[Taxacom] Doctoral Research Fellowship (=PhD studentship) in Comparative Genomics

Vladimir Gusarov vladimir.gusarov at nhm.uio.no
Fri Mar 20 08:50:22 CDT 2020

Doctoral Research Fellowship in Comparative Genomics


Job description

Applications are invited for a 4 year position in a Research Fellowship 
as a PhD Candidate in Comparative Genomics to be based at the Natural 
History Museum, University of Oslo.

The purpose of the fellowship is research training leading to the 
successful completion of a PhD degree. The fellowship requires admission 
to the PhD program at the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences. 
Appointment to a research fellowship is conditional upon admission to 
the Faculty’s research training program. A plan for the research 
training must be submitted no later than two months after taking up the 
position, and the admission approved within three months.

Compulsory service, duty work, shall represent 25% of the total hours of 

More about the position

The subject of the PhD project will part of the recently founded 
RCN-project “InvertOmics - Phylogeny and evolution of lophotrochozoan 
invertebrates based on genomic data”. The origin and evolution of 
Bilateria is controversially discussed in several biological disciplines 
such as systematics or evolutionary developmental biology. In one 
hypothesis, evolution in Bilateria advances from a simple body 
organization similar to flatworms towards more complex forms several 
times independently. In the other one, the evolution progresses in the 
opposite direction from a complex ancestor more like an annelid to 
simple organizations by several separate reductions. Support for one or 
the other depends on the phylogeny and evolution of Lophotrochozoa, one 
of the major bilaterian taxa, but a robust phylogeny is still lacking 
despite recent phylogenomic studies. This is due to both low coverage by 
genomic data and misleading biases in data of lophotrochozoan taxa. In 
this project, high-quality reference genomes shall be generated and new 
procedures to both ameliorate negative effects of biases and establish a 
new support measurement, which is entirely different from all recent 
support measurements. Due to both the large genomic dataset and these 
thorough analyses, a robust phylogeny of Lophotrochozoa shall be 
provided allowing contributions to discussions about the origin and 
evolution of Bilateria as well as of lophotrochozoan taxa and character 

The aim of this PhD project as part of InvertOmics is to concentrate on 
the problem of reconstructing the phylogeny of Lophotrochozoa from the 
data side. Therefore, new high-quality genomes for 50 lophotrochozoan 
species covering all 16 lophotrochozoan phyla shall be generated. Modern 
genome sequencing strategies combining long and short reads will be 
employed. As several lophotrochozoan species have very small body sizes 
(< 500 μm length) this is challenging, but existing protocols for 
single-cell genomics shall be optimized for single small-sized 
individuals collected from natural populations as part of the project. 
These data together with publicly available genomes will be used to 
reconstruct the phylogeny of Lophotrochozoa and address possible biases 
in the dataset using newly developed approaches as part of this
project (see the accompanying advertisement for a PostDoc position). The 
phylogenetic reconstructions will be used to trace the evolution of 
different character traits within Lophotrochozoa and Bilateria, which 
also take into account the uncertainty of relationships. Therefore, 
modern macro-evolutionary tools to reconstruct ancestral states will be 

The Natural History Museum has a modern DNA laboratory as well as access 
to the Norwegian Supercomputer facilities. The PhD will be associated 
with the research group “Frontiers in Evolutionary Zoology”, 
specifically Torsten Struck (Professor of Evolutionary Genomics).

Qualification requirements

- Applicants must hold a Master’s degree or equivalent in biology or 
related disciplines like bioinformatics.
- A good command of English is required.
- We seek a person with strong motivation for research in genomics.
- The candidate must be skilled in general molecular laboratory practices.
- Experience with next-generation sequencing of genomes is required and 
working with small amounts of tissue material (i.e., whole genome 
amplification) is preferable.
- Computing skills and background in bioinformatics to assemble and 
annotate genomes are expected.

Evaluation of the application

In assessing applications, particular emphasis will be placed upon the 
academic and personal ability of the candidate to complete the project 
within the given timeframe and write a PhD thesis under supervision. 
Interviews with selected candidates will be arranged. Please also refer 
to the English translation of regulations pertaining to the conditions 
of employment for research fellowship positions: 

A good command of English is required: 

We offer

- salary NOK 479 600 - 523 200 per annum depending on qualifications in 
a position as PhD Research fellow, (position code 1017)
- challenging research questions and friendly working environment, which 
is close to both the city center of Oslo, a vibrant and international 
city, which is nice to live in, and to nature parks and mountains
- full funding of the project research-related activities, including 
molecular lab work and presentation of results at international conferences.
- membership in the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund
- attractive welfare benefits

How to apply

The application must include:

- Application letter
- CV (summarizing education, positions and academic work, scientific 
publications and other relevant experience)
- Copies of educational certificates and letters of recommendation 
(others than the ones from the referees below)
- List of publications and academic work that the applicant wishes to be 
considered by the evaluating committee
- A one-page statement explaining how a PhD in comparative genomics will 
fit into the applicant’s career plan
- Names and contact details of 2-3 referees (name, affiliation, relation 
to candidate, e-mail and telephone number)

The application with attachments must be delivered in our electronic 
recruiting system, please follow the link “apply for this job”. Foreign 
applicants are advised to attach an explanation of their University's 
grading system. Please note that all documents should be in English (or 
a Scandinavian language).

Formal regulations

Please see the guidelines and regulations for appointments to Research 
Fellowships at the University of Oslo.

No one can be appointed for more than one PhD Research Fellowship period 
at the University of Oslo.

According to the Norwegian Freedom of Information Act (Offentleglova) 
information about the applicant may be included in the public applicant 
list, also in cases where the applicant has requested non-disclosure.

The appointment may be shortened/given a more limited scope within the 
framework of the applicable guidelines on account of any previous 
employment in academic positions.

The University of Oslo has an agreement for all employees, aiming to 
secure rights to research results etc.

Contact information

About the position: Professor Torsten Hugo Struck: t.h.struck at nhm.uio.no
About the recruiting system: HR-Adviser Thomas Brånå: 
thomas.brana at nhm.uio.no

The University of Oslo is Norway’s oldest and highest ranked educational 
and research institution, with 28 000 students and 7000 employees. With 
its broad range of academic disciplines and internationally recognised 
research communities, UiO is an important contributor to society.

The Natural History Museum at the University of Oslo is Norway’s most 
comprehensive natural history collection. For almost 200 years, 
specimens of animals, fungi, plants, rocks, minerals and fossils have 
been collected, studied and preserved here. The museum is located at 
Økern and in the beautiful Botanical Garden, which is not only popular 
for recreation, but is a scientific collection in itself.

Deadline: 14.04.2020.


Vladimir Gusarov, Ph.D.
Curator of Entomology
Department of Zoology
Natural History Museum
University of Oslo                           \\ /
P.O. Box 1172 Blindern                   ooooDD0-0C
NO-0318 Oslo                                 // \
Tel +47 22851703
Fax +47 22851837
email: vladimir.gusarov at nhm.uio.no

Visiting address (and non - P.O. Box address for courier deliveries):
Department of Zoology
Natural History Museum
University of Oslo
Sars Gate 1
NO-0562 Oslo

Insect collection: http://www.nhm.uio.no/english/research/nsi/collection/
Personal web page: 
Internet resources for Staphylinidae: 


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