Lund University, Faculty of Science, Department of Chemistry

Lund University was founded in 1666 and is repeatedly ranked among the world’s top universities. The University has around 47 000 students and more than 8 800 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.

Subject description

The proposed project “Studying neurodegeneration in humans using multidimensional diffusion-relaxation MRI” is a joint effort between Lund University (LU) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), USA. The main goal is to elucidate the relationships between microstructure, chemical composition, and function in neuronal tissue, with a focus on neurodegeneration and neuroinflammation. The candidate will develop and implement novel imaging markers based on advanced yet clinically usable MRI methods and biophysical modeling, as well as their validation and translation into clinical applications.

Work duties

The main duties of doctoral students are to devote themselves to their research studies which includes participating in research projects and third cycle courses. The work duties can also include teaching and other departmental duties (no more than 20%).

The candidate will be enrolled at LU and take part in an exclusive Graduate Partnerships Program with the NIH, under the joint mentoring of Dr. Daniel Topgaard (LU) and Dr. Dan Benjamini (NIH). After completing up to 1 year in Lund under the direct supervision of Dr. Topgaard, the candidate will spend the remainder of the time at the National Institute on Aging (NIA) in Baltimore, MD, USA, under the direct supervision of Dr. Benjamini. It is therefore a prerequisite that the applicant is prepared to live and study in the USA, within the framework of the NIH Graduate Partnerships Program (

The overall aim of this international collaboration is to advance our understanding of normative aging and aging pathology related changes in brain microstructure using state-of-the-art multidimensional diffusion-relaxation MRI building on the mentors’ recent papers Benjamini et al., Brain 144, 800 (2021) and Martin et al., Neuroimage 245, 118753 (2021). The candidate will have access to multiple preclinical MRI systems (Bruker Neo 500 MHz at LU, Bruker Avance III 400 MHz and Bruker Neo 300 MHz at NIA) and clinical MRI scanners (Siemens 3T Prisma, Philips 3T MR7700 Ingenia, and Siemens 7T Magnetom Terra at NIH).

Admission requirements

A person meets the general admission requirements for third-cycle courses and study programmes if he or she:

  • has been awarded a second-cycle qualification, or
  • has satisfied the requirements for courses comprising at least 240 credits of which at least 60 credits were awarded in the second cycle, or
  • has acquired substantially equivalent knowledge in some other way in Sweden or abroad.

A person meets the specific admission requirements for third cycle studies in Physical Chemistry if he or she has:

  • At least 45 credits at advanced level with relevance for the subject.

Additional requirements:

  • Very good oral and written proficiency in English.
  • MSc or MEng in Chemistry, Physics, or equivalent.
  • Advanced skills in Matlab or Python programming.
  • Ability to live and study in the USA, which includes meeting the requirements for relevant visas.

Assessment criteria

Selection for third-cycle studies is based on the student’s potential to profit from such studies. The assessment of potential is made primarily on the basis of academic results from the first and second cycle. Special attention is paid to the following:

  1. Knowledge and skills relevant to the thesis project and the subject of study.
  2. An assessment of ability to work independently and to formulate and tackle research problems.
  3. Written and oral communication skills
  4. Other experience relevant to the third-cycle studies, e.g. professional experience.

Other assessment criteria:.

  • Documented experience in use of magnetic resonance in research, for instance a MSc degree project thesis, is a merit.

Consideration will also be given to good collaborative skills, drive and independence, and how the applicant, through his or her experience and skills, is deemed to have the abilities necessary for successfully completing the third cycle programme.

Terms of employment

Only those admitted to third cycle studies may be appointed to a doctoral studentship. Doctoral studentships are regulated in the Higher Education Ordinance (1993:100), chapter 5, 1-7 §§. The university is obliged to make sure that funding for the candidate is secured for the entirety of the study time.

In this project, the doctoral candidate will be funded by a stipend within the framework of the NIH Graduate Partnerships Program during the time spent in the USA, while the candidate will be funded through an employment as doctoral student during the time spent at Lund University. In practice, this means that the candidate will be employed by Lund University upon admission to the studies, and then be on leave from the employment during the study time spent in the USA.

Instructions on how to apply

Applications shall be written in English and include a cover letter stating the reasons why you are interested in the position and in what way the research project corresponds to your interests and educational background. The application must also contain a CV, degree certificate or equivalent, and other documents you wish to be considered (grade transcripts, contact information for your references, letters of recommendation, etc.).

Type of employment Temporary position
First day of employment Upon agreement
Salary Monthly salary
Number of positions 1
Full-time equivalent 100
City Lund
County Skåne län
Country Sweden
Reference number PA2022/1705
  • Daniel Topgaard, +46462228204
Union representative
  • OFR/ST:Fackförbundet ST:s kansli, 046-2229362
  • SACO:Saco-s-rådet vid Lunds universitet, 046-2229364
  • SEKO: Seko Civil, 046-2229366
Published 04.May.2022
Last application date 31.Jul.2022 11:59 PM CEST

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