Postdoc “Investigating the diversity, abundance and function of DPANN archaea in marine ecosystems using genomic approaches”

The Department of Marine Microbiology and Biogeochemistry (MMB; department chair prof. dr. J.S. Sinninghe Damsté) is looking for a highly motivated postdoctoral researcher with a background in bioinformatics, microbial genomics, and metagenomics willing to learn and apply cross-disciplinary approaches. The position is offered for a 3-year period.

2017-10-11 08:36:33
VACANCY ID:        2017-084 
CLOSING DATE:   February 15th , 2018



The research of the Department of Marine Microbiology and Biogeochemistry (MMB) has a long history of studying Archaea, especially their role in marine biogeochemical cycles as well as their membrane lipid biomarkers. These are used both in the present but also in the past, as fossilized lipid remnants to decipher past climate changes and to reconstruct microbial evolution.

The MMB department is also focused on the identity, activity, and physiology of Archaea and other marine microbes, their interactions, and their consequences for biogeochemical cycling in a variety of marine environments varying from tidal flats and coral reefs to the deep ocean. The department is equipped with state-of-the-art laboratories, bioinformatics resources, and analytical equipment, and has an excellent level of technical support.

The research team of Anja Spang (partially sponsored by a WISE fellowship of the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research has a key interest in the role of symbiosis in the evolution of life on Earth, ranging from the origin of the eukaryotic cell to symbiotic relationships between different extant microbial groups, such as syntrophic and symbiotic interactions involving archaeal partners.

One particular focus of her current research lies in the study of DPANN archaea, which represent a tentative archaeal superphylum comprising lineages with extremely small genomes and cell sizes, that includes the so far only parasitic members of the archaea.



Cultivation of independent methods such as metagenomics, comparative genomics, and phylogenomics, have proven extremely useful to reconstruct genomes of the uncultivated microbial majority and comparatively analyze their genomic potential and evolution.

For example, such approaches have recently unveiled a large diversity of archaeal lineages affiliating with the tentative DPANN superphylum. Clearly, to adequately analyze the vast amount of genomic data generated during the past years, such as Tara Ocean metagenomes, advanced bioinformatics, and data science-based approaches are increasingly necessary.

This project will focus on the development and use of novel metagenomics approaches, including sophisticated binning methodologies as well as co-occurrence networks to increase our knowledge on DPANN archaea from marine ecosystems.

For example, sequence data from DPANN archaea from a diversity of marine sediment and water samples as well as from eukaryote-associated samples will allow to shed light onto the diversity and abundance of members of this group in the ocean.

Furthermore, co-occurrence networks and genome analyses will allow to unveil potential syntrophic/symbiotic partner organisms and help to obtain first insights into the functional role of DPANN archaea in marine food webs.



We are looking for a highly motivated postdoctoral researcher with a background in bioinformatics, microbial genomics, and metagenomics willing to learn and apply cross-disciplinary approaches.

The successful applicant has a Ph.D. in computational biology, bioinformatics, phylogenomics, microbial genomics, network sciences, molecular and/or evolutionary biology or related fields, and should preferably have knowledge and experience in high throughput genomic technologies including metagenomics.

Experience in the use of the command line and Unix as well as in the application of programming languages such as R and Python are required. Finally, due to the international character of our research, good command of English, spoken as well as written, is a prerequisite.



We offer you a fulltime position for 3 years, a pension scheme, a yearly 8% vacation allowance, year-end bonus and flexible employment conditions. Our labour policies are based on the Dutch Collective Labour Agreement of Research Institutes. Cost of relocation and help with housing is provided by the Royal NIOZ.



For additional information about this vacancy, please contact dr. Anja Spang.

For additional information about the procedure, please contact Jolanda Evers (senior HR advisor).

Learn more about the department of Marine Microbiology and Biogeochemistry here.


Share on:
Twitter Facebook Google+ LinkedIn

Share with a friend:
Mail a friend