Research Fellow of Evolutionary Genetics
- Research, development and creative (RDC) activities in the field of evolutionary genomics including but not limited to curation and analysis of matching genetic, environmental and biomedical datasets and writing publications.
- Internationally recognized research in five years at least in the volume equivalent to that of 1.5 doctoral thesis.
- Development of skills necessary for RDC activities, and professional development.
Teaching and activities related to the administration and development of teaching, up to 20% of working time
- Teaching, using modern teaching methods and educational technology, primarily supervising MA and PhD students.
- Professional development to enhance teaching and supervising skills.
Participation in the governance and institutional development of the university and social and public activities, up to 10% of working time
- Popularisation of the specialisation.
- Nationally/Internationally-recognised knowledge and emerging reputation in Genetics/Genomics.
- Proficiency in command line scripting and bioinformatics tools.
- Proven ability to work effectively as part of a team.
- Track record of producing publications of outstanding quality.
- Track record of contributions to national/international research conferences.
- Track record in supervising undergraduate and/or postgraduate students.
- Strong organisational skills.
- Excellent communication skills.
- Capacity to engage, mentor and motivate colleagues.
Desirable skills and experience
- Proficiency in scripting and statistical analyses in R or Matlab.
- Track record of industry collaboration.
- Track record of obtaining funded research projects.
- Recognised teaching ability.
- Experience in team or project management.
- Experience in classroom teaching and tutoring.
- Advanced computational skills and experience in the analysis of genomic and phenotypic datasets would be ideal.
Recent methodological advances to extract ancient DNA from human fossils have provided an opportunity to study genetic variation and selection over time, and the growing number of large cohorts with genotype and phenotype data (such as biobanks) has provided resources to link this genetic variation to disease phenotypes. Studies connecting the genetic footprints of disease susceptibility and natural selection in the human genome have shown that some genetic adaptations in the past may have come with a price for present-day populations: for example, many genetic variants associated with immune-mediated, cardiovascular and metabolic diseases show signs of having been recently favoured by recent natural selection. These genetic changes therefore have important implications for the prevention and treatment of a wide range of common diseases, but detailed, genome-wide information about these changes, their biological consequences, and how they are linked to different environmental factors is lacking.
The goal of the postdoc’s work is to establish a link between genetic adaptations and environmental and cultural changes in human populations of West Eurasia during the last 20,000 years, a time period that covers major shifts in climate, diet and pathogen exposures in this region. Additionally, with some of the genetic variation in present-day non-Africans being inherited from admixture with Neandertals ~55,000 years ago, the work will further investigate which role this admixture has played in shaping these adaptive processes.
The project will take advantage of high-quality genetic datasets, including ancient DNA from dated human fossils and whole genome sequences from modern populations to study the evolutionary history of West Eurasian population and detect signals of adaptation. In order to understand the selective forces acting on the putative adaptive variants and their biological consequences, the genetic data will be combined with biomedical data, such as case-control and biobank datasets with associated genetic, biomarker and health information (such as the Estonian Biobank) and gene expression data.
The outcome of this research will (1) provide important information about the role of selection and admixture in the interplay between genetics and environments over long time scales, which are difficult to obtain from contemporary populations and environments alone. The research will (2) help resolving the role of different dietary and environmental (life-style) factors in the susceptibility for metabolic and cardiovascular diseases in present-day populations, which are important when using genetic information to personalise the prediction, prevention and treatment of these diseases.
For further information please do not hesitate contacting:
Dr. Anders Eriksson, cGEM ERA Chair, group leader genomics guided evolutionary medicine (anders.eriksson [ät] ut.ee)
Ms. Merit Keritsberg, project manager (merit.kreitsberg [ät] ut.ee)
General background (Who we are)
The Institute of Genomics of the University of Tartu was formed in 2018 through a merger of the Estonian Genome Center and the Estonian Biocentre, bringing together world class expertise in medical, population and evolutionary genomics. We host the Estonian Biobank (www.geenivaramu.ee) which has 200,000 participants and is connected to national health registries for phenotypic information. Starting in May 2018, we opened a brand-new ancient DNA laboratory, we have a core facility for DNA/RNA sequencing and genotyping and have access to a High- Performance Computing Cluster (www.hpc.ut.ee). The Centre of Genomics, Evolution and Medicine (cGEM) was founded in 2018 with the aim to develop a interdisciplinary centre with world-leading expertise in personalized medicine to manage the risks, prevention, and diagnostics of diseases for contemporary populations by considering the unique evolutionary history of the human genome. We publish widely in top journals and sport a vibrant and international research community of 70 researchers and students.
Web page of our institute: www.genomics.ut.ee and of the Center for Genomics, Evolution and Medicine (cGEM): https://cgem.ut.ee
In addition to application documents, the candidate must submit a motivational letter and contacts of at least two references.