Doctoral student in Biology

Updated: 2 months ago
Job Type: FullTime
Deadline: 26 Feb 2021

Doctoral student in Computational Biology

Subject description

Ancient DNA (aDNA) has changed the studies of history, enabling us to directly analyze early genetic variation. In recent years, there has been a sharp increase in the amount of collected aDNA and high-profile studies, but insufficient information about timing and geographical origin has limited the usefulness of the collected data and resulted in many erroneous reports. The project aims to develop machine learning tools to date aDNA and predict the geographical origin of the DNA material. The methods will be used to reconstruct the origin of domestic horses and their contribution to the success of Scandinavian Vikings.

Work duties

The candidate will work jointly with Dr. Eran Elhaik, Dr. Patrik Eden, and Prof. Eske Willerslev (at the University of Copenhagen), to develop statistical methods for a project in population genetics. This is a multi-disciplinary project involving programming and modeling. In addition, the project will involve collaborations with researchers in other disciplines, including biomathematics, biostatistics, and molecular biology. 

The main duties of doctoral students are to devote themselves to their research studies which includes participating in research projects and third cycle courses. The work duties can also include teaching and other departmental duties (no more than 20%).

Admission requirements

A person meets the general admission requirements for third-cycle courses and study programmes if he or she:

  • has been awarded a second-cycle qualification, or
  • has satisfied the requirements for courses comprising at least 240 credits of which at least 60 credits were awarded in the second cycle, or
  • has acquired substantially equivalent knowledge in some other way in Sweden or abroad.

A person meets the specific admission requirements for third cycle studies in Biology if he or she has:

· passed an independent project (e.g., degree project) of at least 30 credits in a relevant subject and have good oral and written proficiency in English.

· Equivalent knowledge acquired through corresponding programs will be assessed individually.

· To enable interdisciplinary initiatives and important specializations in certain areas, students with qualifications in subjects other than Biology may be considered for admission.

Additional requirements and merits:

  • Candidates must have a Master's degree in computational biology, physics, computer science, statistics, or a similar field.
  • Candidates must have strong computer/programming skills in R, Python, or a similar language and math/statistics
  • Candidate should have a practical experience with genetics, evolution, big data or machine learning methods.
  • Candidates are expected to have an interest in biology and history alongside strong computational skills with a background in statistics, physics, computer science, and/or a related field.
  • Candidates are also expected to have fundamental knowledge and experience with Machine Learning methods.
  • Candidate must be driven with a good ability to work both independently and as part of a group.
  • Candidate should have good teaching skills.
  • Candidate must have very good oral and written proficiency in English.

Assessment criteria

Selection for third-cycle studies is based on the student’s potential to profit from such studies. The assessment of potential is made primarily on the basis of academic results from the first and second cycle. Special attention is paid to the following:

1. Knowledge and skills relevant to the thesis project and the subject of study.
2. An assessment of ability to work independently and to formulate and tackle research problems.
3. Written and oral communication skills
4. Other experience relevant to the third-cycle studies, e.g. professional experience.

Other assessment criteria:

Consideration will also be given to good collaborative skills, drive and independence, and how the applicant, through his or her experience and skills, is deemed to have the abilities necessary for successfully completing the third cycle programme.

Terms of employment

Limit of tenure, four years according to HF 5 kap 7§. Only those admitted to third cycle studies may be appointed to a doctoral studentship. Third cycle studies consist of full-time studies for 4 years. A doctoral studentship is a fixed-term employment of a maximum of 5 years (including 20% departmental duties). Doctoral studentships are regulated in the Higher Education Ordinance (1993:100), chapter 5, 1-7 §§.

Instructions on how to apply

Applications should be written in English and be compiled into a PDF-file containing:

1. Cover letter (your background, why are you interested in the position, and in what way the research project corresponds to your interests and educational background, your goals, and start date)

2. Résumé/CV, including a list of publications.

3. A general description of past research and future research interests (no more than three pages).

4. Your scientific publication (if relevant to the rsearch topic)

5. Contact information of at least three references.

6. Copy of the Master's degree certificate or equivalent and grades for the MSc, and BA studies.


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