2-year postdoctoral position on plant genome evolution

 CDD · Postdoc  · 24 mois    Bac+8 / Doctorat, Grandes Écoles   Evolutionary Biology and Ecology (EBE, https://ebe.ulb.ac.be), Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB) · Brussels (Belgique)  The net monthly salary is 2 607 €


whole-genome sequencing genome assembly fitness imbreeding depression tropical tree Nanopore Illumina population genetics


A 2-year postdoctoral position on plant genome evolution is available in the team of Prof Olivier Hardy (http://ebe.ulb.ac.be/ebe/Hardy.html) at the University of Brussels (Université libre de Bruxelles), Belgium.

Context: The team is working on the evolution and dynamics of African rainforest plants and its main research topics include comparative phylogeography, population genetics, phylogenomics, seed and pollen dispersal, species delimitation. The postdoc will work on the project “Genomic signatures of inbreeding depression and mutation load in a threatened African timber tree”, funded by the F.R.S.-FNRS.

Project: The objective of the project is to study inbreeding depression and the accumulation of a mutational load in an inbred African timber species, Pericopsis elata (Fabaceae), threatened by over-exploitation and suffering from poor natural regeneration. The species has a mixed-mating strategy (ca. half of the seeds result from self-fertilization), an uncommon situation among tropical trees. In Central Africa, a steep westward decay of genetic diversity suggests a recent range expansion. This context provides an opportunity to study the impact selfing and range expansion on inbreeding depression and genetic load. Whole-genome sequencing will be combined with field measurements of fitness components to (1) determine the degree of inbreeding depression on seedling mortality and tree growth, (2) identify genomic signatures of mutation load and inbreeding depression, (3) infer the demographic history of populations from population genomics signatures. Beyond its interest for fundamental research, this study will also be of interest for the conservation and sustainable management of P. elata, whose deficient regeneration must be compensated by plantation, by identifying provenances with high fitness and by defining strategies to avoid the negative impact of inbreeding depression and mutation load.

Postdoc research: The postdoc will conduct in particular the genomic aspect of the project, including the genome assembly of the species (150bp PE reads available, MinION data to come), laboratory work for resequencing or genotyping new individuals, genomic data analyses to quantify genetic load and infer the demographic history of the populations. Field missions in Africa might also be organized.

Required skills: The postdoc should have a strong background in theoretical population genetics/evolutionary biology and bioinformatics, with experience in genome assembly. Experience in "wet lab" molecular biology is a strong advantage. Experience with tropical plants would be a plus.

Where: The postdoc will work in Brussels, in the Evolutionary Biology and Ecology unit, which is equipped with a molecular platform. He/she will work in close collaboration with Olivier Hardy and his team members (currently 4 PhD students, 1 technician, MSc students) as well as the team of Jean-Francois Flot for the genome assembly aspect.

Conditions to apply: Candidates must have a PhD obtained less than 8 years ago and cannot have been residing in Belgium for more than 2 years in the past 3 years (conditions imposed by the fellowship).

When: The position is available immediately and should ideally start no later than July 2022.



Procédure : Interested candidates should send to Olivier Hardy (olivier.hardy@ulb.be) their CV and a brief letter of motivation stating how their expertise fits with the position, preferably before 11 April 2022. More details about the project can be requested by potential candidates.

Date limite : None


Olivier Hardy


Offre publiée le 1 avril 2022, affichage jusqu'au 31 mai 2022