Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology

The Department of Chemistry is opening a PhD position in Chemistry with a specialization in structural biology. The thesis project will focus on assembly mechanisms of human pathogenic viruses. The project involves training in state-of-the-art cryogenic electron microscopy (cryo-EM) data collection and processing. The PhD student will also learn how to prepare challenging samples and characterize these with biochemical, biophysical, and functional assays. The position is for four years of doctoral studies, including participation in research and postgraduate courses. The last day to apply is 3rd June 2024. Starting date is according to agreement.

Project description and tasks

Viruses belonging to the Pneumoviridae family are the predominant cause of acute lower respiratory infections (ALRIs) in young children. A thorough comprehension of viral structure is crucial to understand the molecular basis of viral replicative cycles and to inform on the rational development of therapeutics.

In your PhD studies, you will carry out research aimed at dissecting how virus particles assemble. You will characterize multi-component complexes involved in the assembly of viruses from the family Pneumoviridae and compare these to related viral families. Using a multi-modal structural biology and biophysics approach you will analyze structure and dynamics of these complexes to dissect the steps of viral assembly. You will employ both reduced in vitro systems to gain high resolution information, as well as large assemblies to gain ultrastructural insight. You will be provided opportunities to learn operation of cryogenic electron microscopes, 3D structure refinement, and model refinement. You will characterize interactions of viral proteins with lipids and their crosstalk with other binding events. The results of the project will provide a significant advance in our understanding of how virus building blocks come together to produce pathogenic progeny.


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.

Additional required qualifications are:

Experience in infection biology.

Knowledge and experience in biochemistry and structural biology within experimental biochemistry and molecular biology (e.g., cloning, protein expression, protein purification, cell culture).

Good oral and written proficiency in English.

Merits are:

Experience with Linux and/or python as well as/or prior virology experience.

To be able to take on the project and a four-year doctoral education, you need to be creative with good problem-solving skills. Important prerequisites are also that you have a deep interest in infection biology, enjoy basic calculations and have the ability to work both independently and in a team towards common goals. Our research group is characterized by mutual respect and helpfulness.

About the employment

The position is intended to result in a doctoral degree. The main task of the PhD student is to pursue their doctoral studies, including participation in research and doctoral courses. The duties can include teaching and other departmental work (up to 20%). The employment is limited to the equivalent of four years of full-time (48 months) or up to five years for teaching part-time. Salary is set in accordance with the established salary levels for PhD positions. The employment starts as soon as possible  or according to agreement.

As employees at Umeå University PhD students are granted social benefits such as parental leave, holiday leave, and occupational health services. Read more about the benefits of being an employee at Umeå University here:


You apply via our e-recruitment system Varbi. Log in and apply via the button at the bottom of the page. The deadline for applications is 3rd June 2024.

The application, written in English or Swedish, should include:

  • a personal letter with a brief description of why you are applying for the position, and how your qualifications and research interests are relevant to the doctoral project described above (no more than 2 pages),
  • a curriculum vitae,
  • copies of degree certificates, diplomas or equivalent, including documentation of completed academic courses, grades obtained, and other certificates of relevance to the described project,
  • copies of student theses on advance level or other publications (no more than 5)
  • contact information for at least two reference persons.

Further information

Further information is provided by associate professor Max Renner,

Welcome with your application!

About us

The Department of Chemistry is one of the largest departments within the Faculty of Science and Technology with approximately 200 employees and strong and expanding research. The Department has four major research areas: Biological Chemistry, IBEAM, Organic chemistry 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,


Type of employment Temporary position
Contract type Full time
First day of employment Enligt överenskommelse
Salary Månadslön
Number of positions 1
Full-time equivalent 100
City Umeå
County Västerbottens län
Country Sweden
Reference number AN 2.2.1-466-24
  • Max Renner, 0907865000
Union representative
  • SACO, 090-7865365
  • SEKO, 090-7865296
  • ST, 090-7865431
Published 20.Mar.2024
Last application date 03.Jun.2024 11:59 PM CEST
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