Postdoctoral Fellow in molecular cell biology studying selective autophagy at UiT the Arctic University of Norway

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Postdoctoral Fellow in molecular cell biology studying selective autophagy at UiT the Arctic University of Norway

At the Faculty of Health Sciences, the Department of Medical Biology, a position has become available for a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in molecular cell biology. The position is affiliated with the Molecular Cancer Research Group.

This Postdoctoral position is a fixed term position of a duration of three years. Appointment to the position of Postdoctoral Research Fellow is mainly intended to provide qualification for work in top academic positions. It is a prerequisite that the applicant be able to carry out the project over the full course of the employment period. No one person may hold more than one fixed-term position as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the same institution.

More than 200 staff members from all over the world have their workplace at the Department of Medical Biology (IMB). The department consists of 11 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 position belongs the Molecular Cancer Research Group (see http:\\\autophagy). The group performs basic research with the main focus on selective autophagy and cell signalling. 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 signalling molecules. Our studies also include other selective autophagy receptors of the SLR family and TRIM family as well as mitophagy receptors, including FKBP8 which we recently discovered could act as a mitophagy receptor together with LC3A.

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.

The contact person for this position is Professor Terje Johansen; E-mail: Phone +47 77644720.

Responsibilities/Research project

The successful candidate will work on the Top research project funded by the Research Council of Norway and the University of Tromsø entitled «Autophagy-regulated Signalosomes in Cellular Stress

and Disease Pathways». The selective autophagy receptors p62/SQSTM1 and NBR1 are involved in the formation and degradation of structures visible as round bodies in the cytoplasm by immunofluorescence microscopy. Cellular stress, including oxidative stress, viral and bacterial infection and inflammatory processes, is strongly associated with the formation of such “stress bodies”, also often called p62 bodies or ALIS (Aggresome-Like-Induced Structures). Our hypothesis is that several signaling pathways may converge on the selective autophagy receptors, mobilizing them for stress body formation followed by degradation. Elucidation of factors intrinsic to p62 and other selective autophagy receptors, as well as other proteins and post-translational modifications required to orchestrate the formation of p62 bodies or signalosomes and their roles in various signaling complexes is central to the project. Design of unbiased screens to discover required components for the formation of the signalosomes will be part of the project work.

The position can/will additionally be assigned to teaching and related work for UiT in an amount equivalent to a maximum of 10 % of a full-time employment.

Required qualifications

To be awarded the position of Postdoctoral Research Fellow, a Norwegian doctorate degree in the fields of molecular cell biology, biochemistry or cell biology is required, or a corresponding international doctorate degree (PhD) which is recognized as being equal to the Norwegian doctorate degree.

The successful applicants must document knowledge in molecular biology/medical biology at PhD level. Documented knowledge of and experience in autophagy research will be regarded as positive, but is not mandatory. 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 microscopy techniques. Experience with electron microscopy is also advantageous. Documented experience in the use of basic 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 or other cloning techniques will be regarded as positive. Experience in mass spectrometry-based proteomics and/or other technology relevant for autophagy studies including various screening approaches such as siRNA or CRISPR screens and chemical screens will be regarded as positive. Personal suitability and motivation will be given substantial consideration by the committee. We are looking for a person that is structured, goal-oriented, analytical and able to communicate and collaborate with other people in the team.

Teaching experience will be regarded as positive.

Applicants must be fluent in English in both spoken and written form.

Importance shall be attached to personal suitability for the position and motivations.

We can offer

  • Interesting work tasks
  • A good academic environment with dedicated colleagues
  • Good career opportunities
  • A large degree of independence in work
  • Flexible working hours and a state collective agreement
  • Pension scheme through the state pension fund

Working conditions

Working hours will be set aside for research, research-related activities and research administration.

The successful candidate must also be willing to get involved in the ongoing development of their department and the university as a whole.

The remuneration for this position is in accordance with the State salary scale code 1352 A compulsory contribution of 2 % to the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund will be deducted.

Applications shall be sent electronically via and shall include:

  • cover letter including a short description of interests and reasons for applying for the position
  • research project, where relevant
  • CV containing a complete overview of education, experience, professional work and references
  • Diplomas and certificates:
  • diploma and transcript of Bachelor’s degree or equivalent (in original language and translated)
  • diploma and transcript of Master’s degree or equivalent (in original language and translated)
  • diploma and transcript of PhD
  • form for documentation of teaching qualifications (where the position involves teaching)
  • list of academic works
  • up to 15 academic works. The doctoral thesis is here counted as one work
  • description of the attached works, and a short description of other works to show breadth of output.

Applications will only be considered if all requested application documents are received before the application deadline.

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

Applications sent to us via e-mail or by any other means will not be considered.


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 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.

UiT is seeking to increase the proportion of women in its academic positions. If two or more applicants are found to be generally equally qualified, the university will prioritise a female over a male candidate.


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”.

Questions concerning the organisation of the working environment, including that of the physical state of the workplace, health services and possibilities for flexible working hours, part-time work, etc. may be addressed to the telephone reference in this announcement.

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. The university is an IW employer and places importance on making the necessary adaptations to working conditions for employees with disabilities.

Personal information given in an application and CV will be treated in accordance with the Act relating to the processing of personal data (the Personal Data Act). In accordance with section 25, subsection 2 of the Freedom of Information Act, the applicant may request not to be registered on the public list of applicants. However, the university may nevertheless decide to make the candidate’s name public. The applicant will receive advance notification of any such publication.

We look forward to receiving your application!

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