PhD student position in structural biology at the University of Oulu


The University of Oulu in Northern Finland, with approximately 14,000 students and 3,000 employees, is an international, multidisciplinary research university with a rich pool of creative and intellectual talent. The strengths of the University include broad, multidisciplinary research interests, a modern research and study environment, and wide cooperation with international research and educational institutes (http://www.oulu.fi/university/).

An open PhD student position is available in the field of structural biology of extracellular matrix proteins in the research group of Prof Lloyd Ruddock (http://www.oulu.fi/biocenter/groups/ruddock). Focus of the project is structural and functional studies of basement membrane proteins. The project includes structural biology and protein-protein interaction studies.

The position is located at the Faculty of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine (FBMM) (http://www.oulu.fi/fbmm/), whose mission is to perform internationally significant research and to deliver high-level undergraduate and postgraduate education in the fields of biochemistry and molecular medicine. The Faculty’s research focus areas are cell-extracellular matrix, protein science and cellular regulatory and metabolic networks and related diseases. Research at the Faculty is carried out in 14 research groups. The Faculty has ~200 employees, and approximately half of them are from abroad. Together with Biocenter Oulu (http://www.oulu.fi/biocenter/), the Faculty has put a great effort towards building a cutting-edge research infrastructure that includes state-of-the-art instrumentation for imaging, gene-modified mice, X-ray crystallography, and quantitative biochemistry. The Faculty has extensive collaborative national and international networks including Biocenter Finland and the ESFRI projects Instruct, EuroBioimaging, and Infrafrontier. We also partner in EU-Biostruct-X and Marie Curie Renaltract ITN and organize EMBO workshops and international symposia. The research group has well-established international collaborative networks and frequent access to synchrotron radiation.

Subject field and description of the position

Basement membranes (BM) are complex networks, comprising many essential and often large multi-domain proteins. BM are involved in embryo development, tissue homeostasis and in a wide range of disease states including tumour angiogenesis, fibrosis, nervous system injury etc. BM proteins are poorly studied at the structural level. This lack of structural data inhibits not only our understanding of the normal physiology of BM, but also our understanding of the pathology of a wide range of disease states and our ability monitor disease progression and to make rationale interventions to halt or reverse symptoms of the disease, including cell-based therapy. The research focus for the position will be structural and functional studies of BM proteins.

The details of the research project will be mutually agreed upon, based on the qualifications, interests, and expertise of the candidate.

The position is funded by the Academy of Finland. The duration of the PhD studies is 4 years and the funded position ends on August 31, 2022. After this, funding will be jointly applied to extend the contract. The starting date is May 1, 2019, or as soon as possible thereafter.

Required Qualifications and assessment

The successful applicant must hold a MSc degree biochemistry, or a related field. Candidates who have completed required courses and whose MSc thesis will be submitted by May 1st 2019 will also be eligible (thesis submission must be confirmed by the faculty/department). The thesis must be graded before the work contract can start.

·         The applicant must fulfill the criteria for admission to UniOGS: http://www.oulu.fi/uniogs/requirements_for_admission.

·         Fluent oral and written English skills as well as good communication and teamwork skills are required.

·         As part of the FBMM, duties may also include supervising scientific research of BSc, and MSc students. Participation in teaching within the faculty curriculum is expected.

·         A four-month trial period will be effective in the beginning of the contract.


The salary is in accordance with the University salary system (for teaching and research personnel) levels 2-4. In addition, there is a share increase at most, 50% of the base salary, which is based on personal achievements and performance. The salary is in practice roughly 2,300 – 3,100 € / month, depending on qualifications, performance, and progress of the PhD studies.

Application Procedure

The following documents must be attached to the application (in English):

1) Curriculum vitae with the names and contact details of at least 2 referees

2) Brief description of research merits, experience and motivation

3) Copies of the MSc certificate and transcript

Applications, together with all relevant enclosures, must be submitted using the electronic application system by 11.3.2019. Applications sent by email will not be considered. (https://rekry.saima.fi/certiahome/open_job_view.html?did=5600&jc=1&id=00006877&lang=en).


The top candidates for the post may be interviewed and asked to present their scientific work and experience.

For further information regarding the filling of this post:

Prof Lloyd Ruddock, group leader, email: lloyd.ruddock(at)oulu.fi

Tiina Hurskainen, HR manager, email: tiina.hurskainen(at)oulu.fi