Doctoral Student In Natural Science, Specialising In Biology

Göteborg University
April 17, 2023
Offerd Salary:Negotiation
Working address:N/A
Contract Type:Other
Working Time:Full time
Working type:N/A
Ref info:N/A

The University of Gothenburg tackles society's challenges with diverse knowledge. 56 000 students and 6 600 employees make the university a large and inspiring place to work and study. Strong research and attractive study programmes attract scientists and students from around the world. With new knowledge and new perspectives, the University contributes to a better future.

Doctoral position in Natural Science, specialising in Biology

At the Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences (BioEnv) we have teaching and research activities that stretch from the alpine ecosystem, through forests, cultivated land and streams, all the way into the marine environment. In these environments we study different levels of biological organisation from genes, individuals and populations, to communities and ecosystems. We work within ecology, evolution, physiology, systematics and combinations of these fields in order to understand the impact of natural and anthropogenic changes of the environment.

The department is placed at three different localities: in Gothenburg Botanical garden, at Medicinarberget in Gothenburg and Kristineberg Marine Research Station. The current position is placed at Medicinarberget

General information about being a doctoral student at the University of Gothenburg can be found on the university's doctoral student pages.

https: //

Project description

Investigating the mechanisms of motivational states in zebrafish Danio rerio

Motivational or emotional states can have a profound impact upon behavioural decisions and physiological responses. Although the fundamental mechanisms have been well studied in mammals we have relatively little information on the mechanisms of emotional states in fish. Further, the understanding how different motivational states affect concurrent states requires an in depth analysis of the interplay between pain fear and stress from changes in gene expression, stress physiology and performance of behaviour. Using a model species, the zebrafish, this project aims to investigate the impact of pain, fear and stress on the neurobiological and physiological responses during these important motivational drivers of strategic behavioural decision making. The project will explore the following objectives:

  • A comparison between stress-induced analgesia to drug-induced analgesia in individual and group-housed zebrafish using genomics, in situ hybridization and stress physiology
  • Investigate the interplay of pain and fear on molecular, physiological and behavioural responses in zebrafish
  • Exploring the neurobiological and physiological mechanisms of emotional contagion and the metabolic costs of pain, fear and stress
  • The doctoral student will be situated at the Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences under the supervision of Dr Lynne Sneddon, Dr Jonathan Roques and in collaboration with Dr Marco Vindas (Department of Preclinical Sciences and Pathology, Norwegian University of Life Sciences). Therefore, the position will involve a short visit to Norway to conduct the genomic analyses. The project is largely experimental using techniques in genomics, in situ hybridization, stress physiology and animal behavior in a laboratory setting.


    The main task is to conduct the PhD thesis work under supervision, which includes development of the doctoral student's methodology experience, analytical skills, and theoretical depth and breadth. Techniques used within the project include genomics, molecular biology, physiology, neuroanatomy and behaviour. The studies will be conducted mostly as laboratory studies. Shorter periods may also be spent as laboratory work with collaborators abroad. Specific research topics associated with the research project include the mechanisms of behavioural states and the interplay of pain, fear and stress using zebrafish as a model.

    Education at third-cycle level comprises four years of full-time study, and leads to a doctoral degree.

    As part of your employment as a doctoral student, you may have departmental duties corresponding to up to 20 % of full-time employment, distributed throughout your study period. Departmental duties usually consist of teaching at first- and second-cycle levels, but may also include research and administration.


    Education at third-cycle level requires general eligibility and, where appropriate, specific eligibility as set out in the general syllabus for the subject.

    The general eligibility requirements for education at third-cycle level are:

  • having completed a degree at second-cycle level, or 2. the fulfilment of course requirements totalling at least 240 credits, of which at least 60 credits must be at second-cycle level, or
  • the acquisition of equivalent knowledge in some other way, either in Sweden or abroad.

    To meet the specific entry requirements for third-cycle studies, applicants must:

  • have a second-cycle (advanced-level) degree in a relevant subject area in the natural sciences, or
  • have completed studies for at least 60 higher education credits at a second-cycle level in relevant subject areas in the natural sciences, or
  • have completed a corresponding programme of relevance to the planned third-cycle programme, in Sweden or in another country, or have equivalent qualifications.
  • Relevant subjects for the planned third-cycle education are one of animal behavior, neurobiology, molecular biology or physiology.

    Assessment criteria

    The selection of applicants who meet the basic and specific eligibility requirements will be based on the ability to assimilate the education at third-cycle level.

    We are seeking a motivated person for doctoral studies in animal biology with emphasis on behavior and welfare, neurobiology and stress physiology.

    The candidate should have a Masters level degree (or equivalent) in a relevant subject area and have experience in one of the following techniques: animal behavior, molecular biology, physiology or neuroanatomy. The ability to solve problems using your own initiative as well as working well within a team are essential.

    Excellent communication skills, written and spoken, in English are necessary since we work in an international environment.

    Experience in the planned techniques, as well as experience in fish models is an advantage. Evidence of previous research experience should be provided if available, for example, conference attendance, grant funding and publications.

    Interests or experience within one or more of the following fields is an advantage: neurobiology, physiology or animal behavior. Experience of behavioural, neuroanatomical or physiological techniques is desirable but full training will be given.

    Knowledge in zebrafish husbandry and breeding is a merit.

    The application should preferably be written in English and must include:

  • A short cover letter with the applicant's justification for the application, i.e., that describes how the applicant meets the selection criteria
  • An attested list of qualifications (CV)
  • Examination certificates and a transcript of courses with grades
  • A copy of the Master thesis (or equivalent)
  • Employments certificates and other documents deemed important by the applicant
  • Names and emails addresses of two referees
  • The top ranked candidates will be selected for an interview, which might be held in English and could also be performed by phone /Zoom.


    Once you have been admitted for education at third-cycle level, you will be employed as a doctoral student at the University of Gothenburg.

    The provisions for employment as a doctoral student can be found in ordinance SFS 1993:100.

    Initial employment as a doctoral student may apply for a maximum of one year, and may be renewed by a maximum of two years at a time.

    A doctoral student may be employed as a doctoral student for a maximum of eight years, but the total period of employment may not be longer than the equivalent of full-time education at third-cycle level for four years.

    Location: Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences.

    Extent: 100%.

    First day of employment: upon agreement.

    The University applies a local agreement on salaries for doctoral students.

    Contact information

    Dr Lynne U. Sneddon, Senior Lecturer Phone: +46 (0) 766183607 Email: [email protected]

    Åsa Arrhenius, Head of Department Phone: +46 31 786 2625 Email: [email protected]


    Union representatives at the University of Gothenburg can be found here: https: // www.


    You can apply to be admitted for education at third-cycle level via the University of Gothenburg's recruitment portal.

    It is your responsibility to ensure that the application is complete as per the vacancy notice, and that the University receives it by the final application deadline.

    Applications must be received by: April 17th, 2023

    Information for International Applicants

    Choosing a career in a foreign country is a big step. Thus, to give you a general idea of what we and Gothenburg have to offer in terms of benefits and life in general for you and your family/spouse/partner please visit:

    https: // www. https: // www.

    The University works actively to achieve a working environment with equal conditions, and values the qualities that diversity brings to its operations.

    Salaries are set individually at the University.

    In accordance with the National Archives of Sweden's regulations, the University must archive application documents for two years after the appointment is filled. If you request that your documents are returned, they will be returned to you once the two years have passed. Otherwise, they will be destroyed.

    In connection to this recruitment, we have already decided which recruitment channels we should use. We therefore decline further contact with vendors, recruitment and staffing companies.

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