EvoCELL Research fellow (PhD candidate) in Mesoderm Evolution University of Bergen, Sars International Centre for Marine Molecular Biology (Sars Centre) Norway

The University of Bergen (UiB) is an internationally recognised research university with more than 14,000 students and close to 3,500 employees at six faculties. The university is located in the heart of Bergen. Our main contribution to society is excellent basic research and education across a wide range of disciplines.


Sars International Centre for Marine Molecular Biology (Sars Centre) is situated at the Marine­holmen campus together with other research institutes at the University. The Sars Centre is partner with European Molecular Biological Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, Germany and is organized directly under the Rector at UiB.


EvoCELL Research fellow (PhD candidate) in Mesoderm Evolution


There is a vacancy for a PhD position (Early Stage Researcher) for a fixed term of 3 years at the Sars International Centre for Marine Molecular Biology affiliated with the project “Mesoderm Evolution". The Sars Centre belongs to the University of Bergen, and is partner of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL). The position is in collaboration with the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences at the University of Bergen. The place of work will be at the Sars Centre. The starting date is negotiable but no later than 01st August 2018.


This PhD position is subject to funding by the MSC Innovative Training Network “EvoCELL” (https://www.evocell-itn.eu). EvoCELL is a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network aiming at studying the evolution of cell-types and tissues in a diverse array of vertebrates and invertebrates. To do so, the labs involved in the network will use the most recent single-cell and tissue genomic techniques, merging them with more traditional disciplines. EvoCELL ambitious training programme, also in the non-academic sector. Scientific outreach and communication of the project results to a wider public are a fundamental part of the project and all fellows will contribute to it. The network brings together 8 academic and 2 non-academic organisations from 6 European countries.


About the project/work tasks:


The research group, headed by Andreas Hejnol, studies the evolution of animal organ systems using a broad diversity of animal taxa (e.g. nemerteans, priapulids, rotifers, gastrotrichs). The group is particularly interested in studying the molecular and cellular basis of organ system development using a comparative approach.


The project addresses the question about the relationship between germ line, gonadal tissue and the embryonic mesoderm. Different animal lineages specify the germ line at different timepoints during the development and the molecular basis for these specification and timing is unknown in many lineages. Furthermore, it has been declared that gonadal tissue is a mesodermal derivative, but it remains unclear for most lineages. The aim of this project is to use single-cell transcriptomics to characterize in detail putative commonalities and differences of the germ line cells, stem cells and early mesodermal blastomeres including the cells that form the gonads. To determine the evolutionary origin of the different cell types the candidate will conduct comparative developmental transcriptomic analyses in different animal lineages that show variable patterns in cell specifications such as acoelomorphs, priapulids, brachiopods and hemichordates.


The embryology/development and differentiation of these tissues will be studied using techniques such as Histology, TEM, molecular biology, live-imaging, physiology, genome editing and single-cell sequencing. The successful candidate will work in close association with the group leader and other lab members with the aim to eventually contribute to the further development of the project in line with his/her interests.


Qualifications and personal qualities:

  • At the time of recruitment, the candidate must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in Norway for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to start of the project. Short stays such as holidays and/or compulsory national service are not taken into account. Candidates can be of any nationality, but are required to undertake transnational mobility. Candidates must be within the first four years of their research career (measured from the date when they obtained the degree which formally entitles them to embark on a doctorate in the country in which the degree was obtained). Applications from candidates who already possess a doctoral degree will not be considered.
  • The applicant must hold a master's degree or the equivalent in a biological field, or must have submitted the master's thesis for evaluation before expiry of the application deadline. It is a condition of employment that the master's degree has been awarded
  • Experience in molecular biology and embryology methods is essential while experience in morphology and bioinformatics are highly desirable
  • A high motivation is essential. 
  • Ability to work both independently and in close collaboration with others in a structured manner
  • Proficiency in both written and oral English


About the research training:

As a PhD Candidate, you must participate in an approved educational programme for a PhD degree within a period of 3 years. A final plan for the implementation of the research training must be approved by the faculty within three months after you have commenced in the position. It is a condition that you satisfy the enrolment requirements for the PhD programme at the University of Bergen.


We can offer:

  • Early Stage Researchers will enjoy a multi-disciplinary and international environment with plenty of training opportunities and exchange with all labs involved in the Network.
  • A professional, challenging and international working environment
  • Well-equipped and modern laboratories
  • Starting salary at pay grade 50 upon appointment (code 1017/pay grade 20/alt. 8); currently NOK 436.900 gross p.a. Further promotions are made according to length of service in the position.
  • Enrolment in the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund
  • A position in an inclusive workplace (IA enterprise)
  • Good welfare benefits


Your application in English must include:

  • A brief account of the applicant's research interests and motivation for applying for the position
  • The names and contact information for two reference persons. One of these must be the main advisor for the master's thesis or equivalent thesis.
  • CV
  • Transcripts and diplomas showing completion of the bachelor's and master's degrees, or official confirmation that your master's thesis has been submitted
  • Relevant certificates/references
  • List of publications or other relevant scientific work


The application and appendices with certified translations into English must be uploaded at Jobbnorge. Please go to “Apply for this job” ("Søk stillingen") at the top right of this page. Please note that applications will be assessed only with the information available in JobbNorge when the deadline expires. It is the applicant's responsibility to ensure that all relevant attachments are submitted by the deadline.


Applications by e-mail only will not be considered.


Application deadline: 18 February 2018


General information:

Detailed information about the position can be obtained by contacting Group Leader Dr. Andreas Hejnol, tel. +47 55 58 43 28, email andreas.hejnol@uib.no


The state labour force shall reflect the diversity of Norwegian society to the greatest extent possible. Age and gender balance among employees is therefore a goal. It is also a goal to recruit people with immigrant backgrounds. People with immigrant backgrounds and people with disabilities are encouraged to apply for the position.


The University of Bergen applies the principle of public access to information when recruiting staff for academic positions.


Information about applicants may be made public even if the applicant has asked not to be named on the list of persons who have applied. The applicant must be notified if the request to be omitted is not met.


The successful applicant must comply with the guidelines that apply to the position at all times. 

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