Postdoc position in early life human virome

If you have experience with microbiology, microbiome research and/or analysis of metagenome data, then you could be exactly what we’re looking for.

In recent years, we have begun to understand the important role of the human microbiome in protecting us from chronic disease. The vast majority of human microbiome research has focused on the bacterial communities inhabiting our bodies, and we have found that the compositions of both gut and airways in the first year of life are important determinants for later asthma and allergy development. However, viruses are at least as abundant as bacteria in the human organism and while only a fraction infect human cells, most, so called bacteriophages, infect bacteria. In this project, we want to understand whether viruses also affect early life health and disease development through childhood.

Copenhagen Prospective Studies on Asthma in Childhood (COPSAC) is an internationally renowned research group consisting of approx. 45 employees all dedicated to revealing the causes of childhood asthma, allergy and eczema, as well as other chronic diseases in children. We have extensive data from children on the many aspects of these diseases including symptoms, but also their general health, their genetics, epigenetics, metabolomics and immunological profiles.

In the COPSAC microbiome group, we work with microbial data from 700 mother-child pairs collected longitudinally from pregnancy up through childhood including samples from the gut, respiratory tract, skin, mothers’ vagina and infants’ bed dust. So far, we have about 7,000 samples characterized with16S sequencing, and additionally with metagenomics for certain samples. Viromes have been deeply sequenced in the gut of the 700 children at age one year, and over the postdoc project period, we will also get viromes sequenced from mothers’ vaginas in pregnancy and the early airways and gut of all cohort children in an effort which is unmatched worldwide. The virome project is done in close collaboration with the lab of Professor Dennis S. Nielsen, Department of Food Science, University of Copenhagen.

From microbiome studies, we know that the bacterial development and maturation are immense and dynamic from birth and that the environment plays a big role for the early colonization patterns. In the proposed project, the new virome dataset will allow you to evaluate whether the same holds true for viruses and compare these patterns over time to the development of health and disease in children. Interrelatedness between disease associated bacterial compositions and the virome composition will allow for mechanistic insight into whether the virome exerts a direct effect on disease development or only acts through bacterial manipulation, which will be an important part of the project to disentangle.

As a Postdoc at COPSAC you’ll:

  • Join the microbiome group and contribute with the analysis of our complex clinical and microbiological data
  • Get the opportunity to create your own research profile based on your experience and interests
  • Join a highly qualified team of microbiologists, bioinformaticians, medical doctors and clinicians
  • Get the support of a large administrative team of data managers, IT support, and fundraising
  • Be part of a well-functioning and inspiring workplace with a sincere and fun atmosphere
  • Get loads of opportunities for bouncing ideas off colleagues and seeking advice
Your profile:

  • You have a PhD or equivalent experience, likely within microbiology, bioinformatics or molecular biomedicine
  • You have extensive experience in performing and interpreting statistical analyses in R or equivalent analysis language and have many scalable tools at your disposal, including for multivariate visualization and statistical analysis. You may also have experience with applied machine learning.
  • You have experience within metagenomics, microbiome analyses or comparative genomics.
  • You have a good understanding of how microbiological systems work and evolve
  • You are curious and passionate and would like to be in the front line, where research makes a difference
  • You’d like to join a team and help support the group, but are also comfortable working independently, exploring own ideas
  • You enjoy communicating science, writing papers and exploring new ideas in grant proposals
Help make a difference

You will play a crucial role as a postdoctoral fellow in a highly interdisciplinary research environment, which publishes scientific articles in the highest-ranking international journals. We have strong ambitions with plenty of space for sparring and professional development. You will work within a team of colleagues who are all passionate about their work and proud of their achievements. The research group is in the limelight, internationally, and the research topic enjoys great public interest. We have an amazing transnational and informal working environment, characterized by a pleasant atmosphere.

Are you interested?

If you want to know more about the position, please contact Jakob Stokholm (+45 38677497) or Marianne Mikkelsen (+45 38673636) or read more about the research center at: www.copsac.com

The position is a 2-year project position. Application deadline is 1st of December, 2020. Salary and employment will be by agreement and according to current rules in the Capital Region of Denmark.


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