2 Postdoc positions

The mathematics and biosciences group led by Joachim Hermisson and Himani Sachdeva at the University of Vienna is looking for strong and highly motivated candidates for two postdoc positions in evolutionary modeling.

Project: Genetics of Polygenic Adaptation

In recent years, following the massive inflow of data from GWAS, the genetics of complex traits has become one of the main fields of study in evolutionary research. Of particular interest - but so far poorly understood - are the dynamics of such traits during adaptive evolution. How does phenotypic adaptation typically proceed? Under what conditions do we see classic signatures of selective sweeps due to large and rapid changes in allele frequencies in the underlying genes? When does adaptation occur through subtle shifts at many loci, and how could these be detected from footprints in genomic data? What is the role of linkage, and when does selection act on extended haplotypes rather than on individual loci?

In two projects, we want to develop models for the adaptation of complex traits. One project deals with the change in adaptive architectures depending on the number of alleles involved. A particular interest is "oligogenic adaptation", the poorly understood parameter range between "monogenic adaptation" (described by population genetics) and "highly polygenic adaptation" (captured by classical quantitative genetic approaches). The second project focuses on signatures of highly polygenic adaptation involving selection on haplotypes with many small-effect ("infinitesimal") variants, and how selection response is influenced by linkage disequilibrium in the initial population. Both projects aim to understand key phenomena through analytical theory and link to genomic data through computational and statistical modeling.

Research environment: Vienna is not only one of the world's most liveable cities, but also the home of one of the largest communities of evolutionary research in Europe (www.evolVienna.at). The positions are part of the Collaborative Research Center "Polygenic Adaptation" funded by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF). This center brings together 8 research groups at four institutions in/around Vienna with the common goal of elucidating the evolutionary genetics of adaptation of complex phenotypes: N. Barghi, R. Kofler, C. Schlötterer (VetMed Uni); J. Hermisson, H. Sachdeva (Uni Vienna); M. Norborg, K. Swarts (GMI); N. Barton (IST Austria). For young scientists, this cluster offers a unique environment for interaction and personal growth.

Conditions: The positions are for 2 years (with potential extension), salary is according to FWF rates on the level of a postdoc. The starting date is January 2024 (with some flexibility).

Application: We are looking for candidates with a strong background in quantitative methods (analytical and computational modeling) in evolutionary research. Programming skills are highly appreciated. Applicants should have completed their PhD in a relevant field at the latest by the start of the position. The working language in the group is English. German skills are not essential.

Formal applications including CV, publication list, research statement and the names and addresses of 3 referees should be sent to Joachim Hermisson and Himani Sachdeva (joachim.hermisson[AT]univie.ac.at, himani.sachdeva[AT]univie.ac.at). For further information, interested candidates are encouraged to send an informal inquiry beforehand. In this case, please also include a brief statement of interest and a CV.

The selection process will start July 16th and continue until the positions are filled.


... new opportunities may always arise, and interested students are encouraged to contact Joachim Hermisson or one of the staff members. We can then talk about future job openings, joint grant applications etc. However, to receive consideration, please make clear your specific interest in mathematical biology and in the work of our group, as well as your specific qualifications. Inquiries without any direct relation to our work will not be answered.