Postdoctoral Research position in Bioinformatics and Comparative Genomics, Introduction: UNIL is a leading international teaching and research institution, with over 5,000 employees and 17,000 students split between its Dorigny campus, CHUV and Epalinges. As an employer, UNIL encourages excellence, individual recognition and responsibility.

Presentation: We are looking for a highly motivated individual to join the team of Natasha Glover and Christophe Dessimoz as a Postdoctoral Researcher in Comparative Genomics. This position offers a unique opportunity to contribute to cutting-edge research projects focused in bioinformatics and comparative genomics and to collaborate with an experimental laboratory specialized in gene editing for validation of computational findings.  

The position is full-time, with compensation at the Premiers Assistants level. You will have joint affiliations with the University of Lausanne and the Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics (SIB).

Job information

Despite the abundance of genomic data, our understanding of the relationship between synteny and gene function across different species still remains limited. Reconstructing ancestral syntenies presents methodological challenges, particularly in cases where orthologous relationships are not one-to-one due to gene duplications and losses. To address these challenges, we developed a powerful tool called “edgehog” for reconstructing ancestral syntenies. 

The current project has two main objectives: First, we aim to improve the accuracy of orthology inference by leveraging abundant genomic data from diverse species and our novel ancestral synteny method, which builds upon the Hierarchical Orthologous Groups framework of the OMA resource.

Second, we will devise an algorithm for more accurate detection of gene losses, which is an essential aspect for evolutionary studies. By leveraging our newly developed ancestral synteny algorithm, we aim to assess whether genes are genuinely lost or simply undetected due to assembly and annotation errors. We will focus on investigating gene loss at both the evolutionary and functional levels using the crop model tomato, an excellent system for unraveling the genomic and phenotypic consequences of crop domestication.

This research aims to uncover the extent and impact of gene loss during plant domestication, shedding light on the genetic basis of important phenotypic traits. By studying the crop model tomato, we hope to provide insights into crop adaptation and ultimately contribute to agricultural improvement.

Expected start date in position: 01/9/2023 or to be agreed

Contract length: 1 year

Activity rate: 100%

Workplace: Unil-Sorge, Lausanne

Your responsibilities

  • Conduct independent research in two exciting projects: (1) Improving the OMA algorithm for inferring Hierarchical Orthologous Groups by utilizing our novel ancestral synteny reconstruction algorithm, and (2) building on this algorithm to develop a methodology to identify bona fide lost genes.
  • Collaborate with an interdisciplinary team of researchers (Sebastian Soyk lab) to investigate gene content variation, duplications, and losses in tomato during the domestication process.  
  • Publish research findings in high-impact scientific journals and present research results at conferences and seminars.

Your qualifications

  • Ph.D. in Genomics, Bioinformatics, Computational Biology, or a related field.
  • Strong background and expertise in comparative genomics, with a demonstrated track record of research productivity in this field.
  • Proficiency in computational analysis of large-scale genomic data, including the use of bioinformatics tools, programming languages (e.g., Python, R), and statistical techniques.
  • Familiarity with genomics databases, tools, and resources.
  • Strong communication skills and the ability to collaborate effectively with team members.

What the position offers you

  • The postdoctoral researcher will join a vibrant and collaborative research environment with access to state-of-the-art facilities, computational resources, and genomic/transcriptomic data.
  • The position offers competitive salary and benefits commensurate with experience.
  • Opportunities for professional development, including mentorship, conference attendance, and career advancement guidance.
  • Opportunities to collaborate with partners in the agricultural industry. 
  • Beautiful view of the mountains and only a 5 minute walk from the University of Lausanne to the lake.

Application instructions

Interested candidates should submit the following documents:

  1. A detailed CV highlighting research experience, publications, and relevant skills.
  2. A cover letter outlining research interests, accomplishments, and how they align with comparative genomics.
  3. Contact information of three references who can provide letters of recommendation.

To be considered, application documents must be uploaded online through the University of Lausanne recruitment platform. For further information concerning your application you can send an email to   Please include “Postdoctoral Researcher in Comparative Genomics Application” in the email subject line.

Application Deadline: 2 June 2023

We encourage applicants from diverse backgrounds and are committed to promoting an inclusive and equitable research environment.


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