Postdoctoral Researcher for Translational Immunology Research Program – University of Helsinki



About the job

Eliisa Kekäläinen’s research group “Inborn and acquired immunodeficiencies” at the Translational Immunology Research Program at University of Helsinki, Faculty of Medicine invites applications for the position of


Our research group focuses on the human thymus which produces key immune cells, the T cells. We 1) evaluate and develop methods to better measure thymopoiesis, 2) study how thymopoiesis and the thymus itself is affected by viral infections, and 3) aim to understand how and why certain autoimmune diseases, such as myasthenia gravis, develops. We use thymic tissue samples from both immunologically healthy individuals and patients with cutting edge techniques including thymic organ cultures and different multi-dimensional single-cell methods to dissect the normal and pathological processes in the thymus. We are seeking for a motivated post-doctoral researcher to work on Research Council of Finland – funded project.


Applicants with a doctoral degree and strong background in immunology or other relevant life science fields who are interested in working in an inter-disciplinary environment are particularly encouraged to apply. Applicant must be able to work independently and have good communication skills in English. The chosen applicant is expected to reside in Finland while employed by the University of Helsinki.

The person we are looking for has:

  • effective communication and collaboration skills
  • proven track record in designing and executing experimental science
  • motivation and determination to learn (more) immunology

Furthermore, if you have experience with the topics below, we would love to hear about your

  • supervision experience
  • working with tissue samples or organoid cultures
  • experience in flow cytometry, single-cell omics, CRISPR-Cas or immunohistochemistry

What We Offer

The appointment will be initially for two years starting from January 2024 (possibility to start earlier or later if needed). Trial period of six months will be applied. The monthly gross salary will be appr. 3200-3600 € per month depending on the appointee’s qualifications and experience. In addition, University of Helsinki offers comprehensive services to its employees, including occupational health care and opportunities for professional development. Applicants of any gender, linguistic and cultural background or from members of minority groups are welcomed. You can read more about working at the university on our website .

We offer you on top of these benefits an opportunity to explore and learn in a team that shares a passion for immunology. The team’s well-being is top priority in our laboratory.

How To Apply

Please submit your application as a single PDF file containing your CV, a publication list where you describe your own role in the publications that you consider the most relevant for the position, and two letters of reference. The application will be submitted through the University’s electronic recruitment system by clicking “Apply now” link. Applicants who are currently employed by the University of Helsinki are requested to submit their application via the SAP Fiori portal at https://msap.sap.helsinki.fi. The deadline for applications is 30 October 2023. Applications will be considered on a rolling basis until a suitable candidate is found.

For further information on the position, please contact Eliisa Kekäläinen (eliisa.kekalainen(at) helsinki.fi).

For information on the recruitment process, please contact HR Specialist Marja Meresto (hr-ltdk (at) helsinki.fi).

Selected publications from Kekäläinen lab:

Hetemäki I, Kaustio M, Kinnunen M, Heikkilä N, Keskitalo S, Nowlan K, Miettinen S, Sarkkinen J, Glumoff V, Andersson N, Kettunen K, Vanhanen R, Nurmi K, Eklund KK, Dunkel J, Mäyränpää MI, Schlums H, Arstila TP, Kisand K, Bryceson YT, Peterson P, Otava U, Syrjänen J, Saarela J, Varjosalo M, Kekäläinen E. Loss-of-function mutation in IKZF2 leads to immunodeficiency with dysregulated germinal center reactions and reduction of MAIT cells. Sci Immunol. 2021 Nov 26;6(65):eabe3454. doi: 10.1126/sciimmunol.abe3454.

Sarkkinen J, Dunkel J, Tuulasvaara A, Huuskonen A, Atula S, Kekäläinen E, Laakso SM. Ectopic germinal centers in the thymus accurately predict prognosis of myasthenia gravis after thymectomy. Mod Pathol. 2022 Sep;35(9):1168-1174. doi: 10.1038/s41379-022-01070-2.

Kleino I, Nowlan K, Kotimaa J, Kekäläinen E. Optimising protein detection with fixable custom oligo-labelled antibodies for single-cell multi-omics approaches. Biotechnol J. 2022 Jun;17(6):e2100213. doi: 10.1002/biot.202100213.

Nguyen NA, Huang X, Cabrera LE, Pekkarinen PT, Nowlan K, Strandin T, Kantele A, Vapalahti O, Heinonen S, Kekäläinen E. A comprehensive assessment of four whole blood stabilizers for flow-cytometric analysis of leukocyte populations. Cytometry A. 2023 Apr;103(4):313-324. doi: 10.1002/cyto.a.24700. Epub 2022 Nov 1. PMID: 36279192.

Lusila P, Toivonen A, Jarva H, Vettenranta K, Lehtimäki S, Kekäläinen E. FASCIA Method in the Assessment of Lymphocyte Mitogen Responses in the Laboratory Diagnostics of Primary Immunodeficiencies. J Clin Immunol. 2023 Apr;43(3):653-661. doi: 10.1007/s10875-022-01417-z.

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