Postdoc in comparative genomics and machine learning to detect impactful genetic variants in cool-season grasses

The Center for Quantitative Genetics and Genomics at Aarhus University is conducting a research project on the prediction of deleterious variants in plant species. In this project, we are seeking applicants for a 2-year postdoctoral position in bioinformatics, machine learning, and statistical genetics.

Starting Date and Period

The position is for 2 years with possible extension, and is available from May 1st, 2023, or as soon as possible hereafter.

Job description

The postdoctoral researcher will infer the effects of genetic variants, based on signatures of selection and/or machine learning models (biological language models for the prediction of protein function and structure, gene regulation and expression, etc.). This project will offer a unique opportunity to validate predicted fitness effects in experimental populations to support applications in genomic prediction and precision breeding (e.g., CRISPR-based editing). We are looking for a motivated postdoctoral associate to lead our effort toward the prediction of variant effects and collaborate with a PhD student for the validation of predictions in experimental populations. She/he will also have the opportunity to gain substantial international experience as a visiting scientist in an international research group, during about 6 months. Finally, they will be able to present their work and disseminate their results at international conferences. This project is supported by an Emerging Investigator grant from the Novo Nordisk Foundation, which funds groundbreaking research with promising applications in data science and the green transition in Europe. In this project, the postdoctoral researcher will focus on cool-season grass species, which include the model species Brachypodium as well as important crop species like rice, wheat, and barley. A key contribution of the project will be the validation of predicted variant effects at single-base resolution, by multi-omics data: genomic, transcriptomic, metabolomic, and physiological measurements in mutant populations of Brachypodium.

Your profile

Applicants should hold (or be expected to hold) a PhD degree in bioinformatics, machine learning, computational biology, statistical genetics (quantitative or population genetics), or related fields.The ideal candidate will:

  • be motivated to develop and apply novel computational tools for improving agriculture.
  • have work experience in comparative genomics and/or machine learning techniques applied to biological sequence data.
  • hold scientific publication records as first author, in relevant areas (bioinformatics, machine learning, computational biology, statistical genetics).
  • be interested in collaborations with scientists across disciplines (e.g., quantitative geneticists and plant biologists) and levels (e.g., PhD students, technical staff).
  • have effective communication skills in written and spoken English, for the presentation of their research to various audiences – from experts to the general public.

Who we are

The Center for Quantitative Genetics and Genomics (QGG) is a major center for research and education in quantitative genetics and genomics at Aarhus University (http://www.qgg.au.dk/en). We conduct basic and applied research in animal, plant, and human genetics. Our focus areas include quantitative genetics, artificial intelligence applied to agriculture and medicine, population genetics, and integrative genomics. Research within QGG is characterized by a very close synergy between method development and application on practical problems across species, in collaboration with industry partners. QGG is an international research center with about 70 employees and visiting researchers from over 15 nations. QGG works in teams and strives for an excellent working environment, in which we value self-leadership, open communication, and commitment to diversity and inclusion.

What we offer

The successful candidate will be offered:

  • training and international experience as a visiting scientist in a research group outside Denmark, for a duration of about 6 months.
  • mentoring experience in collaboration with PhD student.
  • computational resources, including the Genetics/Genomics High-Performance Cluster and GenomeDK, with growing capabilities (e.g., additional nodes, GPUs).
  • a collaborative environment, in which the candidate will be able to share across research fields (quantitative genetics, machine learning, bioinformatics, and population genetics) and applications (in biology, agriculture, and biomedicine).
  • a research environment characterized by collaboration, commitment to diversity and inclusion, and success in mentoring and supervision.
  • an excellent working environment, characterized by professionalism, diversity and healthy work-life balance.

Place of Work

The place of work is C. F. Møllers Allé 3, 8000, Aarhus (Denmark), and the area of employment is Aarhus University with related departments.

Contact Information

For further information please contact: Dr. Guillaume Ramstein, +45 42 52 12 66, ramstein@qgg.au.dk.

Deadline

January 31st, 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

Technical 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.