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Programmed cell death in single cell organisms

   Chemistry Department

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  Prof Christiane Funk  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Umeå Sweden Biochemistry Genetics Molecular Biology Plant Biology

About the Project

Programmed cell death, the genetically encoded suicide of specific cells, is best known in multicellular organisms, but has recently also been observed in single-cell organisms. A family of metacaspase proteases is highly important in the process. We study metacaspases and their homologues in unicellular photosynthetic organisms.

Working tasks

You will be included in an international research group performing research on plant proteases. Studies will be performed in the green algae Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, the cryptophyte algae Giardia theta and the cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803. You will sterile culture algae and cyanobacteria under different conditions and characterize the cultures physiologically. You further will perform biochemical analyses on the enzymes and use molecular biological methods to generate mutants and to clone and characterize the enzymes in vitro. As Ph.D. student you will participate in research conferences and present your data to an international audience and you will publish your research results.

Competence requirements

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.

You should have a solid background in molecular biology and biochemistry.. You must have good ability to co-operate and very good skills in oral and written English. Your further have a strong motivation to learn and an ability to work in an interdisciplinary environment. Experimental skills in molecular biology and/or biochemistry on photosynthetic microorganisms are of benefit

Terms of employment

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 the equivalent of 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.


A complete application should be written in English or Swedish and contain the following documents:

  • A cover letter including a description of your research interests and motivation for applying
  • A Curriculum Vitae
  • Certified 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 our e-recruitment system no later than May 10 2021.

For more information please contact Professor Christiane Funk, +46-90-7867633, [Email Address Removed].

About us

The Department of Chemistry is one of the largest departments within the Faculty of Science and Technology with approximately 200 employees, of which approximately 40 doctoral students, and a strong and expanding research. The Department has three major research areas: Biological Chemistry, Environmental and Biogeochemistry, and Technical Chemistry. We are also a strong partner in the KBC, Chemical-Biological Center. Information about the postgraduate education can be found on the Faculty of Science and Technology website: For more information about working at Umeå University,

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