Postdoc to do 3D Cryo-EM of spermtails

Ref PAR 2022/1392

The University of Gothenburg tackles society’s challenges with diverse knowledge. 56 000 students and 6 600 employees make the university a large and inspiring place to work and study. Strong research and attractive study programmes attract scientists and students from around the world. With new knowledge and new perspectives, the University contributes to a better future.

The Department of Chemistry and Molecular Biology conducts high-quality research and education in chemical sciences and molecular life sciences. Our research and education focuses on a deep understanding of chemical and biological processes in cells and in the environment. We address important societal issues such as antibiotic resistance, cancer, brain diseases, environmental problems and climate change. In this way, we contribute to achieving the UN's global goals for sustainable development in the areas of good health and well-being, sustainable energy for all, sustainable cities and communities, and combating climate change. The department is an international environment with interdisciplinary collaborations in both research and education, and contributes strongly to the University of Gothenburg's top ranking in life science. The department is responsible for postgraduate education in the subject area Natural Sciences with a focus on chemistry, biophysics, biology and educational science. In addition, the department hosts educational programs in molecular biology, genomics and systems biology, chemistry, organic chemistry and pharmaceutical chemistry, as well as prescription education. The department collaborates with various societal actors such as schools, business and authorities. The Department of Chemistry and Molecular Biology has around 200 employees. We are located in central premises both on Campus Johanneberg and on Campus Medicinareberget in Gothenburg. 

The successful postdoc candidate will study the 3D architecture of eukaryotic flagella with (cryo-) electron tomography and single particle analysis. Almost all human cells have a flagellum or a cilium, but most research are being done on protist model organisms. We do not know how well these model organisms represent the human ciliary structure. Mutations in flagellar function causes a row of diseases, such as male and female infertility, recurrent pulmonary infections and situs inversus. Johanna Hoog’s research group focuses on cryo-electron microscopy and tomography. We use these techniques to study the cytoskeleton, in particular the microtubules and their role in cellular motility. This research is in the area where cell/structural biology meets medicine. Therefore, we collaborate with both our division “Biochemistry and Structural Biology”, the Division for Cell and Molecular Biology and the Sahlgrenska Academy. The environment is very international and we have an electron microscope on which we do screening before travelling to acquire 3D data at a facility (using both tomography and single particle approaches)


During the first 6 years of our research group we have established a new research focus on human sperm tails as a model system to understand human ciliary structure and function. See previous publications in Scientific Reports:, FEBS Letters and PNAS The successful applicant would research the following questions:

  • What differs in the structure between a functional and dysfunctional ciliary structure? We collaborate with a fertility clinic to receive sperm cells with abnormal swimming patterns.
  • Is sperm tail structure representative for human ciliary structure or does it differ within the same organism? We will compare the structure found in spermatozoa to that found in nasal or oviduct tissue.

The project will contain a lot of different light and electron microscopic imaging methods. We will also use biochemistry, such as protein purification followed by imaging of the purified proteins with cryo-electron microscopy. Images and tomograms will be treated digitally (e.g. to build 3D models of flagella and macromolecular complexes within them. This process/analysis will constitute a large part of the job assignments. The PhD student should also read and write scientific publications and present research results at national and international conferences and seminar series. The successful candidate is also expected to apply to research grant to gain merit for their next step in their careers. 


The applicant should have a PhD in cellular, molecular or structural biology or equivalent. When selecting between applicants who meet the entry requirements the assessment shall attach particular importance to documented qualifications for:

  • Academic and scientific excellence are the primary assessment criteria.
  • Science is mostly communicated in English and fluency in this language is a must.
  • Ability to work well in a team is critical for a successful application.

The application should contain a cover letter, university grades, PhD certificate and contact details to at least two references (of which one should be the PhD supervisor). 

  • Extra credit will be given to a demonstrated ability to take own initiatives and scientific independence. Please give examples in cover letter.
  • Experience of structural biology, in particular electron microscopy is meriting but not a must.
  • Experience in andrology, microtubule, cilia and flagella research is equally meriting but not a must.


Is a fixed term as postdoc fulltime during 2 years at the Department of Chemistry and Molecular Biology.

Contact information for the post 

If you have any questions about the position, please contact Johanna Höög (PI; or Vajradhar Acharya (PhD student;


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The application shall include:

  • CV
  • Cover letter
  • University grades
  • PhD certificate
  • contact details to at least two references (of which one should be the PhD supervisor)

Applications must be received by 2022-12-06

The University works actively to achieve a working environment with equal conditions, and values the qualities that diversity brings to its operations.

Salaries are set individually at the University.

In accordance with the National Archives of Sweden’s regulations, the University must archive application documents for two years after the appointment is filled. If you request that your documents are returned, they will be returned to you once the two years have passed. Otherwise, they will be destroyed.

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