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Apply by: 2022-07-03

PhD scholarship within germline stem cell genome editing

Published 2022-05-20

About the position
The Department of Animal and Aquacultural Sciences, Faculty of Life Sciences at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) has a vacant 3-year PhD position focussing germline stem cell culture and genome editing.

beginning of salmon aquaculture, selective breeding has been the chief approach used to improve important fish traits. While successful, this approach is time-consuming and does not facilitate precision breeding. More recently, genome editing (GE) has emerged as a powerful and promising approach to explore genome function and (potentially) advance genetic gain by making specific DNA edits. Direct manipulation of embryos using microinjection (for example, using CRISPR-cas9) is successful but laborious and has unpredictable consequences related to organismic mosaicism. In our lab, we wish to establish the infrastructure and to develop novel expertise in the isolation, genetic modification and transplantation of germline stem cells (GSC) in Atlantic salmon. The PhD position will complement and integrate with ongoing activity in this area.

The successful candidate will join CIGENE (https://cigene.no/), a multidisciplinary genome biology research group possessing broad expertise in genetics, evolutionary and comparative genomics, bioinformatics and systems biology, and operating comprehensive molecular lab. This group includes 3 full-time professors, 2 associate professors, 16 postdocs/researchers, 14 PhD students and 10 research technicians. CIGENE has a strong aqua- and agri- research profile, with key strengths in application of ‘omics’ data to understand the genetic architecture of complex traits. The group has a track-record in high-impact publishing and development of genomic resources for agricultural and marine species.

Main tasks
In this PhD project the successful candidate we will refine existing competence related to germline stem cell isolation and propagation, and develop new strategies for genome editing these in vitro with the ultimate goal being to transplant these into embryos in order to use the resulting mature fish to produce offspring with uniformly edited genomes. To achieve this, he/she will need to achieve the following subgoals:

1)      Adopt and refine existing protocols for the isolation, enrichment and cryopreservation of GSCs
2)      Develop protocols for targeted gene editing (e.g. knock-out, knock-in) in GSCs
3)      Successfully transplant GSCs (edited or control) into recipient embryos leading to the surrogate producing viable gametes

The successful candidate is expected to enter a plan for the progress of the work towards a PhD degree during the first months of the appointment and with the view to complete a doctorate within 3 years.

The successful applicant must meet the conditions defined for admission to a PhD programme at NMBU. The applicant must have an academically relevant education corresponding to a five-year Norwegian degree programme, where 120 credits are at master's degree level. The applicant must have a documented strong academic background from previous studies and be able to document proficiency in both written and oral English. For more detailed information on the admission criteria please see the PhD regulations and the relevant PhD programme description.

Required Academic qualifications
  • Master’s degree in genomics, molecular biology, cell-biology or similar
The following experiences and skills will be emphasized:
  • Strong molecular biology skills and experience with cell culture and/or cellular transplantation
  • Practical experience with gene editing techniques
  • Experience with other potentially relevant technologies and lab techniques not specified above[SL2] , for example flow-cytometry, cell transfection/transduction etc
  • Ability for both independent investigation and teamwork, displaying initiative and creativity
  • Experience with bioinformatic analysis of genomic/transcriptomic data
You need to:
  • Be an honest and motivated team-player who is committed to being a part of a positive, collaborative, and supportive research group
  • Be proficient in English, both written and spoken
  • Develop and communicate clear goals
  • If appropriate/required, be willing to travel abroad to collaborate and learn from other researchers
Remuneration and further information
The position is placed in government pay scale position code 1017 PhD. Fellow. PhD. Fellows are normally placed in pay grade 54 (NOK 491.200,-) on the Norwegian Government salary scale upon employment and follow ordinary meriting regulations.

Employment is conducted according to national guidelines for University and Technical College PhD scholars.

For further information, please contact Dr Matthew Kent (Associate Professor)

E-mail: mattk@nmbu.no; phone +47 67232701

To apply online for this vacancy, please click on the 'Apply for this job' button above. This will route you to the University's Web Recruitment System, where you will need to register an account (if you have not already) and log in before completing the online application form.

Application deadline: 03.07.2022

In the application, the candidate must confirm that information and documentation (in the form of attachments) submitted via the job application can also be used by NMBU in a possible admission process.

Applicants invited for an interview are expected to present original diplomas and certificates.

The following documents must be attached to the application:
  • Motivation letter (maximum 1 page)
  • Complete CV 
  • Certified copies of academic diplomas and certificates. (i.e. Di-ploma, transcript. Diploma supplement for both bachelor and master). Diplomas, transcripts and diploma supplements that are not in Norwegian or English must be uploaded in the original language. An English translation of these documents must also be attached.
  • Applicants from universities outside Norway are kindly requested to send a diploma supplement, or a similar document, which describes in detail the study program and grading system.
  • Documentation of proficiency in written and oral English
  • Names and contact details for two references
  • Additional relevant documentation of professional knowledge (for example, list of scientific works)
About The Faculty of Biosciences
The Faculty of Biosciences (BIOVIT) aims to help shape the future food- and bio-production through teaching and research within biology and sustainable production and use of plants, livestock and fish. The faculty has an annual turnover of approx. 250 million NOK, and is organized into nine research sections: Genome Biology, Breeding and Quantitative Genetics, Ruminant Nutrition and Physiology, Ethology and Animal Environment, Animal Nutrition and Physiology, Agroecology, Genetics and Plant Breeding, Plant Protection and Food Crops, Plant Biology and Biotechnology.

The faculty has seven large and small research centers and laboratories, including Centre for Integrative Genetics - CIGENE (www.cigene.no). The faculty has about 690 bachelor and master students and is responsible for bachelor's and master's degrees in Aquaculture, Biology, Animal Science and Plant science as well as English-language master's degrees in Agroecology, Plant Sciences, Feed Manufacturing Technology and Genome Sciences. The faculty is also responsible for 90 PhD students and has about 240 employees.

The Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU)
NMBU has a particular responsibility for research and education that secures the basis for the life of future generations. Sustainability is rooted in everything we do and we deliver knowledge for life. NMBU has 1,900 employees of which about 300 phd scholarships and 6,700 students. The university is divided into seven faculties.

NMBU believes that a good working environment is characterised by diversity.

We encourage qualified candidates to apply regardless of gender, functional ability, cultural background or whether you have been outside the labour market for a period. If necessary, workplace adaptations will be made for persons with disabilities. More information about NMBU is available at www.nmbu.no.