Doctoral researcher / project researcher position in fish cardiovascular physiology: The position is located in the Department of Biology, University of Turku, Finland. The doctoral researcher will work on project: Swimming training and cardiovascular performance of fish: challenges of global warming in aquaculture funded by Academy of Finland. The position is fixed term for 1.9.2022-31.8.2026

The theme behind the project is to address the challenges of aquaculture during global warming. Aquaculture is one of the fastest growing sectors in the food production industry. However, it is facing significant challenges with heatwaves which are causing fish die-offs. There is, thus, an urgent need to address the challenges to guarantee the sustainability of the industry and animal welfare. One physiological reason leading to mortalities of fish at high temperatures is failure in their cardiovascular performance. The cardiovascular performance could be, however, possibly enhanced with exercise training.

The objective of the current project is to investigate cellular, tissue and organ level responses induced by training in fish, and ultimately how training affects performance and survival at whole animal level in warming waters. To answer these aims the PhD researcher will be investigating at molecular level if training improves the function of ion channels regulating the excitation of contraction since failure in coordinated function of the channels might lead to observed cardiac arrhythmias at high temperatures.

At whole organ level failure to extract oxygen at high temperatures might limit cardiac function and, thus, the aim is to investigate if training would improve the function of heart when oxygen gets limited, as happens during heatwaves. We are also following the cardiac performance and how fast it develops with bio-loggers. With the loggers we are also able to investigate the performance of fish in vivo when it encounters heatwave and how training might influence it. If the cardiac and whole animal performances are improved by training utilizing these methods directly to fish production could reduce the risks for high mortalities during heatwaves and enhance the welfare of fish.

The project is conducted with collaboration with Eila Seppänen (Natural Resources Institute Finland), Erik Sandblom (University of Gothenburg, Sweden), Albin Gräns (Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences – SLU), Gerrit Timmerhaus (Nofima, Norway) and Jaakko Haverinen (University of Eastern Finland).

In the project student is able to learn a wide spectrum of skills from fish farming to molecular measurements. The methods used include exercise physiology of intact animals, cardiovascular measurements at whole animal (ECG and bio-logger measurements of living fish), organ (ex vivo/in situ heart measurements) and molecular level (patch-clamping, mitochondrial energy metabolism and histology). 

The applicants are expected to have a relevant MSc degree. The applicant should have knowledge in ecophysiology, animal physiology, exercise physiology, cardiovascular physiology or molecular physiology of animals. No one is expected to be an expert in all these areas, but once hired, a PhD researcher is expected to develop knowledge in the areas he/she is not familiar with. As the project is in collaboration with researchers from Eastern Finland, Sweden and Norway travelling is expected and having a driving license is considered as a benefit. The applicants are expected to plan and conduct experiments independently and to have excellent spoken and written English language skills.

The eligibility criteria are defined in the rules of procedure of the University of Turku.

There will be a trial period of six month.

The salary will be determined in accordance with the Finnish university salary system for teaching and research personnel. The salary for doctoral researcher is at level 2 on the job chart, where the work-specific salary component is 2108,40 euros per month. In addition, a personal work performance component will be paid. The component based on personal performance adds a minimum of 6 % and a maximum of 50 % to the base salary.

Applications must be submitted by Monday15th of August 2022 (23:59), using the electronic application form of the University of Turku , The link to the application system is below of this announcement (Apply for the job).

Applicants need to submit a letter of motivation explaining their qualifications, interest for this position and why they are the best candidate for it, a Curriculum Vitae including work experience and a list of publications, the names and contact details of two-three senior scientists that can provide a reference, and a copy of their degree certificate with translation in English or Finnish (if applicable).

We reserve the right for justified reasons to leave the position open and to extend the application period if needed.

The University is committed to promoting non-discrimination, equality and diversity in our community. All interested applicants, regardless of their background, are encouraged to apply.

Apply for the job

For further information about the position, please contact Associate Professor Katja Anttila,

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