Graduate student position in evolutionary genomics


PhD student position at the Institute of Life- and Environmental
Sciences, University of Iceland

The evolutionary and population genomics group of Einar Arnason at the
Institute of Life- and Environmental Sciences (ILES) at University of
Iceland invites applications for a PhD position in evolutionary
genomics for the research topic: Analysis of time-series of
whole-genome data from highly fecund gadids.

Field of work

Our research focus is on understanding evolutionary processes in
highly fecund organisms. We use highly fecund gadids as study
organisms. With a recently awarded Icelandic Research Fund Grant of
Excellence we will obtain unparalleled amount of whole-genome sequence
data from various gadid populations. Whole-genome sequence data holds
huge promise in furthering our understanding of the mechanisms of
selection, speciation and adaptation in natural populations. This
collaborative project is joint with Katrin Halldorsdottir at ILES,
Alison Etheridge at the Department of Statistics in University of
Oxford, and Wolfgang Stephan and Bjarki Eldon at the Leibniz Institute
for Evolution and Biodiversity Science in Berlin. Among our
collaborators are Montgomery Slatkin and Rasmus Nielsen at University
of Berkeley in California, Fernando Racimo Centre for GeoGenetics
Copenhagen University and Tim Sackton Director of Bioinformatics at
Harvard University.

The student will be based at University of Iceland and work under the
supervision of Einar Arnason, Katrin Halldórsdóttir, and Bjarki Eldon
in Berlin. This is a highly interdisciplinary project combining
latest molecular technology, and advanced statistical and
bioinformatic analysis. We will maintain good communication between
all participants. The position therefore comes with possibilities to
visit participating labs and groups in Berlin, Berkeley, Copenhagen,
Oxford, and Cambridge (MA).

Analysis of time-series of samples using whole-genome sequencing
promises to be a powerful way of understanding evolutionary history,
in particular, for detecting selection. The PhD project is about the
time-series part of the overall project.

We are looking for a highly motivated individual with a strong
interest in evolutionary and population genomics. The University of
Iceland expects PhD candidates to complete their studies and write and
defend a dissertation within a time period of 3 years after a master’s
degree according to the Bologna process.

Qualification requirements

- M.Sc. (or equivalent) in biology, statistics, mathematics, or
computer science;

- experience in some kind of data analysis;

- the ability to work both independently and in a team;

- proficiency in written and spoken English

- experience in analysing genomic data is an asset;

- strong interest in evolutionary biology and genomics is an asset;

- experience in working with UNIX/Linux is an asset

How to apply

Please include the following in the application:

i) 1-2 page motivation letter, which should state interest in the
project, expectations for your Ph.D. studies and what makes you
qualified for the position,

ii) CV and publication list (if any),

iii) transcripts from B.Sc. and M.Sc. studies, and a list of courses
during postgraduate studies,

iv) contact information for 2 letters of reference

The successful applicant could anticipate to start work as early as
July 2018, or later upon agreement, with funding guaranteed for three

Salary will be according to the current collective wage and salary
agreement between the Union of University Teachers and the Minister of

All applications will be answered and applicants will be notified of
the employment decision when a decision has been made. Applications
will be valid for six months from the end of the application deadline.

APPLY by filling out form for vacancy nr. 354

Some relevant publications

Einar Árnason and Katrín Halldórsdóttir. 2015. Nucleotide variation
and balancing selection at the Ckma gene in Atlantic cod: analysis
with multiple merger coalescent models. PeerJ
e786. doi:10.7717/peerj.786

Bjarki Eldon and John Wakeley 2006. Coalescent processes when the
distribution of offspring number among individuals is highly
skewed. Genetics 172:2621-2633. doi:10.1534/genetics.105.052175

Bjarki Eldon, Matthias Birkner, Jochen Blath and Fabian Freund
2015. Can the site-frequency spectrum distinguish exponential
population growth from multiple-merger coalescents? Genetics 199:
841-856. doi:10.1534/genetics.114.173807

Fernando Racimo 2015. Testing for ancient selection using
cross-population allele frequency differentiation. Genetics

Joshua G. Schraiber and Steven N. Evans and Montgomery Slatkin
2016. Bayesian inference of natural selection from allele frequency
time series. Genetics 203: 493-511. doi:10.1534/genetics.116.187278

Appointments to positions at the University of Iceland are made in
consideration of the Equal Rights Policy of the University of Iceland.

The University of Iceland has a special Language Policy

The School of Engineering and Natural Sciences employs ca. 360 people
in academic positions. The School offers an international working
environment, with the number of international employees and students
increasing each year. Currently about quarter of all employees and
graduate students are international. There are around 2900 students at
the School, divided into six faculties, including approximately 350 MS
students and 150 doctoral students. Research institutes at the School
are the Science Institute that divides into the Institute of Earth
Sciences and Institute of Physical Sciences, Institute of Life and
Environmental Sciences, Engineering Research Institute and the
Institute for Sustainability Studies which is an interdisciplinary
institute and belongs to the five schools of the University of

The University of Iceland is the largest teaching, research and
science institute in Iceland and is ranked among the top 250
universities in the world by Times Higher Education.

More information about the University of Iceland can be found at the
University of Iceland website, Relocation Service

Further information

For further information, please contact Einar Arnason (


The application deadline is through the 16th July, 2018

Contact and application information
Monday, July 16, 2018
Contact name: