PhD fellowship (3 years) in Computational Exploitation of Brown Algal Genomes

Deadline: 01.08.2021


About the position

A three-year PhD fellowship is available at the Faculty of Biosciences and Aquaculture (FBA), Nord University (Bodø, Norway), connected to the new research division ‘Algal and microbial biotechnology’. The project will be lead by Dr. Alexander Jueterbock, in collaboration with Dr. Mark Cock from the Station Biologique de Roscoff in France, and with FBA genomics and ecology researchers Dr. Chris Hulatt, Professor Galice Hoarau, and Dr. Lars Martin Jakt.

Nord University

Global challenges demand new insight, innovative solutions and local legitimacy. Nord University is a young university with strong regional ties and a global perspective. We are committed to delivering relevant educational programmes and research, with a focus on blue and green growth, innovation and entrepreneurship, and welfare, health and education. Nord University has 11,000 students and 1,300 employees at nine study locations in central and northern Norway.

Faculty of Biosciences and Aquaculture (FBA) educates people with the aim of promoting sustainable and innovative development to meet global challenges in food production, climate and environment. The faculty is an international arena for education, research and knowledge dissemination, with employees and students from 31 different countries. The faculty offers a PhD in Aquatic Biosciences. FBA has 800 students and 160 employees in Bodø and Steinkjer. The professional community is organised into the following divisions: Aquaculture, Ecology, Genomics, Animal Science, Production and Welfare, and Algal and microbial biotechnology.

Read more: www.nord.no/en/fba

Macroalgae are the foundation of diverse coastal ecosystems and are considered a promising target for a new sustainable aquaculture industry. While scientific advances in synthetic biology have a wide application potential to aid macroalgae restoration and farming, the necessary molecular knowledge is yet missing for this group of non-model organisms. This PhD project will apply bioinformatics analyses to exploit a novel resource of >70 brown algal genomes/transcriptomes in order to characterize the presence, variation, uniqueness, and evolution of genomic elements that are relevant to bio-engineering applications in brown macroalgae, including epigenetic factors, and transposable elements.


1) Identify regulatory regions (e.g. CpG islands), and enzymes (e.g. methyl-transferases) involved in DNA methylation and histone modifications, as well as potential miRNA target sites, characterize their specificities, and draw their evolutionary path in the brown macroalgae.

2) Characterize transposable elements and reconstruct their evolutionary activity in the sequenced brown algal genomes. This will facilitate the understanding of genome evolution in brown algae and provide information on how these can be harnessed to engineer gene expression (e.g. via relaxing silencing mechanisms), or gene function (e.g. via targeted mutational insertion).

3) Bio-engineering trials using a reverse-genetics approach with CRISPR-Cas9 in Ectocarpus.

The position will be available from 1st of January 2022.

Qualification requirements


  • MSc degree (to be completed before the start of the position) or equivalent in a relevant discipline such as genetics, epigenetics, computational biology, genome biology/evolution, molecular biology, or bioinformatics
  • Grade average of B or better both for the programme in total and the master’s thesis
  • Fluency in written and spoken English
  • Drylab skills in molecular biology (e.g. DNA extraction, PCR)
  • Strong computational skills (using R or Python, Linux bash, bioinformatics analyses at the genome/transcriptome level)
  • Demonstration of strong interest in and drive to work on the topic
  • Ability to work independently and in teams
  • High motivation and adherence to time lines


  • Background in Phycology
  • Experience in Machine Learning
  • Experience in Genome annotation and data mining
  • Papers published in peer-reviewed journals or presented at international conferences
  • Knowledge of a Scandinavian language is beneficial for the position


People of all nationalities, ethnicities and gender are eligible to apply. The faculty is international with English as a common working language. Applicants who already have a PhD in life sciences are not eligible.

The successful candidate will join the PhD program at Nord University and is expected to complete the study within the period.

For admission requirements and regulations, see our web page.

We offer

The annual salary for doctoral researchers (code 1017) is set at wage level 54, LR 20, NOK 482.200,- in the Norwegian State Salary Scale. Suitably qualified candidates may be placed in code 1378.

  • Advantages within the Government Pension Fund for borrowing, insurance and pension.
  • Creative and collegial working environment
  • A workplace with steady progressive development
  • Flexible working hours
  • Active university sports team

Contact information

Further information about the position can be obtained by contacting:


Applications must be submitted electronically by August 1st. 2021.

The application should include:

  • Cover letter outlining the candidate’s motivation and suitability for the position (maximum 2 pages)
  • Description of the project idea (project proposal), including the theoretical basis and intended methodology (maximum 2 pages).
  • A complete CV (education, work experience and publications, maximum 2 pages)
  • Certified transcripts/dipl for academic degrees (both bachelor and master degree) and other relevant qualifications
  • Other activity that is considered relevant, such as list of publications and academic work
  • Contact details for at least two referees (name, relation to candidate, e-mail and telephone number)
  • Signed consent form PhD (if relevant)

All documents must be uploaded as attachments to the electronic application form.

It is the applicant's responsibility to submit the complete documentation within the deadline.

After the application period has expired a list of applicants will be published. Note that, in special cases, the identity of particular applicants to a position may be made public even when that applicant has requested that their application be processed confidentially. Applicants requesting an exemption from publication of their identity must explain their reasons for doing so in their application. In this case, advance notice will be given in the event of a decision to make any information about the applicant public.

Refnr. 30118162

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