Postdoc position in polygenic adaptation (Vetmeduni Vienna)

Polygenic adaptation: a postdoctoral position is available at the Institute of Population Genetics, Vetmeduni Vienna ( The research focus of the Institute of Population Genetics is on understanding the genetics of adaptation. This central question in evolutionary biology is being tackled using up-to-date methods and a variety of approaches, including experimental evolution, quantitative genetics, functional genetics, empirical population genetics, bioinformatics and statistics.

Vienna has an outstanding community of evolutionary biologists ( and a unique cluster of scientists with a keen interest to understand polygenic adaptation (e.g.: N. Barghi, N. Barton, R. Bürger, J. Hermisson, R. Kofler, M. Nordborg and H. Sachdeva).

Adaptation to new environments is frequently driven by traits with a polygenetic basis. Nevertheless, the characterization of the adaptive architecture, in particular in natural populations, is challenging. The contribution of individual loci to the phenotypic changes associated with adaptation to new environmental conditions is so small that their identification and functional characterization is frequently not possible.

The successful candidate will join a team of scientists taking advantage of experimental evolution to study the adaptive architecture of temperature adaptation – a highly polygenic trait. Manipulating the genetic composition of a series of founder populations provides an unmatched opportunity to study polygenic adaptation in Drosophila. We are using a combination of genomic analyses with high throughput molecular phenotyping (RNA-Seq, metablomics, proteomics) and targeted high-level phenotypes (e.g. behavior) to study these experimental populations. The goal is to understand polygenic adaptation in the context of the underlying functional variation and use this information to predict adaptive responses in the laboratory and natural populations.

We are looking for a candidate with a background in quantitative genetics and experience in handling large data sets. A solid background in population genetics and statistics will be further assets. The successful applicant will be supported by technicians for the collection of phenotypic data and the maintenance of experimental populations.

Upon outstanding performance, a group leader position can be offered to establish her/his independent research at the institute.

The position is available for at least two years starting August 2019, but the exact starting date is negotiable. The application should be emailed to as a single pdf containing CV, list of publications, a statement of research interests, and the names of three references with contact details. While the search will continue until the position is filled, applications should be received by 15.6.2020 to ensure full consideration.

Background on our experimental system:

Jaksic, A. M. et al. Neuronal function and dopamine signaling evolve at high temperature in Drosophila. Molecular Biology and Evolution, doi:10.1093/molbev/msaa116 (2020).

Barghi, N., Hermisson, J. & Schlötterer, C. Polygenic adaptation: a unifying framework to understand positive selection. Nature Reviews. Genetics, in press (2020).

Barghi, N. et al. Genetic redundancy fuels polygenic adaptation in Drosophila. PLoS Biology 17, e3000128, doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.3000128 (2019).

Hsu, S. K. et al. Rapid sex-specific adaptation to high temperature in Drosophila. eLife 9, doi:10.7554/eLife.53237 (2020).

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