The Department of Biosciences, Department of Computer Science and Institute of Biotechnology, at the University of Helsinki, invite applications for a three year


Evolution connects all living organisms and is the common thread across all of biology. Organisms evolve to better survive in their environments and to adapt to new challenges. This leads to complex dynamical scenarios, which are presently understood only in a limited way. Understanding evolution is one of the most intriguing scientific topics due to its ability to unify often seemingly disjoint fields of biology. Furthermore, quantitative understanding of evolution is a prerequisite to successfully combat pathogens, pests and loss of biodiversity. For instance, identifying genetic variants which contribute to the emergence of drug resistance, a question with importance for the treatment of pathogens, and of cancer, is a challenge of understanding the evolution of these populations. Big Data provide new opportunities to study in detail how populations evolve. However, data alone, without theory and scalable algorithms to extract information from it, is not sufficient to make progress. The Mustonen Group develops computational algorithms and theory to better understand evolution. The work is cross-disciplinary and we have a record of successful research collaborations working together with clinicians and experimentalists.

We are now seeking a highly motivated researcher with strong quantitative skills to work on one of the following themes:

• Theory and methods for evolutionary prediction and control (1,2)
• Algorithms for biomedical applications of Big Data (3,4)
• Characterisation of the emergence of drug resistance (5)

The ideal candidate will have extensive experience in genomic data analyses, machine learning and evolution. However, as our research is cross-disciplinary it is possible to contribute coming from several different fields. Thus, we welcome applications from exceptional candidates, with a quantitative background, from other fields. However, it is essential to have a genuine interest in Biology and Evolution. It is also important for the candidate to have strong programming skills and experience in working with large data sets.

Knowledge, skills and experience required: E = Essential, D = Desirable
• Genuine interest in Biology and Evolution (E)
• PhD in a relevant subject area (Physics, Mathematics, Computer Science, Engineering, Statistics, Computational Biology, Bioinformatics, Genetics, Molecular Biology) (E)
• Ability to develop novel quantitative models and read mathematical literature (E)
• Experience in formulating statistical models and applying them to real data (D)
• Full working proficiency in a scripting language (e.g. Python, R, Perl) and UNIX/Linux (E), and in a compiled language (e.g. C, C++) and cluster based computing (D)
• Ability to work independently, organise workload, and communicate ideas and results (E)
• Strong publishing record (E)
• Knowledge of genomics and molecular biology (D)
• Proven record in problem solving, data analysis and generation of novel ideas (D)

Please submit your application as a single pdf file which includes:

• CV and list of publications
• a copy of your transcript records (i.e. printout of the courses completed during MSc/PhD)
• contact details of two references (e.g. MSc/PhD thesis supervisors)
• a cover letter with a description of your research interests

The postdoctoral researcher will be employed on a full-time, fixed term, three-year contract with a four-month probation. The salary will be based on level 5 of the demands level chart for teaching and research personnel in the salary system of Finnish universities. In addition, the appointee will be paid a salary component based on personal performance with the overall salary amounting to approximately 3 000-3 500 €/month (gross). All standard pension benefits and occupational health care are provided for university employees.

To apply, please submit your application using the University of Helsinki electronic recruitment system by clicking on Apply for job. Internal applicants (i.e. current employees of the University of Helsinki) must submit their applications through the SAP HR portal. Apply at latest on 26th of May 2017, start date for the position is negotiable.

For more information, please contact Prof. Ville Mustonen (v.mustonen@helsinki.fi).

1. Lässig M, Mustonen V, Walczak AM (2017) Predicting Evolution. Nature Eco Evol 1:0077.
2. Fischer A, Vázquez-García I, Mustonen V (2015) The value of monitoring to control evolving populations. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 112(4):1007–1012.
3. McKerrell T, et al. (2016) Development and validation of a comprehensive genomic diagnostic tool for myeloid malignancies. Blood. doi:10.1182/blood-2015-11-683334.
4. Fischer A, Vázquez-García I, Illingworth CJR, Mustonen V (2014) High-definition reconstruction of clonal composition in cancer. Cell Reports 7(5):1740–1752.
5. Vázquez-García I, Salinas F, Li J, Fischer A, Barré B, Hallin J, Bergström A, Alonso-Perez E, Warringer J, Mustonen V, Liti G Background-dependent effects of selection on subclonal heterogeneity. http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/039859

Apply at latest 28.05.2017


Sunday, May 28, 2017