The University of Helsinki is an international scientific community of 40,000 students and researchers. It is one of the leading multidisciplinary research universities in Europe and ranks among the top 100 international universities in the world.

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


for a period of 4 years, starting in May 2020.

The PhD project “Effects of heavy metals on testicular dysgenesis syndrome” is organized by Helsinki One Health – HOH ( and the Animal Reproduction Science group – ARS ( of the University of Helsinki.

HOH Helsinki One Health is a network organization, led by the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and cooperated by four other faculties at the University of Helsinki, to co-ordinate research actions within the area of One Health. One Health is a globally emerging concept recognizing that the health of humans and animals is interconnected and that their populations share the essentials of life: the genome, disease causing organisms, health, welfare, and the environment. HOH Helsinki One Health involves different disciplines and professions to work together to resolve emerging health problems concerning human and animal populations worldwide. Please see:

The animal reproduction science group ARS is based at the Department of Production Animal Medicine ( of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine ( Unless otherwise agreed, the location of the position is at the Saari estate in Mäntsälä (some 60 kilometres northeast of Helsinki). The project is joint between the University of Helsinki and the University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover / Unit of Reproductive Medicine (, and it aims also for scientific exchange between these two Universities, but not for a double degree.

The project investigates the prevalence of environmental pollutants, especially heavy metals, and their effects on male fertility. The focus is on cell functions of the male sexual organs, especially hormone production and spermatogenesis. The project includes work with male sexual organs, and frozen and fresh semen samples of canine and porcine. If possible, additional species will be included into the project. The methodology includes different types of study designs, e.g., cross-sectional, cohort, and in-vitro study designs.

The testicular dysgenesis syndrome (TDS) is recognized in humans as one of the major causes for the decline in male fertility. Environmental exposures to toxins arising from modern lifestyles and pollutions are the most important risk factors for TDS. Clinical signs of TDS were recently linked to environmental toxins also in canine. Using the dog as a sentinel model for the human will help to gain further understanding into environmental effects on TDS. Using in-vitro models and the pig as an experimental model will help to dig more detailed into the mode of actions.

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 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.

What we expect from you

The appointee must hold a suitable second-cycle degree (Master’s degree or equivalent) and demonstrate ability and motivation to perform scientific research. There is no restriction in which field of science the degree was obtained from. The degree can come from the fields of Veterinary medicine, human medicine, translational medicine, environmental health, animal sciences, natural sciences, biotechnology and others. Good English language skills (oral and academic) are required.

Prior knowledge of modern methods in reproductive biology, andrology, molecular biology, biotechnology, toxicology and bioinformatics/statistics as well as a driver’s license are a bonus, but your most important assets are enthusiasm and interest for research, motivation to learn new skills and knowledge, and ability to work independently as an active member of a research team.

Salary and benefits

• The salary is based on the University of Helsinki salary system. For a doctoral student, the monthly starting gross salary is usually about 2200 euros/month and progresses at least when the doctoral student is about half-way finished writing the dissertation.
• Read more about the employee benefits at the University of Helsinki and why the University of Helsinki is an excellent career choice:

Application for the doctoral student position and further information

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 link Apply for the position. Applicants who are employees of the University of Helsinki are requested to submit their application via the SAP HR portal. The closing date for applications is 1 March, 2020.

Further information

• About the position: project leader Stefan Björkman: stefan.bjorkman(at)
• On our research groups: HOH –; ARS –
• About applying and/or technical support: HR Specialist Heidi Kauppinen, heidi.m.kauppinen(at), +358504155341

Preliminary information on the right to pursue a doctoral degree

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 6 month probationary period of the employment contract. 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 for the right to pursue a doctoral degree: The doctoral program most suitable is the doctoral program in clinical veterinary medicine (

Due date

01.03.2020 23:59 EET