Post doc position in ecological genomics of aromatic plants

  • Deadline- 1 Jun 23:59 CEST
  • Expected start- 1 Sep
  • BiRC – Bioinformatics Research CenterUniversitetsbyen 818000 Aarhus C

  • Fixed term full-time position1 Sep 2023 – 28 Feb 2025ID: 11720

Are you interested to work in a collaborative project at the cross road of plant adaptation to climate change, genomics and population genetics, then the Bioinformatics Research Center at Aarhus University (Denmark) invites you to apply for a post-doctoral position in the field of evolutionary bioinformatics and ecological  genomics.

You have a PhD and proven research experience in evolutionary bioinformatics, population and/or statistical genomics or similar. You will join a multi-disciplinary team where you will contribute both new eco-evolutionary models and data analysis of both publicly available and in house generated data. The data will consist of 30x PACBio HiFi sequencing of a reference thyme genome as well as re-sequencing of more than 800 individual plants sampled from more 50 populations along 8 altitudinal gradients. 

Aromatic Lamiaceae dominate the Mediterranean vegetation and are polymorphic for the monoterpene composition of their volatile oil. These plants show a natural geographic distribution in monoterpenes that associate with different climatic environments. The monoterpenes protect them against climate stress such as temperature and drought.  Wild thyme has two ecotypes adapted to different types of climate stress. We have identified candidate genes responsible for this chemical phenotype/ecotype variation. This project will expand on these findings to bring  new insights into how variation in ecologically important trait allow plants to cope with current and future climate conditions.

Expected start date and duration of employment

This is a fulltime 18 months position with earliest start date September 1st, 2023 or as soon possible thereafter.

Job description

Within the larger project field, it will be flexible whether you will focus most on data analysis, method development or both. We value independence and offer substantial latitude for you to define your own research project within the broader scope of the collaborative project.

Possibilities include, but are not restricted to

  • Creating and using bioinformatics workflows for the mapping and  detection of genetic variants from Illumina and Pacbio HIFI data
  • Genome wide association (GWAS) for common variants and chemical phenotypes.
  • Test if SNPs associated with chemotype variation are also conferring adaptation to local environmental conditions inferred from remote sensing and environmental variables collected on site.
  • Model predicted evolutionary changes for phenotypes (chemotypes) as a result of migration and locally heterogenous selection under three scenarios: a Mendelian phenotype, a polygenic phenotype, and one oligogenic model using the actual genetics inferred in GWAS.
  • Test if the genetic variation enabling adaptation predates speciation or arose in each species independently. To do so, we will contrast levels of shared polymorphism in background genes versus candidate genes for both SNP-environment and SNP-chemotype associations

The  AromADAPT project is funded by the Danish council for independent research. The project involves department of  Ecoscience and the Bioinformatics research center at Aarhus University. You will be supervised by coPIs at the Bioinformatics Research Centre (Thomas Bataillon & Palle Vilelsen) in close collaboration with Bodil Ehlers (PI: AromADAPT, AU Ecoscience).

Your profile

Applicants should hold a PhD in evolutionary bioinformatics, population/statistical genetics or similar. The following skills will be an advantage:

  • Proven experience in handling and analysing large genomic datasets
  • Proficient knowledge of coding in R/Python and high performance cluster environments.
  • Interest in evolutionary genetics and genome evolution.
  • High communication (verbal and written) and organizational skills are essential

Who we are

At BiRC we focus on developing computational methods for collecting, handling and analyzing genomic data. Research ranges from formulating models and theories about genome evolution, to constructing algorithms and developing computer programs to implement new analytical methods. We have a strong emphasis on molecular and genome evolution, molecular population genetics, firmly grounded in statistical and algorithmic approaches to bioinformatics. Our research spans from addressing purely theoretical questions, to program development, applications to large empirical datasets.


What we offer

The Bioinformatics Research Centre (BiRC) offers:

  • State of the art genomic data and computing facilities,
  • an exciting interdisciplinary environment with many national, and international collaborators
  • a research climate encouraging lively, open and critical discussion within and across different fields of research
  • a work environment with close working relationships, networking and social activities
  • a workplace characterised by professionalism, equality and a healthy work-life balance.

Place of work and area of employment

The place of work is Bioinformatics Research Center,

Universitetsbyen 81, DK-8000 Aarhus C. 

Contact information

Thomas Bataillon (, +45 27827282)


Applications must be received no later than June 1st, 2023.

Application procedure

Shortlisting is used. This means that after the deadline for applications – and with the assistance from the assessment committee chairman, and the appointment committee if necessary, – the head of department selects the candidates to be evaluated. All applicants will be notified whether or not their applications have been sent to an expert assessment committee for evaluation. The selected applicants will be informed about the composition of the committee, and each applicant is given the opportunity to comment on the part of the assessment that concerns him/her self. Once the recruitment process is completed a final letter of rejection is sent to the deselected applicants.

Letter of reference

If you want a referee to upload a letter of reference on your behalf, please state the referee’s contact information when you submit your application. We strongly recommend that you make an agreement with the person in question before you enter the referee’s contact information, and that you ensure that the referee has enough time to write the letter of reference before the application deadline. Unfortunately, it is not possible to ensure that letters of reference received after the application deadline will be taken into consideration.

Formalities and salary range

Natural Sciences refers to the Ministerial Order on the Appointment of Academic Staff at Danish Universities under the Danish Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation.

The application must be in English and include a curriculum vitae, degree certificate, a complete list of publications, a statement of future research plans and information about research activities, teaching portfolio and verified information on previous teaching experience (if any). Guidelines for applicants can be found here.

Appointment shall be in accordance with the collective labour agreement between the Danish Ministry of Taxation and the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations. Further information on qualification requirements and job content may be found in the Memorandum on Job Structure for Academic Staff at Danish Universities.

Salary depends on seniority as agreed between the Danish Ministry of Taxation and the Confederation of Professional Associations.

Aarhus University’s ambition is to be an attractive and inspiring workplace for all and to foster a culture in which each individual has opportunities to thrive, achieve and develop. We view equality and diversity as assets, and we welcome all applicants.

Research activities will be evaluated in relation to actual research time. Thus, we encourage applicants to specify periods of leave without research activities, in order to be able to subtract these periods from the span of the scientific career during the evaluation of scientific productivity.

Aarhus University offers a broad variety of services for international researchers and accompanying families, including relocation service and career counselling to expat partners. Read more here. Please find more information about entering and working in Denmark here.

Aarhus University also offers a Junior Researcher Development Programme targeted at career development for postdocs at AU. You can read more about it here.

The application must be submitted via Aarhus University’s recruitment system, which can be accessed under the job advertisement on Aarhus University’s website.

Questions about the position?

Thomas Bataillon

Associate Professor, Bioinformatics Research Centre (BiRC)