Postdoctoral position – Forest metatranscriptomics to SLU/ UPSC

Updated: 5 months ago
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The Department of Forest Genetics and Plant Physiology was founded in the late 1970s - when the College of Forestry moved to Umeå. The number of employees has since grown steadily is now around 100, including postdoctoral researchers and postgraduate students. In the late 1990s it was decided to join with the Department of Plant Physiology at Umeå University to form a research center, Umeå Plant Science Centre (UPSC). The Department of Forest Genetics and Plant Physiology moved into the premises adjacent to the partner department and together have developed a close and successful collaboration on research issues, technology platforms, and training of master's and doctoral level students. The international element within UPSC is large, with over 40 nationalities represented.

The department conducts introductory and advanced training in plant physiology, ecophysiology, plant molecular biology, forest genetics and forest biotechnology within the Forestry program and at the master level.

The department offers postgraduate studies in biology, specializing in plant physiology, ecophysiology, plant molecular biology and forest genetics. Postgraduate courses are generally held in cooperation with the Department of Plant Physiology.
For more information about the Department of Forest Genetics and Plant Physiology and UPSC visit

Carbon storage and cycling in boreal forests is moderated by complex interactions between trees and soil microorganisms. Advances in DNA sequencing have provided an unprecedented view into these complex microbial communities, but existing methods limit our ability to predict how changes in environmental conditions will alter these associations and the essential ecosystem services they provide. We recently developed a metatranscriptomic analytical pipeline for samples collected from a mature Norway spruce forest that captured the seasonally resolved transcriptomes of Norway spruce roots and more than 350 root associated fungal species ( ). This approach enabled us to link the functional response of host-trees to altered nutrient availability, with profound perturbations in the fungal community. Our objective going forward is to apply this methodology to additional forest types and settings to develop a more complete understanding of how these forests, and their linked microbiota, might adapt to future climate conditions.

Read more about our benefits and what it is like to work at SLU at


To plan and implement a transcriptomic analysis of RNA-Seq data collected from field sampled roots of mature Scots pine and Norway spruce trees, and coupled metatranscriptomics analysis of the linked fungal community, followed up by the preparation of associated manuscripts.


Highly motivated and team-oriented candidate with demonstrated experience in plant and/or fungal bioinformatics. To qualify, the incumbent should have a PhD in subjects relevant to the position, such as mycology or microbiology related to plant-microbe interactions, plant molecular genetics or plant biochemistry. Documented bioinformatics skills are essential and the candidate should be experienced with the analysis of next generation sequencing data, running analyses using high performance computer infrastructures, interpreting the results of differential expression analysis, and have a proven track record of driving such projects through to publication. Demonstrated knowledge and experience with analysing plant interactions with biotic partners would be highly desirable. In addition, previous experience with relevant public databases in genomics and molecular biology and good knowledge of statistics, e.g. hypothesis testing and enrichment analyses would be an asset.  Sound knowledge of, and skill in, at least one relevant programming or scripting language, e.g. R, Java, or Python is essential as well as experience in computational modelling of co-expression networks and of ontologies (particularly Gene Ontology), knowledge of biological pathway annotations and experience with the application of machine learning approaches to analysing transcriptomic data. Excellent English communication and writing skills are essential.

As postdoctoral appointments are career-developing positions for junior researchers, we are primarily looking for candidates with a doctoral degree that is three years old at most.

The diploma has to be written or translated into English or Swedish to be confirmed.

Place of work:


Form of employment:

Temporary employment 24 months, with the possibility of extension.



Starting date:

2023-08-01 or according to agreement.


We welcome your application no later than 2023-04-30, use the button below.

Academic union representatives:

The Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) has a key role in the development for sustainable life, based on science and education. Through our focus on the interaction between humans, animals and ecosystems and the responsible use of natural resources, we contribute to sustainable societal development and good living conditions on our planet. Our main campuses are located in Alnarp, Umeå and Uppsala, however, the university also operates at research stations, experimental forests and teaching sites throughout Sweden.

SLU has around 3,000 employees, 5,000 students and doctoral students and a turnover of over SEK 3 billion. We are investing in attractive environments on all of our campuses. We strive to provide a work environment characterised by inclusivity and gender equality, where different experiences generate conversations between people and pave the way for science, creativity and development. Therefore, we welcome applications from people with diverse backgrounds and perspectives.

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