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Blindern og Urbygningen (Foto: Wikimedia og Colourbox)
Blindern og Urbygningen (Foto: Wikimedia og Colourbox)

Researcher in Comparative Genomics

Deadline: 26.11.2022

Universitetet i Oslo

The University of Oslo is Norway’s oldest and highest rated institution of research and education with 28 000 students and 7000 employees. Its broad range of academic disciplines and internationally esteemed research communities make UiO an important contributor to society.

Department of Biosciences (IBV) is one of nine departments at the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences. Research in the department is organised in five sections covering topics within biochemistry, molecular biology, physiology, cell biology, genetics, aquatic biology, toxicology, ecology, and evolutionary biology. Education across these topics is offered for around 350 bachelor, 250 master, and 120 PhD students. With 52 permanent professors/associate professors, post-docs, researchers, technical, and administrative personnel, the Department has a total staff of 340 from more than 30 different countries. The Department aims to maintain high international standards within both research and teaching. The new bachelor program in bioscience is the first of its kind to include programming and computational modelling as core elements.

Job description

Position as Researcher in Comparative Genomics is available in the FunGIA lab at Department of Biosciences, Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, University of Oslo.

The position is for a period of 19 months, with potential extension. Starting date no later than February 1, 2023.

The position will be affiliated with the Section for Genetics and Evolutionary Biology (EVOGENE) with collaborators at the Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Synthesis (CEES) at the Department of Biosciences, University of Oslo.

The Researcher will be working on the project “Effects of polyploidization during adaptive evolution in yeasts (PloidYeast)” lead by Dr. David Peris (PI) and funded by the Research Council of Norway (PloidYeast RCN 324253). The candidate will work in close collaboration with the PI, Dr. Sara Orellana, Dr. Inger Skrede, Prof. Håvard Kauserud, Oslo Mycology Group members (Postdocs, PhD and master students) and FunGIA lab researchers at the Institute of Agrochemistry and Food Technology (IATA) –CSIC, Spain. In addition, the candidate will be part of an international collaborative research team from Stockholm University, Sweden (Dr. Rike Stelkens); Institute for Integrative Systems Biology (I2SysBio)-CSIC, Spain (Dr. Ana Conesa); Ghent University, Belgium (Dr. Yves Van de Peer); and Lawrence-Berkeley National Laboratory, USA (Dr. Héctor García). This research team provides an excellent scientific framework, with specialists in mycology, speciation, hybridization, food biotechnology, evolutionary biology, population genomics, multiomics integration and machine learning model applications.

Climatic change and human actions are threatening the sustainability of food security. United Nations has launched four aims within the sustainable development plan to maintain and ensure food security. In PloidYeast, we aim to apply a new collection of yeasts to offer new biotechnological approaches that can solve UN challenges, that is convert the food chain in a sustainable and a circular process. To accomplish this objective, we will make use of a recurrent evolutionary phenomenon observed in several industrial yeasts. This phenomenon is called polyploidization where the increase of the number of copies of the genome facilitates the adaptation to industrial conditions and might generate yeasts with desired industrial traits, accommodated to reach the sustainability of the food security. We will apply a multidisciplinary approach combining microbiology, molecular and genetic engineering methods, bioinformatics and mathematical modelling to generate the new yeasts and learn how polyploidization improves adaptation to industrial conditions. We know that increasing the number of copies in a yeast, by introducing the genome of multiple yeasts with different but desired industrial traits, generates a new yeast with the combination of the parental traits.

The Researcher will perform comparative genomics of recently generated HiFi PacBio libraries of representative wild strains of a fungal genus (>100 genomes). Some of these strains are actively used in the PloidYeast project to generate polyploids due to their interesting industrial phenotypic traits. However, the genomic regions associated with industrial traits are mostly unknown. The polyploids generated with the wild fungi will be evolved in industrial conditions. The Researcher will be responsible of building new bioinformatic pipelines for the study of yeast genomes and their polyploids. Basically, we expect to perform telomere-telomere genome assemblies to characterize small- and large-scale genomic rearrangements involve in speciation events. Genes, centromeres, Ty, ‘X and Y’ elements annotations will be done and evolutionary studies will be assayed. Once annotations are completed, we will quantify gene gains and losses and generate a pangenome dataset of the genus. Summary statistics of genes and genomes will be calculated to detect evolutionary events of interest.

Qualification requirements

The Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences has a strategic ambition of being a leading research faculty. Candidates for these fellowships will be selected in accordance with this, and expected to be in the upper segment of their class with respect to academic credentials.

  • The candidate must have a master degree in bioinformatics applied to genomics in a field relevant for the project, including, bioinformatics, evolutionary biology and genomics.
  • Knowledge of bioinformatic tools (processing PacBio and Illumina datasets, genome assembly and annotation, phylogenomics, etc), programming languages (R and python) and working in High-Performance Computing (linux environment, SLURM) are highly required.
  • Knowledge and experience in yeast microbiology and molecular methods (PCR and Sanger sequencing) will be valuable.
  • Knowledge in comparative genomics, population genomics and evolutionary biology.
  • Experience in bioinformatics applied to genomic data.
  • Demonstrated ability in scientific writing and publications in relevant international scientific journals will be valuable.
  • Fluent oral and written communication skills in English.

Personal skills

  • A strong interest in fungal biology, fungal genomics, and bioinformatics.
  • We seek a highly motivated, enthusiastic and hard-working candidate. Applicant must show good interpersonal skills and be willing to work in close collaboration with the project PI and other members of the international project team, as well as have the ability to work independently.

Personal suitability for the position will be emphasized.

We offer

  • Salary NOK minimum 485 800 – 593 500 per annum depending on qualifications in position as Researcher (position code 1108)
  • Attractive welfare benefits and a generous pension agreement
  • Professionally stimulating working environment
    • Mentoring in yeast comparative and evolutionary genomics, and bioinformatics
    • Opportunities to extend your scientific network by attending international conferences
  • Vibrant international academic environment
  • Oslo’s family-friendly surroundings with their rich opportunities for culture and outdoor activities

How to apply

The application must include

  • Cover letter (statement of motivation, summarizing scientific work and research interest, and what our group and the candidate will learn/gain from hiring the candidate). It is mandatory to include a project description (maximum 1 page): aims and questions, potential tasks, programs to be used and expected results.
  • CV (summarizing education, positions, pedagogical experience, administrative experience and other qualifying activity)
  • Copies of educational certificates, academic transcript of records and letters of recommendation
  • A complete list of publications and up to 5 academic works that the applicant wishes to be considered by the evaluation committee
  • Names and contact details of 2-3 references (name, relation to candidate, e-mail and telephone number)

The application with attachments must be delivered in our electronic recruiting system, please follow the link “Apply for this job”.

Foreign applicants are advised to attach an explanation of their University's grading system. Please note that all documents should be in English (or a Scandinavian language). The translated version must be accompanied by the original. Personal translations are accepted, but if necessary originals and certified translations can be requested later.

In assessing the applications, special emphasis will be placed on the documented, academic qualifications, the project description, and the quality of the project as well as the candidates motivation and personal suitability. Interviews with the best qualified candidates will be arranged.

It is expected that the successful candidate will be able to complete the project in the course of the period of employment.

Formal regulations

According to the Norwegian Freedom of Information Act (Offentleglova) information about the applicant may be included in the public applicant list, also in cases where the applicant has requested non-disclosure.

The University of Oslo has an agreement for all employees, aiming to secure rights to research results a.o.

Inclusion and diversity are a strength. The University of Oslo has a personnel policy objective of achieving a balanced gender composition. Furthermore, we want employees with diverse professional expertise, life experience and perspectives.

Contact information

For further information please contact:

For questions regarding the recruitment system, please contact: HR-adviser Nina Holtan, e-mail: [email protected].

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