Ledig stilling ved UiT Norges arktiske universitet

PhD position on the project Nuclear roles of members of the ATG8 family of autophagy proteins

Deadline 15.04.2019

The position, research and responsibilities

At the Faculty of Health Sciences, Department of Medical Biology a PhD position has become available for applicants wishing to take a Philosophiae Doctor (PhD) degree. The position is affiliated with the Molecular Cancer Research Group. The position is available for commencement from July 1, 2019 and for a period of four years.

UiT The Arctic University of Norway

UiT – Developing the High North

UiT The Arctic University of Norway
is a multi-campus research university and the northernmost university of the world. Our central location in the High North, our broad and diverse research and study portfolio, and our interdisciplinary qualities make us uniquely suited to meet the challenges of the future. At UiT you can explore global issues from a close-up perspective.

Credibility, academic freedom, closeness, creativity and commitment shall be hallmarks of the relationship between our employees, between our employees and our students and between UiT and our partners.

The Faculty of Health Sciences

The Faculty of Health Sciences
is a national innovation which brings together a wide range of health-related education pathways. This lays the groundwork for a unique level of interdisciplinarity and innovation in health education and research. We work closely with northern services in order to find solutions for tomorrow’s challenges.

More than 200 staff members from all over the world have their workplace at the Department of Medical Biology (IMB). The department consists of 13 research groups concentrated on fundamental biomedical research problems, including research on various cancer forms, cardiovascular diseases, the body's immune system and anti-biotic resistance. The Department is also involved in marine bio-prospecting and testing of new drugs.

IMB provides education for students studying programs in medicine, dentistry, biomedical laboratory sciences, biomedicine and pharmacy.

The successful applicant is going to work on the project entitled “Nuclear roles of members of the ATG8 family of autophagy proteins “ funded by UiT - The Arctic University of Norway. The aim of this project is to elucidate the nuclear roles of LC3B and GABARAPL2. The activity of the autophagy process may be regulated by nuclear sequestration of LC3B or other ATG8s. We will test how this regulation occurs and the impact this has on the autophagy process.

ATG8 family proteins are involved in selective degradation of nuclear substrates. LC3B binds to the nuclear lamina protein lamin B1 and mediates nucleus-to-cytoplasm transport that delivers lamin B1 to the lysosome for degradation upon expression of activated RAS oncogene. This new function of autophagy acts as a guarding mechanism protecting cells from tumorigenesis. We will look for more such nuclear substrates of autophagy.

The student will in parallel analyze LC3B and GABARAPL2 in ATG8 KO cells (already made) reconstituted with WT and mutants of LC3B and GABARAPL2. Live cell imaging of tagged proteins and various established assay to monitor autophagy will be used to test candidates for nuclear substrates for selective autophagy.

The successful applicant must teach at the Department's various courses. The duties will be allocated based on the applicant's qualifications and the needs of the Department, and may include exam work, leading seminars, and leading or assisting in lab courses.

The Molecular Cancer Research Group

The position is organized within the Molecular Cancer Research Group. The group performs basic research with the main focus on selective autophagy and cell signaling. Selective autophagy is highly relevant in diseases such as cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, muscle- and heart diseases and diabetes.

We have found that at the molecular level, autophagy can act selectively through a specific interaction between p62/SQSTM1, and other recently discovered autophagy receptors, with the ATG8 family of ubiquitin-like proteins. The ATG8 family proteins are lipidated and directly bound to the forming autophagosomes. Our results suggest that p62/SQSTM1 and the related protein NBR1 are key players in selective autophagy of ubiquitinated protein aggregates. Both p62/SQSTM1 and NBR1 are involved in clearing intracellular bacteria by autophagy and implicated in selective autophagy of peroxisomes and midbodies.

Furthermore, p62/SQSTM1 is also involved in the targeted degradation by selective autophagy of damaged mitochondria (mitophagy) and of specific signaling molecules. Our studies also include other selective autophagy receptors of the SLR family and TRIM family as well as mitophagy receptors.

Specific protein-protein interactions and their functional consequences are being addressed in all projects using a set of biochemical-, cell biological- and immunological tools. Bioimaging and proteomics are important in the research strategy of the group. Our research is funded by the Norwegian Cancer Society and the Norwegian Research Council, in addition to the support we receive from UiT.


For further information about the position and project, contact Professor Terje Johansen


A requirement of the position is the completion of a relevant Master’s degree in biochemistry/molecular biology/cell biology/medical biology or Norwegian Candidate of Medicine degree or other education which has been approved as equivalent to these.

Candidates with grade C or poorer on their Master’s degree will not be considered.

Candidates who have degree in medicine and have been enrolled in the “Forskerlinje” or have submitted the 5th year assignment within a relevant field, and master students in the final phase are also eligible to apply. Hence, master/medical students in the final stages are also qualified to apply, but have to document completed degree before employment.

The successful applicants must document knowledge in molecular biology/medical biology at Master’s level. The project involves molecular methods for studying protein-protein interactions both in vitro and in mammalian cells, expression and purification of proteins from E. coli, transfection of mammalian cells, generation of knock out and knock-in cell lines using the CRISPR/CAS9 methodology, immunostaining and live cell imaging of mammalian cells using laser scanning confocal microscopy and other light microscopes.

Documented experience in the use of basal molecular biology methods, biochemical methods, immunohistochemical methods, cultivation, maintenance and transfection of mammalian cell lines and cell imaging using confocal microscopy will be evaluated as important.

Experience in standard DNA cloning, cloning using the GATEWAY system and mass spectrometry-based proteomics will be regarded as positive.

General requirements for the position

In order to be appointed to the role of Research Fellow, the eligibility requirements for the faculty’s PhD programme must be met, cf. section 6, Regulations for the Degree of Philosophiae Doctor (PhD) at the University of Tromsø, with additional provisions concerning the Faculty of Health Sciences which can be found on the website with the Regulations for the PhD programme at the Faculty of Health Sciences.

The PhD position (also called Research Fellow) is a training position which comprises complete research training working towards a doctorate degree, the objective. Acceptance onto the doctorate degree programme is a prerequisite for appointment to this position, and the study period will begin upon commencement of the employment. The PhD candidate will participate in the faculty’s research training, and the doctorate degree project will be carried out over the course of the period of employment. Information on the application process for admissions to the PhD programme and on PhD regulations can be found on the website “The Research Fellow file”.

Applicants must have a documented knowledge of English which meets the requirements as stated in the Norwegian general university and college admission requirements.

Importance shall be attached to personal suitability for the position and motivations. We are looking for persons with are structured, goal-oriented, analytical and able to communicate and collaborate with other people in the lab.


Your application must include:

  • cover letter including a short description of interests and reasons for applying for the position
  • CV containing a complete overview of education, experience, professional work, pedagogical qualifications and references
  • diploma and transcript of Bachelor’s and Master’s degree or equivalent (in original language and translated)
  • documentation of proficiency in English
  • any academic works, including the Master’s thesis
  • form for documentation of teaching qualifications, which can be found on the website with information for applicants for positions at UiT

All documentation to be assessed must be translated into English or a Scandinavian language.

Applications will only be considered if all requested application documents are received before the application deadline. Applications sent to us via e-mail or by any other means will not be considered.

Proficiency in the English language can be documented in the following ways:

  • Diploma from a Norwegian upper secondary school with both spoken and written English (140 hours)
  • TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language)
  • IELTS (International English Testing Service)
  • Completed university degree in the field of English language or literature
  • One year’s completed university studies in Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, the UK or USA, for which English was the language of instruction.


The applicants will be assessed by an expert committee. The committee’s mandate is to undertake an assessment of the applicants’ qualifications based on the application documents and the text of the announcement.

The Assessment Committee will give emphasis to the potential for research, as presented in the Master’s thesis or equivalent, or in any other academic works.

In the assessment, consideration may also be given to professional experience and any other activity which may be significant for the completion of the doctoral degree, as well as to any pedagogical qualifications. This includes pedagogical training, teaching experience, experience of public education and experience/training of other kinds.

The applicants who are assessed as best qualified will be called to an interview. The interview shall, among other things, aim to clarify the applicant’s personal suitability for the position and motivations.

We offer

  • Interesting work tasks in a cutting edge research project
  • Excellent career opportunities in a vibrant international research community
  • A structured PhD program – English speaking
  • State-of-the-art research infrastructure
  • Flexible working hours and a state collective agreement
  • Pension scheme through the state pension fund

Working and payment conditions

The remuneration for Research Fellows is in accordance with the State salary scale codes 1017 and 1378, depending on the qualifications of the former. A compulsory contribution of 2% to the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund will be deducted.

The normal period of employment is four years. The PhD studies normally equate to three years. The fourth year, apportioned as 25% of each year, shall be put towards teaching or other work tasks undertaken for the university.

Shorter periods of employment may be offered if the Research Fellow has already completed parts of the research training programme, or in the event that the employment builds upon a previous appointment in an educational position (Research Fellow, Research Assistant or similar), so that the total time of research training comes to three years.

The successful candidate is obliged to make a contribution to the teaching of all students at the Faculty of Health Sciences as and where necessary.

More practical information for working and living in Norway can be found here: Welcome to UiT!


We make the appointment in accordance with the regulations in force concerning State Employees and Civil Servants, and guidelines at UiT. At our website, you will find more information for applicants.

In addition, applicants shall also refer to the supplementary provisions for the appointment to academic positions such as Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Research Fellow and Academic Assistant at UiT, The Arctic University of Norway, and to regulations concerning terms and conditions of employment for the posts Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Research Fellow, Research Assistant and Resident, which are available on the website “The Research Fellow file”.

At UiT, The Arctic University of Norway, diversity is valued, and we therefore encourage all qualified applicants to apply regardless of their age, gender, functional ability or national or ethnic background. UiT and will emphasize making the necessary adaptations to the working conditions for employees with reduced functional ability.

We process personal data given in an application or CV in accordance with the Personal Data Act. You may request to not be registered on the public list of applicants, but the University may decide that your name will be made public. You will receive advance notification in the event of such publication.

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