postdoc position at University of Iceland

Postdoctoral position in evolutionary genomics at the Institute of Life- and Environmental Sciences, University of Iceland

A postdoctoral position in population and evolutionary genomics is available in the research group of Einar Arnason at the Institute of Life- and Environmental Sciences (ILES) at University of Iceland. We are looking for a highly motivated individual with strong computational skills, extensive experience working in the Linux environment, and strong interest in evolutionary and population genomics, to analyze and interpret extensive and unique whole-genome sequence data sampled from various gadid populations.

Field of work

Project title and description

Population genomics of highly fecund codfish

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 (id 185151-051) 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. The grant of excellence project is concerned with, among other things, understanding the mode of reproduction of gadids, mechanism of speciation, inferring the phylogeny of gadids, and identifying genetic units which may be under strong selection. 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 at Copenhagen University, and Tim Sackton which is Director of Bioinformatics at Harvard University. This is a highly interdisciplinary project combining latest molecular technology, and advanced statistical and bioinformatic analysis. We will maintain good communication and collaboration between all participants. The position therefore comes with possibilities to visit participating labs and groups in Berlin, Berkeley, and Cambridge (MA). We would expect the postdoc to (i) work on ideas already developed in the project, and (ii) develop new ideas and new methods to analyze and understand the data.

Qualification requirements

PhD in computational biology, evolutionary or population genetics, or related fields;

demonstrated research ability in the form of publications and presentations; ability to work both independently and within a team;

proficiency in written and spoken English

Strong experience working in the UNIX/Linux environment.

Strong interest in evolutionary and population genomics is an asset.

Experience in analyzing whole-genome sequences is an asset.

Programming experience in e.g. Python, R, Perl, C, C++, also is an asset.

How to apply

Please include in your application:

i) A 1-3 page motivation letter, which should state your interest in the project, what makes you qualified for the position, and your ideas for how to move the project forward;

ii) CV and publication list;

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

iv) contact information for 2-3 letters of reference

APPLY by filling out form for vacancy nr. 355

The successful applicant could anticipate to start work as early as July/August2018, with funding guaranteed for three years. This is a full-time position.

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

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.

Some relevant articles

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

Katrín Halldórsdóttir and Einar Árnason 2015. Whole-genome sequencing uncovers cryptic and hybrid species among Atlantic and Pacific cod-fish. BioRxiv, doi:10.1101/034926.

Fernando Racimo 2015. Testing for ancient selection using cross-population allele frequency differentiation. Genetics 202:733-750.

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 Iceland.

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

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