysical characterization, chemical biology, and biochemistry work is considered as an advantage. You should be able to work independently as well as in a team and communicate well in English.


Type of employment: Fixed-term employment, Four years full time
Extent: 100 %
Location: Department of Chemistry and Molecular Biology, Gothenburg
First day of employment: As soon as possible

Regulations for the evaluation of qualifications for education on a doctoral level are given in SFS 1998:80.
A new employment as a PhD student applies for a maximum of one year. The Appointment may be prolonged for up to two years at a time. The total employment period may not be longer than the equivalent of four years of full time time doctoral studies.
University applies local agreement on salaries of graduate students.

For further information regarding the position

Björn Burmann, Assistant professor, + 46 (0) 31 786
Göran Hilmersson, Head of Department +46 (0) 31-786


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. The selection of candidates is made on the basis of the qualifications registered in the application.

Closing date 2017-04-21

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

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

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.


The official job-advertisement can be found here: