PhD position in Finland

Published on
January 9, 2018

Effects of exercise training on the cardiovascular capacity of fish to encounter environmental stressors, in University of Turku, Finland

The PhD position (4 years) will be in the project studying whether exercise training can improve the cardiovascular performance and health, and increase the production of Atlantic salmon. The significance of the project is high, as fish will be one of the most important sources of protein for food industry in the future due to lower carbon footprint of fish production as compared e.g. to cattle. Currently the salmon and fish production in general has, however, significant challenges. Farmed fish are suffering from high mortality especially when they are transferred from fresh water to sea to grow and also during the reproduction phase when the environmental temperatures are high and hypoxia is common. One reason for these deaths could be the reduced cardiovascular performance of farmed as compared to wild fish. For example, deformities of the cardiovascular system are regular in farmed fish. The objective of this project is, thus, to investigate, how the cardiovascular performance of farmed fish can be improved by training focusing especially on the capacity of the fish to handle environmental warming and hypoxia. These environmental stressors are significant challenges in the Baltic Sea, where the surface temperature has already increased by 1.4°C in 20 years, which is the largest increase in sea areas worldwide. Eutrophication accompanied with hypoxia/anoxia is another environmental issue and it is regular particularly in the coastal areas of the Baltic Sea where the farming of fish occurs.

Besides finding the optimal training program for juvenile and adult fish the objective is to investigate whether or not training has epigenetic effects, i.e., can training of parental fish improve the cardiovascular performance of the offspring. Thus, this project will generate a substantial amount new scientific knowledge. Importantly, this knowledge can be directly applied to fish production and fish conservation programs worldwide.

In the project student is able to learn a wide spectrum of skills from fish farming to molecular measurements. The methods used include exercise physiology of intact animals, cardiovascular measurements at whole animal (ECG measurements of living fish), organ (isolated heart measurements) and molecular level (changes in energy metabolism, histology and contraction machinery of heart and swimming muscles and modifications in the methylation patterns in general and in specific genes relevant for cardiac function).


  • We favor applicants who have completed a Master’s degree in science or other relevant field. However, also very motivated Master’s level students preparing their thesis, are encouraged to apply.
  • Knowledge in ecophysiology, fish physiology, exercise physiology, cardiovascular physiology or molecular physiology. No one is expected to be an expert in all these areas, but once hired, a candidate is expected to develop knowledge in the areas he/she is not familiar with, as well.
  • Passion for multidisciplinary research
  • Fluent English, both written and spoken


Salary will come as a grant from Kone Foundation (28.800€/year). The student needs to pay tax from the part of the grant that exceeds the yearly threshold of tax-free grants (20.309€ in 2017) and needs to take pension insurance from Mela (

For more information

For further details, please contact Adjunct Prof. Katja Anttila (

How to apply

Please send an application via E-mail no later than on 31 January 2018 to
Required application documents (pdf files):

  1. Curriculum vitae, including contact information for possible references
  2. A 2-3 page motivation letter that should contain sections about research background of applicant, research interests and why applicant is especially interested about this job and why she/he is the best candidate for the job.
  3. Copy of Master Degree certificate (if applicable).
  4. Transcript of records for MSc, including translations to English (if not originally
    provided in English, Finnish or Swedish)

We reserve the right for justified reasons to leave the position open, to extend the application period and to consider candidates who have not submitted applications during the application period.