PhD Position - EpiBreed: Unlocking Epigenetic Variation to Breed Sustainable Crops in a Changing Climate

EpiBreed: Unlocking Epigenetic Variation to Breed Sustainable Crops in a Changing Climate


Zürich, Schweiz

  • ORGANISATION/COMPANY      University of Zurich     
  • RESEARCH FIELDBiological sciences › Biology     
  • RESEARCHER PROFILE      First Stage Researcher (R1)     
  • APPLICATION DEADLINE      01/12/2019 23:00 - Europe/London     
  • LOCATION      Switzerland › Zurich     
  • TYPE OF CONTRACT      Temporary     
  • JOB STATUS      Full-time     
  • HOURS PER WEEK      41     
  • OFFER STARTING DATE01/04/2020     
  • EU RESEARCH FRAMEWORK PROGRAMME      H2020 / Marie Sk?odowska-Curie Actions COFUND     
  • REFERENCE NUMBER      RESPONSE_2019_Call_1_ESR01     

Within the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under the Marie Sk?odowska-Curie grant agreement No 847585, University of Zurich is offering a 36-month PhD position for an early-stage researchers (ESR) in in the area of sustainable food systems.

Background: The inclusion of epigenetic variation into breeding schemes has great potential for breeding new crops required for productive, more resilient and sustainable food systems. Unfortunately, we currently know very little about how stably epialleles are inherited over generations, how they are influenced by genetic background, and how they respond to environmental influences. The goal of this project is to gain fundamental insights into the stability, heritability, and environmental dependence of epigenetic variation.

Job Description: The ESR will setup an experiment that allows to study the stability and heritability of specific epialleles over several generations in populations with varying genetic background grown under different environmental conditions. The DNA methylation status of epialleles will be monitored with assays developed by the ESR. In parallel to the experiment, the ESR is expected to write a review on epigenetic variation and its relevance for breeding. This review will also serve as starting point for public engagement and outreach. Finally, the ESR will analyze, interpret, and publish the outcome of the experiment in an international journal. A planned secondment (i.e. internship) of 3 months at MWSchmid GmbH is part of this project. During this secondment, the ESR will study variable selection using linear models or machine learning in complex experimental designs (possibly involving data from other research fields). If possible, results of this internship will be published. Overall, the PhD project offers an interdisciplinary research training in genetics, molecular biology, bioinformatics (transcriptomics, whole-genome bisulfite sequencing and more) and statistics.


University of Zurich


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