PhD in Biochemistry

Uppsala University

Application deadline

May 6, 2024

PhD in Biochemistry

Uppsala University, Department of Chemistry – BMC

PhD student in Biochemistry

Structure and dynamics of photoreceptor proteins using single-particle cryo EM.

Department of Chemistry – BMC conducts research and education in analytical chemistry, biochemistry and organic chemistry. More than 100 people, including around 45 PhD students, work at the department. New employees and students are recruited from all over the world and English is the main working language. The department is located at the Biomedical Centre in Uppsala, which facilitates collaborations with research groups in biology, pharmacy, medicine and SciLifeLab and gives access to advanced infrastructure for experimental and theoretical studies. The international environment and good opportunities for interdisciplinary collaborations enables PhD students at the department to participate in relevant research projects and prepare for an international research career. Read more about the research at The Department of Chemistry – BMC at our website.

We are looking for a PhD to study the structure of photoreceptor proteins using cryo electron microscopy (cryo EM), in particular using and developing time-resolved variants. We aim at solving the structure of receptor proteins in the microalgae Chlamydomonas reinhardtii and to introduce mutations as to change the photosynthetic activity of the algae. These will be tested in-vitro and in the algae.

You are expected to be involved in all steps of the project, i.e. to prepare, to perform, and to devise experiments and to analyze and publish the data. Depending on your background and interest the emphasis of the project will be adapted and can be placed on the method development aspects, structural, or mutational aspects. 

Tasks may include:

  • Performing and analysis of cryo EM.
  • Protein expression and purification
  • Point-mutations on proteins and in algae (optional)
  • Method development in time-resolved cryo EM
  • Identification and publication of the results
  • Scientific collaboration within and outside the group
  • Communication of the results

You will be given extensive creative space to develop the project, significant resources to produce cutting edge results, and you will profit from being part of our highly collaborative team, which strives for excellent research. You are expected to grow into an independent researcher at the end of your PhD.

The position is placed in the Westenhoff research group. The group has the goal to uncover structural dynamics of proteins and chemical reactions. The research at the interface of biology, chemistry and physics has resulted in two ERC awards and other high-profile grants, and the group continuously publishes in high impact journals. Find more information on google scholar.

The main duties of PhD students are to devote themselves to their research studies, which includes participating in research projects and third cycle courses. The work duties can also include teaching and other departmental duties (not more than 20 % of full time).


  • To be eligible for doctoral education, a basic higher education equivalent to at least 240 ECTS credits, including at least 60 ECTS credits at Master’s level, including an independent project equivalent to at least 15 credits, or has acquired substantially equivalent knowledge in some other way, more information about the general requirements can be found here.
  • A person has special eligibility for a doctoral program in biochemistry if he/she has passed examinations in courses in biochemistry (or other subjects relevant to biochemistry) comprising a total of at least 120 higher education credits or the equivalent. The courses shall comprise at least 90 credits in chemistry, including at least 45 credits in biochemistry of which at least 15 credits shall consist of a project in biochemistry. More information about the subject specific requirements can be found here.
  • Very good English proficiency in speech and writing.

Great emphasis will be placed on personal qualities such as good collaborative skills, motivation and independence, as well as how the applicant through his/her experience and competence is judged to have the abilities necessary to develop within and acquire the doctoral education.

Additional qualifications

We are looking for a highly driven person, who shows clear signs to perform research work independently and can work effectively in a team. Primarily, we are looking for a biochemist, structural biologist, biophysicist, or other backgrounds if your curriculum contains a strong chemistry component.

PhD students at the department are typically engaged in teaching at BSc and MSc level. Prior experience from teaching/mentoring, also from non-academic contexts, and outreach can therefore be considered a merit.

Rules governing PhD students are set out in the Higher Education Ordinance chapter 5, §§ 1-7 and in Uppsala University’s rules and guidelines.

About the employment

The employment is a temporary position according to the Higher Education Ordinance chapter 5 § 7. Scope of employment 100 %. Starting date 2024-07-01 or as agreed. Placement: Uppsala

For further information about the position, please contact: Professor, Sebastian Westenhoff,, +46 72 469 72 67

Please submit your application by 6 May 2024, UFV-PA 2024/1275.

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Last updated: 2024-04-16

Content Responsible: Hampus Persson(