Postdoctoral Research Fellow of Evolutionary Genetics

Posted 3 years ago

Duties and responsibilities

Research, development and creative activities, at least 70% of working time

  • 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.

See also job description.

Required qualifications

PhD in archaeogenetics, biological anthropology, genetics, medical genomics, molecular biology or related subjects or an equivalent qualification.

See also requirements for teaching and research staff.

Required experience

Essential skills and experience

  • 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.

Required language skills

Excellent command of English for professional communication and research.

Starting at 01.05.2020, temporary contract to 31.08.2023.

Workload: 1,00.

Salary: According to salary rules of University of Tartu, depending on the candidate’s qualification and experience up to 2055 euros (gross) per month.

See also UT salary rules.

Additional info

We are looking for a motivated Postdoctoral Research Fellow with a PhD in archaeology, genetics and/or bioinformatics or related fields who is interested in being part of the cGEM research group (supervisors Michael Dannemann, Anders Eriksson).

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 (

Ms. Merit Keritsberg, project manager (

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 ( 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 ( 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: and of the Center for Genomics, Evolution and Medicine (cGEM):

Application documents and notification of results

In order to be considered for the position, the candidate must submit to the UT Human Resources Office (email:; postal address: 18 Ülikooli St,Tartu 50090 ESTONIA) following documents:

  1. a letter of application to the Rector,
  2. curriculum vitae in the established format,
  3. a list of research publications (if necessary, enclosing copies or offprints of more important publications),
  4. a copy of a document (including its annexes) which shows the candidate to hold the required qualification (authorized translation into Estonian, English or Russian if the credential is not in one of these languages). A candidate can be required to submit the original or a certified copy of the document (including its annexes) showing the candidate to hold the required qualification. If the candidate has acquired the higher education in question abroad, he or she may be required to submit an assessment issued by the Academic Recognition Information Centre (the Estonian ENIC/NARIC) of his or her qualification in respect of the qualification requirements for the position;
  5. a motivational letter and contacts of at least two references;
  6. other materials considered relevant by the candidate (a list of such materials must be included in the application or annexed to it).

Number of copies: 1

Notification of results: The candidate will be notified of election results within two weeks following the election. The assessments drawn up in respect of the candidate and the documents specified in paragraph 5 of the list of documents will be returned to the candidate. Unsuccessful candidates can also request the return of documents specified in paragraphs 2 -4 of the list.

See also Application documents and notification of results

Web site for additional job details

Job Features

Job CategoryEnseignement et recherche scientifique

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