Written by 2:59 am post-doctoral researcher

 Postdoctoral researcher, Computational Microbial Ecology research Group


Deadline: 4th March, 2024

Computational Microbial Ecology (CME, helsinki.fi/en/researchgroups/computational-microbial-ecolog y) research group led by Associate Professor Tommi Vatanen at the Institute of Biotechnology (Helsinki Institute of Life Science, University of Helsinki) is looking for a postdoctoral researcher with background in neural network models . The group  develops computational models, machine learning and bioinformatics to understand the dynamics of human microbial communities – predominantly the gut microbiomes – and their implications to human development, health and wellbeing. 

About the position: 

In this position, you will be responsible for developing and implementing deep neural networks and large language models to analyze metagenomic datasets, specifically focusing on DNA sequencing of microbial communities. Potential applications encompass a broad spectrum, including gene functional annotation using large language models and graph convolutional networks, modeling and predicting molecular interactions (such as drug-like molecule and receptor interactions, and bacteriophage-host interactions), and predicting health outcomes based on medical history and multiomics data of preterm infants, incorporating metagenomics and metabolomics.

You will have access to distinctive human cohort datasets, including gut metagenomes from both healthy and vulnerable infants participating in fecal microbiota transplant trials. The models developed will contribute to understanding the microbiome’s role in human health and improving health outcomes.The laboratory collaborates with renowned institutions like The Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Harvard School of Public Health, and The Liggins Institute, offering valuable networking and training opportunities within the microbiome research community.

They are actively seeking a highly motivated, enthusiastic, and creative individual with strong teamwork skills to join their team. Candidates should possess a PhD degree in computer/data science, computational biology, or related fields, and experience in working with biological applications would be highly advantageous. Proficiency in written and verbal communication skills in English is essential.

The initial appointment is for a two-year period, with the possibility of extension. A trial period of six months will be implemented, and salaries will be based on the University salary scheme for teaching and research personnel, consisting of task-specific and personal performance components. The monthly gross salary will commence between €3,400 and €4,000, depending on the applicant’s level of experience.

The offer

  • Competitive salary, local infrastructure and a top-level interdisciplinary and international collaboration network 
  • Exceptional computational resources from the Finnish IT Center for Science (CSC) 
  • Training for state-of-the-art microbiome bioinformatics (if needed) 
  • Possibility to visit collaborators at the Broad Institute, Harvard University, or University of Auckland (according to training needs and candidate preferences) 
  • Supportive and non-discriminative working environment 

Finland is a member of the EU, has high quality free schooling (also in English), generous family benefits and healthcare, and was recently ranked as the best country in the world for expat families and in the world’s top ten most livable cities. Finland and the Helsinki region possess top expertise in sciences in terms of a vibrant talent pool, leading research, strong support services and functioning collaboration networks. For more information about working at the University of Helsinki and living in Finland, please see helsinki.fi/en/university/working-at-the-university.  

The application should consist of a motivation letter stating your research interests (one page, including experience and motivation to work with biological problems and metagenomic data), CV and contact information of at least 2 references in a single pdf file and be submitted through the University of Helsinki electronic recruitment system. The deadline for the applications is 4th March 2024. For further information and questions, please email Tommi Vatanen (tommi.vatanen (a) Helsinki.fi ). The earliest start date is 1 April 2024. 

The Institute of Biotechnology (BI) is a research institute that operates at the highest international level. It includes 40 research groups and 250 researchers. The Institute is situated in the Viikki science park. For more information on the Institute, please visit helsinki.fi/en/hilife-institute-of-biotechnology . BI is part of Helsinki Institute of Life Science (HiLIFE, helsinki.fi/en/hilife-helsinki-institute-life-science ), a research institute established in 2017 supporting high quality life science research across the University campuses and faculties. HiLIFE builds on existing strengths and new recruits and partnerships to create an attractive international environment for researchers to solve grand challenges in health, food, and environment. HiLIFE coordinates research infrastructures in life sciences and provides research-based interdisciplinary training.   

The University of Helsinki, founded in 1640, is one of the world’s leading universities for multidisciplinary research. The university has an international academic community of 40,000 students and staff members. The University of Helsinki offers comprehensive services to its employees, including occupational health care and health insurance, sports facilities, and professional development opportunities. The International Staff Services office assists employees from abroad with their transition to work and life in Finland. Further information at helsinki.fi/en/university/working-at-the-university 

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Last modified: February 4, 2024