PhD position in Computational Genomics or Animal Genomics

The Animal Genomics group at the Institute of Agricultural Sciences at ETH Zurich investigates DNA variation both in individual animal genomes and at the population scale. Our group applies state of the art technologies to sequence the genomes and transcriptomes of farm animals with long and short reads, and applies bioinformatics and statistical genomics approaches to characterize trait-associated sequence variation. We offer a PhD position at the interface of computational and statistical genomics, and bioinformatics. 

Project background

Cattle are an interesting «model organism» to study the molecular-genetic underpinnings of complex traits and dieseases. Whole-genome sequencing and dense phenotyping data are availble for tens of thousands of individuals. These data enable powerful association testing to study the genetic architecture of complex traits and diseases. Moreover, the availability of a vast amount of omics data, an accurate functional annotation, and long read sequencing offer great opportunities to scrutinize trait-associated genomic regions. Integrating different types of data will eventually permit identifying causal trait nucleotides.

This project builds upon previous research conducted by the Animal Genomics group that aimed at investigating the genetic architecture of complex traits, and revealing trait-associated sequence variants. Moreover, access to variation-aware referencesmulti-assembly graphs, and the first bovine pangenome from multiple haplotype-resolved assemblies will also make structural variation amenable to association testing. The Animal Genomics group also has excellent collaborations with national and international academic and industry partners to establish large and informative datsets that permit exciting research at the forefront of animal genomics. 

Job description

We are looking for an enthusiastic and highly-motivated candidate to investigate long read sequencing data collected from large cohorts of cattle. You will contribute to the detection of structural variants and impute them into several thousand individuals to perform association test between structural variants and complex traits. Comprehensive omics data will be investigated to fine-map trait-associated regions. There is also a possibility to contribute to our ongoing effort to establish a comprehensive bovine pangenome.

This is a fixed term position for 4 years with an anticipated start date of May 1st, 2023 (negotiable). The data required to conduct the research have been collected to a large extent, enabling also an earlier starting date of the project. You will join the Animal Genomics group led by Hubert Pausch.

Your profile

  • Research interest in statistical genomicscomputational biologycomputational genomics, or animal genomics.
  • Experience with a programming language (e.g., python, R) and basic working knowledge with high-performance computing clusters is required.
  • A MSc degree in genetics, genomics, computational biology, bioinformatics, animal sciences or disciplines related to the PhD position.
  • Affinity to computational genomics, bioinformatics or statistics is a pre-requisite.
  • The writing of scientific papers and active participation in international conferences requires good knowledge of English.

We offer

An inspiring, supportive, and team-based research environment to facilitate seamless integration into an ambitious research project. Our team consists of a young and international group of researchers who share a common vision of contributing significantly to the highest-level academic research in the broad field of animal genomics. The team has an excellent track record of publishing in the field’s leading and key multidisciplinary journals. For a list of recent publications, see

Specifically, we offer

  • integration into a young and dynamic research team with diverse backgrounds,
  • own responsibility within a fully funded 4 year project,
  • flexibility in designing and pursuing own research ideas within the scope of the overall project,
  • collaboration with national and international partners,
  • competitive salary conditions according ETH regulations.

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We value diversity

In line with our values, ETH Zurich encourages an inclusive culture. We promote equality of opportunity, value diversity and nurture a working and learning environment in which the rights and dignity of all our staff and students are respected. Visit our Equal Opportunities and Diversity website to find out how we ensure a fair and open environment that allows everyone to grow and flourish.

Curious? So are we.

We look forward to receiving your online application with the following documents:

  • Cover/motivation letter that demonstrates your suitability for the offered position and addresses the research questions you would like to develop within the doctoral project at ETH,
  • Curriculum vitae with complete academic record, copies of Bachelor and Master degrees,
  • Name and contact information of two references.

Evaluation of applications will start immediately, and continue until a suitable candidate has been identified. Please note that we exclusively accept applications submitted through our online application portal. Applications via email or postal services will not be considered.

Questions? Further information about the Animal Genomics group can be found on our website For further information, please contact Prof. Hubert Pausch at e-mail (no applications).