Doctoral Position in NMR-based Structural Biology

University of Gothenburg
September 20 2017
Position Type
Full Time
Organization Type

Diary id: PAR 2017/1098

Employment level: Time limited employment (temporary)

Location: Department of Chemistry and Molecular Biology

Apply by: 2017-10-15

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. Much of the phenomena studied here impact on our natural environment and living systems. 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 group of Björn Burmann uses 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 transcription-coupled repair, whose malfunction, within these essential repair machineries leads to cell death and diseases like skin cancer in the related eukaryotic systems. Results of previous studies into transcription regulation at the atomic level have been published in top journals (Burmann et al. Science 2010/Burmann et al. Cell 2012). More details on our research can be found at: (

Job assignments

The PhD project, financed by the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation, aims at advancing our molecular understanding of the function and regulation of transcription-coupled DNA-repair at the atomic level by advanced NMR-spectroscopy. Malfunction of this important DNA repair machinery leads to the accumulation of DNA errors in the respective cells, which subsequently can provide the foundation for cell death in bacteria.

Specifically, the student will study (1) the molecular mechanisms by which important repair initiation factors are recruited to the RNA-polymerase (2) how these proteins recognize the damaged DNA-site, and (3) how these proteins subsequently recruit the whole DNA repair machinery. The PhD student will be exposed to a broad range of scientific tasks and research questions that require a genuine interest in and knowledge of a multitude of scientific aspects 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 programs 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 a talented and dedicated student 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 student will be exposed to a broad spectrum of scientific tasks as well as questions related to the project and in turn a genuine interest in as well as knowledge of biochemistry and structural biology is mandatory. Educational courses and other previous experience with protein expression and purification of nucleic acid interacting proteins, expression and handling of nucleic acids (DNA and RNA), isotope-labeling for NMR studies, 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: 1st November, or as agreed

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 doctoral studies. University applies local agreement on salaries of graduate students.

For further information regarding the position

Björn Burmann, Ass. Professor, +46 (0) 31 786-3921,

Göran Hilmersson, Head of Department +46 (0) 31-786 9022,

Martin Billeter, Director of third cycle education, +46(0) 31-786 3925,

Helena Bergkvist, Human Resources Administrator +46 (0) 31-786 9116,


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.

The application shall include:

Cover letter with an explanation of why you apply for the position

CV including scientific publications

Copy of exam certificate

Two referees (name, telephone no, relation)

The application is to be written in English.

Closing date: October 15 2015


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.


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