Open positions / Klefström lab

Open positions


Feel free to contact us if you are interested in joining our lab. Specific job roles will appear here as they come.


We are hiring an ambitious and talented

Scientific Coordinator

to coordinate a large and well-funded breast cancer research program, which aims to translate preclinical laboratory-based breast cancer research to new clinically viable treatment modalities for breast cancer. The program is seeking new ways to sensitize breast cancer to immune checkpoint inhibitors via synthetic lethal and immunogenic cell death concepts, which are integrated with computational predictions.

One key investigational platform in this approach is a novel method to grow 3D cultures of intact fragments of patient-derived tissue (Patient-Derived Explant Cultures/PDECs) for analysis of tumor cell and tumor infiltrated lymphocyte responses (Haikala et al., Nature Comm. 2019; PMID: 30728358, Munne et al., Nature Comm. in press; Al-Akhrass et al., Mol. Oncol. 2021, PMID: 34564954). The program is funded by significant long-term grants from the US Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program, Business Finland, The Jane and Aatos Erkko Foundation, EU Horizon 2020, The Juselius Foundation, The Academy of Finland, the Finnish Cancer Organizations, and others.

The Finnish Translational Breast Cancer Research Program is led by FICAN Professor Juha Klefström, with his team located in the Faculty of Medicine* at the University of Helsinki. The program closely interacts with a number of leading translational breast cancer research teams in Finland, the EU and the USA, as well as with clinical oncologists in the HUS Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Finnish National Cancer Centre (FICAN) network.

The candidate will join a translational research group ( that is part of the Translational Cancer Medicine Research Program of the Medical Faculty’s Research Programs Unit (RPU; link). A list of publications from the host laboratory can be found at PubMed, search for Klefstrom+j. Highlights include publications in Nat. Comms (in press and 2019), Cancer Research, J. Med. Chem, Cancer Discovery, PNAS, Oncogene and EMBO J.

Candidate requirements:

  • PhD degree and several years of Principal Investigator, Scientific Coordinator or strong Post Doc experience in a relevant field
  • Highly motivated and scientifically knowledgeable with strong interest in translational cancer research and working for cancer patients’ benefit
  • Documented experience in translational cancer research
  • Strong team player with outstanding communication and leadership skills
  • Experience in grant writing, management and reporting
  • Experience in supervising students and postdocs, working in expert teams and writing manuscripts
  • As the working language of the research group and associated teams is English, the chosen candidate must be able to communicate fluently in English

The candidate’s tasks include, but are not limited to:

  • As part of the coordination team, you will coordinate interdisciplinary academic and entrepreneurial programs
  • You will supervise both scientific and non-scientific personnel in Klefström’s research team and through collaborations in partner teams
  • You will participate in writing, managing and reporting research grants
  • You will participate in managing health related data, ethical and research permits, as well as a variety of contracts and agreements
  • You will take responsibility of scientific communication within the programs and carry out general operational duties and implementation in various related research programs
  • You will participate in planning of the translational research projects, oversee implementation of the projects and contribute to writing manuscripts

What we offer:

  • A challenging international research-oriented position within a well-funded, ambitious and ground-breaking cancer research program
  • Every day is different. You will perform a large set of diverse tasks, ensuring your professional development.
  • Tight involvement in several multi-disciplinary translational research projects with broad national and international (EU and USA) exposure and multi-stakeholder involvement (academics, Pharma and other companies, oncologists, patient organizations)
  • Opportunity to develop your leadership, communications and management skills through appointment in the strategic management team
  • Opportunity to travel and develop networks nationally and internationally
  • Opportunity to develop your publications list through co-authorship

The initial contract will be for one year, starting at your earliest convenience. Total program funding covers 5-years and contract extension is possible. The salary is in accordance with the University salary system (for teaching and research personnel).

Applications must include a CV and an application letter clearly describing how your profile matches the candidate requirements and other previous achievements in the field. Also include names and contact information of two or three references. The application, together with the required attachments, must be submitted via email to cancerio-office (at) Deadline for applications is November 12 2021, but the position will be closed once a suitable candidate has been identified. For further inquiries, please contact cancerio-office (at)

*The Faculty of Medicine of the University of Helsinki promotes scientific research of a high standard and is responsible for providing research-based undergraduate and postgraduate education in medicine, dentistry, psychology and logopedics, as well as for the English-language Master’s Programme in Translational Medicine. In addition to teaching and research activities, the Faculty serves as a significant expert organisation in the healthcare sector and contributes to the discourse on ethics in the field. In terms of research, the Faculty aims for a place among the best medical faculties in the world, while consolidating and strengthening its status as a top-level institution of medical education. Together with the Helsinki University Hospital (HUS) and the Helsinki Institute of Life Sciences (HiLIFE), the Faculty of Medicine constitutes the Academic Medical Center Helsinki (AMCH). This medical center has been ranked among the top 10 medical campuses in Europe and among the top 50 globally.




Want to join us?

Want to join us? We are about 16 researchers, including postdocs, graduate students and skilled research assisting personnel. The lab is dedicated to translate high-impact laboratory discoveries to the benefit of breast cancer patients and our strengths are in versatile use of genetic and pharmacological approaches together with sophisticated in vitro, ex vivo and in vivo models of breast cancer.

What do we expect from a new lab member? Your incentive to carry out research has to be scientific curiosity. You keep on asking why and how things happen? We are a translational science lab and for that type of environment we invite not only your experimental skills but also your ideas, brains and personal creativity. Once your hypotheses mature, you will have high degree of freedom to pursue own scientific ideas and projects. At this stage, you will find collaborators from inside and outside of the lab, no-one works alone. We expect you to show determination and commitment to your projects. You have to believe in your vision and prove it. That means hard work, but this is for the benefit of yourself.

What do we offer for you? You will learn many state-of-art molecular research technologies, from CRISPR mediated gene editing to modern 3D culture technology of cells and patient-derived breast cancer explants. You will learn molecular cloning, protein techniques, confocal microscopy and methods pertaining to transgenic, knock-out and syngrafted mouse models of cancer. In addition, you will develop your skills in reasoning and scientific argumentation. We discuss and argue a lot in our weekly lab meetings, journal clubs as well as in our annual lab retreat. In addition to the training offered by the lab, you will be exposed to vivid scientific atmosphere of the Research Programs Unit (RPU) of Medical Faculty. RPU groups include both basic researchers and clinical scientists working with patients and the program offers weekly seminars and symposia, Science days as well as social program.

Research Programs Unit/Translational Cancer Biology
& Medicum, Biomedicum Helsinki 1,
Medical Faculty, University of Helsinki

Haartmaninkatu 8
00290 Helsinki

University of Helsinki internal mailing address
P.O. Box 63
FI-00014 University of Helsinki

Tel. Lab +358 2 941 25494 (room B509)
Office +358 2 941 25493 (room B507b)
Junior office (room B503)
Fax +358 2 941 25610