Lunds Universitet, Naturvetenskapliga fakulteten, Biologiska institutionen

Lund University was founded in 1666 and is repeatedly ranked among the world’s top 100 universities. The University has around 44 000 students and more than 8 000 staff based in Lund, Helsingborg and Malmö. We are united in our efforts to understand, explain and improve our world and the human condition.

Lund University welcomes applicants with diverse backgrounds and experiences. We regard gender equality and diversity as a strength and an asset.

Project description

The PhD project is part of the project “Evolution of olfaction and new targets for innovative pest insect control”, which is funded by FORMAS. The overarching project aim is, through a species-comparative approach, to investigate whether/how ecological specialization is linked to the evolution and function of insect odorant receptors. Specifically, four species of bark- and ambrosia beetles will be included in the project, and all of them are pests of conifer trees. The four species differ with respect to their symbiotic relationships with microbial fungi as well as in their reliance on pheromone compounds for selection of host trees and mates. The hypothesis is that these ecological differences have affected, or are linked to, the evolution and function of the odorant receptors. The applied aim is to identify receptors that are crucial for the ecology of these insects, which can be targeted for environmentally safe and efficient pest control.

The PhD candidate will be involved in (i) transcriptome- and (ii) genome sequencing of one or two of the species, and associated field collection of biological material. The resulting sequence data will be the basis for further (iii) identification and evolutionary analysis of the odorant receptors. (iv) The function of selected receptors will then be studied using HEK293 cells and Xenopus laevis oocytes. The functional studies and associated molecular biology work will represent the main part of the PhD project. Depending on the results from (iv), the candidate will potentially also be involved in (v) pharmacological screening of receptors to identify receptor antagonists, and related (vi) electrophysiological and (vii) field experiments to evaluate the biological effects of such substances.

Required qualifications

  • Master degree in molecular biology, or alternatively, master degree in bioinformatics or biology with significant content of molecular biology courses and practical exercises, or the equivalent.
  • High motivation and a sincere interest in this particular project is crucial.
  • Significant experience from molecular biology lab work, including PCR, molecular cloning, and DNA sequencing.
  • Ability to work as part of a group is necessary.
  • Analytical skills and interest in chemical ecology, including practical application, and evolutionary biology are required. Spoken and written English must be excellent.


  • Experience and interest in bioinformatic analyses is strongly requested.
  • Knowledge and experience from organic chemistry, GC-MS analysis and cell culturing are appreciated merits.
  • Drivers’ license (B) is requested for the planned fieldwork.

Students with basic eligibility for third-cycle studies are those who- have completed a second-cycle degree- have completed courses of at least 240 credits, of which at least 60 credits are from second-cycle courses, or- have acquired largely equivalent knowledge in some other way, in Sweden or abroad.

The employment of doctoral students is regulated in the Swedish Code of Statues 1998: 80. Only those who are or have been admitted to PhD-studies may be appointed to doctoral studentships. When an appointment to a doctoral studentship is made, the ability of the student to benefit from PhD-studies shall primarily be taken into account. In addition to devoting themselves to their studies, those appointed to doctoral studentships may be required to work with educational tasks, research and administration, in accordance with specific regulations in the ordinance.

Type of employment
Limit of tenure, four years according to HF 5 kap 7§.

Type of employment Temporary position longer than 6 months
First day of employment As soon as possible
Salary Monthly salary
Number of positions 1
Working hours 100
City Lund
County Skåne län
Country Sweden
Reference number PA2019/652
  • Martin N. Andersson, researcher, +46 46 222 93 44,
Union representative
  • OFR/ST:Fackförbundet ST:s kansli, 046-222 93 62
  • SACO:Saco-s-rådet vid Lunds universitet, 046-222 93 64
  • SEKO: Seko Civil, 046-222 93 66
Published 21.Feb.2019
Last application date 31.Mar.2019 11:59 PM CET

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