University of Jyväskylä

Doctoral Researcher in Microbial Epigenetics

2024-08-09 (Europe/Helsinki)
Save job

About the employer

The JYU is a nationally and internationally significant research university and an expert on education that focuses on human and natural sciences.

Visit the employer page

The Department of Biological and Environmental Science is currently seeking to recruit staff to the position of Doctoral Researcher in Microbial Epigenetics, starting on beginning of September 2024 or as agreed, for a maximum fixed term of four years.

The genetics, epigenetics, and evolution group lead by Ilkka Kronholm studies the properties of mutations and spontaneous epigenetic changes, parental effects, and genetic architecture of complex traits. Our research questions are focused on understanding how different intrinsic and extrinsic factors affect evolutionary adaptation. As model systems we use bacteria, fission yeast, and the filamentous fungus Neurospora crassa.

The researcher will join a Research Council of Finland funded project that studies the role of adenosine methylation in adaptation. Studies in evolutionary epigenetics have largely focused on cytosine methylation in eukaryotes. However, in bacteria adenosine methylation is an important epigenetic mechanism that is known to play a role for example, in bacterial phase variation. We have observed that adenosine methylation changes happen when bacterial populations adapt to a new environment, see for example: Bruneaux et al. 2021. Roles of adenine methylation and genetic mutations in adaptation to different temperatures in Serratia marcescens. Epigenetics 17: 861-881 and Bruneaux et al. 2022. The effect of a temperature-sensitive prophage on the evolution of virulence in an opportunistic bacterial pathogen. Molecular Ecology 31: 5402-18

In this project we will study adenosine methylation changes in more detail and estimate genome wide the rates of spontaneous adenosine methylation changes using mutation accumulation experiments and Nanopore / PacBio sequencing. Our group has previously done mutation accumulation experiments in fungi see: Villalba de la Peña et al. 2023. Chromatin structure influences rate and spectrum of spontaneous mutations in Neurospora crassa. Genome Research 33: 1-13

In this project we will also characterise different adenosine methyltransferases present in bacterial genomes, and investigate whether adenosine methylation plays any role in antibiotic resistance and its evolution. For general background on adenosine methylation in bacteria see: Sánchez-Romero & Casadesús 2020. The bacterial epigenome. Nature Reviews Microbiology 18: 7-20

The doctoral researcher is expected to contribute to the current project, plan and perform research, write manuscripts and finally a PhD thesis. While the major outlines of the project are fixed, it is possible to tailor parts of the project according to the interests of the candidate, within the overall framework of the project. Participating in limited amount of teaching can also be arranged.

Who we are looking for

You are the person we are looking for if you have a master’s degree in microbiology, evolutionary biology, genetics, or a related discipline with a strong interest in microbial or evolutionary genetics. While previous experience with microbes is not required, it can be an advantage. Experience in analysis of sequencing (NGS) data can also be an advantage, as well as good computational skills and solid understanding of statistics, and in particular the R environment. Good written and oral communication skills in English are required.

The duties, qualification requirements and language skills of a Doctoral Researcher are stipulated by the University of Jyväskylä Regulations and language skills guidelines. The MSc degree required for the position must have been completed before starting the position. Doctoral Researcher needs to be also enrolled in the doctoral programme which can be applied from the Faculty of Mathematics and Science after selection for the position. A trial period of six months will be used in the beginning of the employment.


At the University of Jyväskylä, you are a recognized member of our community with an ample opportunity to be drawn into international research. You get to participate in our international and multidisciplinary community, where everybody’s welfare is essential. You will work in an inspiring and lively campus area and an environment that supports a healthy and active lifestyle. 

Finland has a high standard of living with healthcare, free schooling (also in English), affordable childcare, and good family benefits. The city of Jyväskylä is located in central Finland amidst Finnish lakes and has excellent opportunities for different nature, outdoor, and sports activities. It is a major educational center, whose large student population is responsible for a vibrant cultural scene. To find useful information about the University of Jyväskylä, the City of Jyväskylä, and living in Finland, see the University's International Staff Guide.

The initial annual salary will be approximately 29,000 EUR (gross income, including a holiday bonus). With progress of the thesis work, the salary will be revised in accordance with the Collective Agreement of Finnish Universities.

Please attach the following documents to the online application form:

  1. Curriculum vitae, composed according to good scientific practice and considering the template for researcher´s curriculum vitae by The Finnish Advisory Board on Research Integrity and including contact information of two people willing to provide a reference.

  2. Cover letter explaining your motivation and research interests.

  3. Relevant certificates / diplomas.

Please submit your application at the latest by 9th of August 2024 11:45 pm (GMT +2) using the online application form.

Eligible candidates will be evaluated based on the submitted documents following the recommendations for the responsible evaluation of a researcher in Finland. Shortlisted candidates will be invited for a personal interview. For further details, please contact: Associate Professor Ilkka Kronholm,

We value equality and diversity in our work community and encourage qualified applicants to apply for these positions.

Department of Biological and Environmental Science

The research in the Department of Biological and Environmental Science focuses on three core areas: evolutionary biology, natural resources and environment, and biological nanoscience. The Department building, Ambiotica, is an integral part of the University of Jyväskylä's Ylistönrinne Mathematics and Science Research Complex, which includes buildings of chemistry, physics and nanoscience. Ambiotica houses high quality laboratories for bioscience and experimental facilities for a wide range of biological and chemical analyses as well as highly motivated laboratory personnel.

The University of Jyväskylä is a human-centered environment of 2,500 experts and 14,500 students. Our goal is to create wisdom and wellbeing for all. JYU's naturally beautiful campus is located in the heart of the city of Jyväskylä. JYU is the third largest employer in Central Finland.

Phone: 014 260 1211


Location: Seminaarinkatu 15

The application form cannot be saved as draft. However, you have 6 hours to complete your application before the timeout. After submitting you can return to edit your application via the link you receive by email. The application can be edited until the application deadline.

Job details

Doctoral Researcher in Microbial Epigenetics
Seminaarinkatu 15 Jyväskylä, Finland
Application deadline
2024-08-09 23:59 (Europe/Helsinki)
2024-08-09 22:59 (CET)
Job type
Save job

More jobs from this employer

About the employer

The JYU is a nationally and internationally significant research university and an expert on education that focuses on human and natural sciences.

Visit the employer page

This might interest you

Understanding the Role of Epigenetics in Evolution University of Jyväskylä 4 min read
Children’s Literacies in Our Hyperconnected World University of Jyväskylä 4 min read
Going Nuclear to Save Time University of Jyväskylä 5 min read
Towards a Green and Ethical Future University of Jyväskylä 4 min read
More stories