PhD position exploring fish biology through functional genomics

The Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU)

NMBU has a special responsibility for research and education that ensures the basis of life for future generations.

Sustainability is rooted in everything we do and we provide knowledge for life.

NMBU has 1700 employees and 5200 students and is organized in seven faculties. NMBU has a campus in Ås and in Oslo. In the autumn of 2020 we are co-located on Ås.

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About the position

The Department of Animal- and Aquacultural Sciences ( IHA ), Faculty of Biosciences ( BIOVIT ), at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) is inviting applications for a 3-year PhD studentship exploring functional genomics in fish species and due to start in 2020.

The successful candidate will be funded by NMBU, and their project will be integrated with the EU funded AQUA-FAANG project which seeks to generate genome-wide maps of functional elements for six commercially important fish species within European aquaculture and exploit their contribution to variation in traits of commercial relevance, focusing on improved resistance to disease.

The successful candidate will join CIGENE , a multidisciplinary genome biology research group possessing expertise in genetics, evolutionary and comparative genomics, bioinformatics and systems biology. Located within the Department of Animal- and Aquacultural Sciences, this group includes 2 full-time professors, 2 associate professors, 1 center coordinator, 11 researchers, 4 postdocs, 8 PhD students and 10 research technicians.

CIGENE has a strong aqua- and agriresearch profile, with key strengths in the application of ‘omics’ data to understand the genetic architecture of complex traits. The group wishes to use functional genomics technologies, including gene editing, to better understand the biology underlying specific genotype-phenotype associations. CIGENE has excellent wet and dry lab facilities for automated high-throughput omics, and bioinformatics.

Main tasks

AQUA-FAANG activities will reveal the locations of specific classes of regulatory proteins within the Atlantic salmon genome. Relating this information to gene expression data allows us to speculate about the nature of gene regulatory mechanisms. However other key protein classes and protein modifications which are not explored by AQUA-FAANG may also have a significant role in gene regulation.

The successful candidate will perform experiments and analysis to improve our understanding of functional mechanisms of gene regulation. This analysis can include surveying other functional elements, exploring the role of structural variation on gene expression and using CRISPR-Cas9 to functionally test hypothetical regulatory mechanisms. The candidate's project will have a heavy focus on wet-lab work but bioinformatic analysis will be a crucial element to success.

The candidate must carry out high-level research relevant for the project, including critical assessment of the literature, planning and performance of experiments, method development, oral presentations and discussion of the work, and writing scientific publications.

The successful candidate is expected to have a PhD education plan approved by BIOVIT within the first months of appointment, and to complete the PhD by the end of the project period.

Qualifications and skills

The successful applicant must meet the conditions defined for admission to a PhD programme at NMBU. The applicant must have an academically relevant education corresponding to a five-year Norwegian degree programme, where 120 credits are at master's degree level. The applicant must have a documented strong academic background from previous studies and be able to document proficiency in both written and oral English. For more detailed information on the admission criteria please see the PhD Regulations and the relevant PhD programme description.
The applicant must document expertise and interest in the research subject.

Required qualifications and competence :

  • Master's degree in genomics, molecular biology, cell biology or similar
  • Recent, practical lab experience related to the techniques and methods mentioned under Main Tasks
  • Familiarity with at least one programming language (R, python, perl, etc.)
  • Excellent communication skills (both written and oral) to the scientific community and to a broader audience

Desired qualifications and competence:

  • A broad understanding of genomic/transcriptomic/epigenomic techniques and data

Required personal skills:

  • Highly motivated and enthusiastic, willing to take personal responsibility for the success of their degree
  • Prepared to perform independent work displaying initiative and careful creative thought on a day-to-day basis, but within a larger team structure
  • Analytical and academic approach to research questions
  • Excellent collaborative and social skills
  • Proficiency in English, both written and spoken. Proficiency in Norwegian is not required but is advantageous.

The optimal candidate will be open to new ideas, flexible, engaged and goal-oriented.

Remuneration and information

The position is placed in government pay scale position code 1017 PhD Fellow, wage framework 20, salary grade 51-62. PhD Fellows are normally placed in pay grade 51 (NOK 449 400) on the Norwegian Government salary scale upon employment depending on qualifications. The position follows ordinary meriting regulations.

For further information, please contact project leader Dr. Matthew Kent by email: , or phone +47 4736-2026; or group leader prof. Sigbjørn Lien by email: , or phone +47 9135-3715

Information for PhD applicants and general information to applicants


To apply online for this vacancy, please click on the 'Apply for this job' button above. This will route you to the University's Web Recruitment System, where you will need to register an account (if you have not already) and log in before completing the online application form.

Application deadline: May 5th 2019

Applications should include (electronically) a letter of intent, curriculum vitae, full publication list, copies of degree certificates and transcripts of academic records (all certified), and a list of two persons who may act as references (with phone numbers and e-mail addresses). Publications should be included electronically within the application deadline. The relevant NMBU Department may require further documentation, e.g. proof of English proficiency.

If it is difficult to judge the applicant’s contribution for publications with multiple authors, a short description of the applicant’s contribution must be included.


BIOVIT is organized into two departments: Department of Animal and Aquacultural Sciences and Department of Plant Sciences .

Department of Animal and Aquacultural Sciences provides fundamental, innovative research and practical solutions to improve productivity and sustainability across the agriculture and aquaculture sector. Currently, disciplines within the department include Animal Nutrition and Feed Technology, Ethology and Animal Environment, Breeding and Quantitative Genetics, and Genome Biology.

The main objective of BIOVIT is to contribute to the development of sustainable agriculture and food production systems through basic and applied research on plants and animals including fish (aquaculture). The faculty houses Centre for Integrative Genetics (CIGENE) and the research center for Research-based Innovation (SFI) – Foods of Norway.

The faculty is responsible for bachelor- and master programmes in Biology, Animal Science and Plant Science, and international master programmes in Agroecology, Plant Science, Aquaculture, Animal Breeding Genetics and Feed Manufacturing Technology. PhD programmes include Animal Science and Aquaculture, and Plant Sciences. There are currently 480 bachelor and master students, and 90 PhD students, enrolled in these programmes. The faculty has approximately 220 permanent and temporary scientific employees, including technicians, and 18 administrative positions.


Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU)



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