The University of Helsinki is among the leading multidisciplinary research universities in the world. In addition to its 11 faculties, the University includes several independent institutes, some of which are jointly operated with other universities. Over 30,000 students are pursuing an undergraduate or a postgraduate degree at the University of Helsinki.

The Department of Veterinary Biosciences performs research in anatomy, developmental biology, biochemistry, physiology, genetics, microbiology, pathology and epidemiology, and gives education in these fields. The department is known for research on host-microbe interactions, and hosts one of the leading laboratories in the research of the development of the bovine immune system. We are located at the Viikki Campus, which is one of the largest centers of biosciences research and education in Europe.

The Faculty of Veterinary Medicine invites applications for the position of a


for a fixed period, starting as soon as possible, but preferably latest by 2 January 2018. The employmentship is until the end of 2019 for a doctoral student or approximately 18 months for a postdoctoral researcher. The research project has existing funding until the end of 2019. Further funding is being applied.

The position is at the Department of Veterinary Biosciences, in a research project investigating the prenatal microbiota and its interactions with the developing intestinal immune system. The mammalian fetus has traditionally been thought to develop in a sterile uterine environment. Recent research indicates that the maternal microbiota influences the fetus and may be essential for the proper development of the immune system. It is however not yet known whether live microbes exist in the fetus and what is the actual physiological significance of the prenatal host-microbe interactions. We study cattle and other domestic species in which the intestinal microbiota is especially interesting and important, and in which it can be studied more thoroughly than in humans. We are currently in the process of publishing the first results of the project.

The duties of a doctoral candidate are to work on her/his own doctoral thesis in the research project and to complete her/his postgraduate studies. The duties of a postdoctoral researcher are to perform research in the project and to participate in the supervision of students and in funding applications. The duties can include also teaching and other tasks. Teaching tasks can account for up to 5 % of the annual working time. The duties also include presentation of research results in international conferences and preparation of scientific publications.

A versatile array of research methods is used in the project. We isolate microbes from tissue and meconium samples and study them using molecular biology, bioinformatics and traditional microbiological methods. We investigate the developing immune system by immunostaining of tissue sections, gene expression analyses and flow cytometry.

The appointee must hold a suitable second-cycle degree (e.g. master’s degree or equivalent; PhD for the postdoctoral researcher) and demonstrate ability and motivation to perform scientific research. Prior knowledge of modern methods in microbiology (especially in the culture of intestinal microbes or other anaerobes), immunology, molecular biology and bioinformatics as well as a driver’s license are a bonus, but your most important assets are enthusiasm for research, motivation to learn new skills and knowledge, and ability to work independently as an active member of a research team.

The appointee for a doctoral student position must obtain the right to pursue a doctoral degree at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of the University of Helsinki and approval by a suitable doctoral programme by the end of the probationary period. The appointee prepares the research plan and other necessary documents for these applications in collaboration with the project leader. More information about the application process:

The University of Helsinki offers a salary dependent on qualifications and work experience. The salary is based on levels 2–4 (doctoral candidate) or 5 (postdoctoral researcher) of the job requirement scheme for teaching and research personnel in the salary system of Finnish universities. In addition, the appointee shall be paid a salary component based on personal work performance. In total, the monthly salary will be between 2 100–3 100 € (doctoral student) or 3 100–3 600 € (postdoctoral researcher), depending on qualifications and experience. The doctoral student may be hired as a research assistant until admission to a doctoral programme; the salary will be similar to a doctoral student position. The appointment starts with a probationary period.

The application should include the following attachments:

  • Application letter describing your interest in scientific research and in this position, prior expertise in the field of research, and names and contact information of 1-2 references
  • Curriculum vitae, with possible scientific publications
  • Copy of your diploma(s) and transcript records (= printout of the courses you’ve completed during your studies).

Please submit your application, together with the required attachments, through the University of Helsinki Recruitment System via the Apply Link. Applicants who are employees of the University of Helsinki are requested to leave their application via the SAP HR portal.

For additional information, please contact project leader Mikael Niku: mikael.niku(at), +35850519159.

Additional information on our ongoing research projects:

Further information about the recruitment system can be obtained from HR Specialist Heidi Kauppinen,, p. +358504155341. For possible technical support with the recruitment system, please contact:

Ap­ply link

Due date

Sunday, November 5, 2017

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