University of Oulu

Postdoctoral Researcher in Intervertebral Disc Experimental Therapeutics

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About the employer

University of Oulu is an international science university which creates innovation for the future and knowledge through multidisciplinary research ...

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We at the University of Oulu work as part of the international science community to produce new scientific information and science-based solutions. We are committed to educate future pioneers to build a more sustainable, intelligent and humane world. Creating new knowledge, taking responsibility and succeeding together are values that build a strong foundation for all our actions. We offer a working environment where individuals can cultivate their skills and develop professionally. Our university's world-leading specialized research and service units enable extensive and diverse development and career opportunities for experts in diverse fields. More information:

We are now seeking talented scientists for a

Postdoctoral researcher

position in the group of Professor Ali Mobasheri to work on an interdisciplinary 3-year project focused on the formulation and testing a number of experimental therapeutics for the treatment of intervertebral disc degeneration and low back pain, including nanotechnology, senolytics, and cell-based gene therapy. This project will establish a translational large animal model of intervertebral disc degeneration to test novel therapeutics for back pain. The main objective of the project is to specifically target the cartilaginous components in the discovertebral junction.

The research project will be carried out under the FIBROBESITY programme – targeting obesity-related fibrotic pathologies. More information at

The faculty and the research group

Applications are invited for a full-time fixed-term postdoctoral researcher position in the research group of Ali Mobasheri in the Research Unit of Medical Imaging, Physics and Technology within the Faculty of Medicine. The new research group led by Ali Mobasheri will develop and test new targeted injectable biological and cellular therapies for osteoarthritis and intervertebral disc degeneration. The new team is funded by the Academy of Finland and the FIBROBESITY programme at the University of Oulu. The aim of this project is to address the translational gap in the treatment of painful intervertebral disc degeneration by testing experimental therapeutics that specifically target the cartilage endplate, a highly specialized tissue that is crucial for intervertebral disc nutrition and homeostasis. You will focus on the establishment of a translational large animal model of intervertebral disc degeneration to be used for the testing of experimental therapeutics. The researcher will also be responsible for the supervision of a doctoral student working on the same project.

The Faculty of Medicine provides an excellent environment for doing cutting-edge research in musculoskeletal sciences, supported by state-of-the-art facilities located at Oulu, Finland, and abroad. The new research team will be focusing on these three related areas:

  1. Identification and characterisation of novel biochemical markers of extracellular matrix degeneration and regeneration in 3-D culture models of the synovial joint and intervertebral disc-derived tissues
  2. Developing and testing targeted biological therapies to specific molecular endotypes of joint and spine diseases, especially those that are associated with obesity and diabetes
  3. Targeting specific receptors, ion channels and associated regulatory pathways involved in inflammatory signalling and catabolic changes in the extracellular matrix

The main tasks for the research project include establishment of the translational large animal model with input from our collaborators in USA, Canada and South Korea, working with animal-derived tissues, performing immunoassays and high-throughput omics analysis.  The position is a full-time fixed-term position with the current funding available for three years.

Qualification requirements

You must possess a Doctoral degree in the field of molecular biology, biochemistry, anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, biomedical sciences, pathology, musculoskeletal sciences or a topic related to bone, joint or spine research that has been completed no more than 5 years ago (excluding career breaks). You should have strong laboratory skills in cell culture, molecular biology, biochemistry and the use of immunoassays, as proven by authorship in peer-reviewed scientific publications. Experience of working with mammalian cell and tissue culture and especially synovial joint tissues and the intervertebral disc would be considered an advantage. Bioinformatics skills would be considered an additional advantage. Experience of working with the intervertebral disc or joint tissues animal models is highly desirable. Prior experience of working with large animals would be considered an advantage. Experience of working with ex vivo cultures, biochemical assays of extracellular matrix degradation, immunoassays and commonly used omics workflows would also be an advantage.

You should be able to work independently, as well as in a group, with a drive to excel in research. Fluency in both written and spoken English is a pre-requisite. Fluency in Finnish would be a significant advantage as you will be required to liaise with administrative and finance colleagues at the University of Oulu. Most importantly, you are expected to have a strong motivation to conduct high-level original research in the area of joint biology, inflammation biology and the development of experimental therapeutics. Demonstrated experience in local, national and international networking, as well as potential in acquiring supplementary funding and teaching experience will be considered as merits. Previous experience in supervision of Master’s and Doctoral theses would be an advantage.

What we offer

We offer a research environment with excellent technological facilities and a motivating and supporting international community at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Oulu. We also offer access to state-of-the-art facilities located at Biocenter Oulu (Sequencing Core Facility, Proteomic Core Facility and Tissue-Imaging Core Facility), Finland as well as across Europe for doing cutting edge research in obesity research and precision medicine. You will be working in a highly talented research group supported by an excellent network of collaborators in Finland and abroad. University´s wide variety of support services are at your disposal, allowing you to focus on research work. The position is fixed-term for 3-years starting in October 2022 or soon thereafter and will have a trial period of 6 months.


The salary will be based on level 5 of the demand level chart for university-level teaching and research staff of Finnish universities. In addition, a salary component based on personal work performance will be paid (maximum of 50 % of the job-specific component). The salary will be, depending on the qualifications, approximately €3500-3800 per month (before taxes).

Regular salary is paid 12 months per year, including paid leave and an additional holiday bonus in the summer. In addition to the salary, the employed person will be insured by the university and provided occupational healthcare. Finnish government provides benefits to residents and their families, for example possibility to the national healthcare system and high-quality affordable childcare and school services.

How to apply

Applications, together with all relevant enclosures, should be submitted using the electronic application form by 30 September 2022 (23:59 Finnish local time). The application should be written in English and include the following:

1) A motivation cover letter (max. 2 pages) summarizing the applicant’s educational background, professional experience and describing why the applicant is interested in this position. A summary of the previous projects should also be included.

2) Curriculum vitae following the guidelines of the Finnish Advisory Board on Research Integrity:

3.) A complete list of publications, following the guidelines of the Academy of Finland: Please mark the five most important ones.

4.) Contact details of two persons available for recommendation (email and phone number)

5.) Certificates/Diplomas: Scanned copy of the original doctoral degree certificate.

Further information 

For further information, informal enquires can be sent to Ali Mobasheri by E-mail ( with a subject line “Regarding the Intervertebral Disc Experimental Therapeutics post-doctoral researcher position”. 

About Oulu, Finland

Finland is one of the most livable countries in the world, with a high quality of life, safety, excellent education system, and competitive economy. The Oulu region is home to over 200 000 people making it the largest urban centre in the Nordics and one of the fastest growing regions in northern Finland. Oulu is a combination of beautiful, northern nature, vivid cultural life and modern technology. Oulu is also known for its highly educated people and friendly, easy-going atmosphere. Living in Oulu is easy – everything is only max. 20 minutes away! Find out more about Oulu:

Modified 18.8.2022: Degree requirements specified.

Job details

Postdoctoral Researcher in Intervertebral Disc Experimental Therapeutics
Pentti Kaiteran katu 1 Oulu, Finland
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