Since its foundation in 1614, the University of Groningen has enjoyed an international reputation as a dynamic and innovative centre of higher education offering high-quality teaching and research. Balanced study and career paths in a wide variety of disciplines encourage the 30,000 students and researchers to develop their own individual talents. Belonging to the best research universities in Europe and joining forces with prestigious partner universities and networks, the University of Groningen is truly an international place of knowledge.

The Faculty of Science and Engineering harbours a kaleidoscope of disciplines and research strengths. Our programmes in research and education range from nanomaterials and biomachinery to astronomy, from mathematics to pharmacy, from neurosciences to computer science, and from molecular and evolutionary biology to marine biology. Our researchers pursue fundamental key questions while collaborating with partners from industry, the medical world and other realms of society. Frontline research groups explore new fields such as synthetic biology and sustainable energy use.


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Job description
The postdoc position is situated within the Groningen Institute for Evolutionary Life Sciences (GELIFES), in a collaboration between the groups Theoretical Research in Evolutionary Life Sciences (Prof Ido Pen) and Evolutionary Genetics, Development & Behaviour (Prof Leo Beukeboom).

We are looking for a post-doctoral researcher for the following research project:
Temperature fluctuations as universal engine for evolutionary diversification of sex-determination: a theoretical study using mechanistic models

Sexual reproduction is ubiquitous in the animal kingdom. Although gonadal developmental pathways are often conserved over deep evolutionary time, the primary regulators that determine the sexual pathway vary enormously, sometimes even within species. Many hypotheses have been proposed to explain the high evolutionary turnover rate of sex-determination (SD) mechanisms, including sexual antagonism, maternal effects and meiotic drive. However, these theoretical models do not provide a universal explanation for the proliferation of SD mechanisms. Recent evidence suggests a universal role for temperature fluctuations as a main driver of SD diversity. We propose that existing theory of SD evolution needs a major overhaul by explicitly integrating mechanistic and thermodynamic aspects of gene regulatory networks with an ecological context that explicitly captures spatio-temporal fluctuations in temperature. We will develop new models that incorporate evolvable temperature sensitivity of gene regulatory network components, sex-specific fitness effects as well as temporal (within and between generations) and spatial (within and between populations) variation in temperature. We aim to build two classes of models: (1) relatively simple models generalizable across taxa that address general questions on effects of temperature and its interactions with other selective forces on the evolution of SD mechanisms; and (2) highly species-specific models based on the biology of well-studied organisms (housefly, snow skink and C. elegans) aiming for quantitatively testable predictions, in close collaboration with several experimental research groups. With our novel approach we will be able to better understand the diversity of SD mechanisms and its evolution.

We are looking for an ambitious candidate who preferably meets the following requirements:

  • a PhD degree in biology, computer science or physics
  • relevant experience in the area of evolutionary modelling, excellent mathematical modelling and computer programming skills
  • commitment to close collaboration with experimental biologists
  • good oral and written command of the English language suited for scientific publications and conference presentations.

Conditions of employment
The University of Groningen offers a salary depending on qualifications and work experience starting from a minimum of € 3,255 to a maximum of € 4,978 gross per month (salary scale 10.4 – 11.11) for a full-time position, excluding 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus and participation in a pension scheme for employees.
A fiscal facility pertaining to extraterritorial costs, the 30% facility, may be applicable if the rules of Dutch tax law permit this. The conditions of employment comply with the Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities (…)-universiteiten.html)
The University of Groningen provides a career advisory service for partners of new staff who move to Groningen. The University of Groningen is an equal opportunities employer. Because women are still underrepresented in a number of fields, they are particularly encouraged to apply.

Starting date: 1 April 2019, or sooner
Duration: 3 years
Interviews are planned on 11 February 2019

You may apply for this position until 1 February 1 23:59h / before 2 February 2019 by means of the application form via this link.

You are requested to submit:

  1. a cover letter containing your motivation for the position
    2. an up-to-date curriculum vitae
    3. contact details of at least two referees
    4. a copy of your PhD thesis and two relevant publications.

Unsolicited marketing is not appreciated.

For information you can contact:

Please do not use the e-mail address(es) above for applications.

No agencies.

Keywords: Vacancy, Research, PhD, Biology, Computer science, Physics, Groningen