Postdoc in Bioinformatics of Ice environments, Aarhus University, Campus RISØ, Denmark

The Department of Environmental Science at Aarhus University, Roskilde, Denmark invites applications for a three-year postdoc position in Bioinformatics to strengthen and expand the research capability in the Cryo-Microbiology group ( The postdoc will be part of a vibrant international collaboration between Aarhus University and the German Research Centre for Geosciences to investigate microbial interactions on the Greenland ice sheet. This is part of an ERC-Synergy award to the project Deep Purple (, providing essential field and laboratory measurements of critical physical and microbial processes associated with the darkening of the Greenland Ice Sheet. Start date is subject to negotiation.

Description of the position
Active algae, fungi, bacteria and viruses dominate in glacial environments and they can change the physical and chemical characteristics of the ice and snow. For instance, the presence of algae growing on glaciers reduces the albedo of the ice surface. Together with anthropogenic black carbon and mineral debris inputs, they absorb sunlight on the surface of the ice, substantially increasing ice melting during the summer. Given that surface melting is controlled primarily by the albedo (reflectivity) of surface ice, significant additional melting along the western Greenland ice sheet has been attributed to the blooming of pigmented glacial algal communities during the summer melt seasons, causing ‘biological-albedo’ reductions. These algae possess a suite of typical light harvesting and photo-protective carotenoid pigments, in addition to the production of high concentrations of specialized purpurogalin UV-absorbing pigments, which facilitate their survival and proliferation in this extreme environment.

The postdoc position involves contributing to new knowledge about the microbial genomes (viruses, prokaryotes and eukaryotes), diversity and metabolic potential in ice surface communities. The Deep Purple project is currently sequencing a range of samples from ice surfaces and snow in Greenland for amplicons, metagenomes and metatranscriptomes. The postdoc in this project would be mostly involved with the sequencing strategy and bioinformatics analyses of the project to investigate microbial community interactions, Metagenome-Assembled-Genomes (MAGs) of glacial algae that could help better understanding of their genotypes and phenotypes and contribute to knowledge of cell behavior and their role in the environment.

Specifically, the selected candidate is expected to:
  • Develop and consolidate the research area of microbial interactions and genomes from glacial environments within the department. It is particularly beneficial if the candidate has documented experience with genomes, metagenomes, metagenome-assembled genomes and metatranscriptomes.
  • Contribute to ongoing experimental and sampling design of genomic information from icy environments.
  • Provide bioinformatics support to other projects within the department involving e.g., soil microbial interactions, plant-microbial interactions.
  • Contribute to maintenance of local bioinformatics servers in the ENVS sequencing center.
  • The main responsibility is research (including publication/academic dissemination duties).
Qualification requirements
  • The position requires a solid background in environmental bioinformatics. Ideally, the candidate should have experience with two or more computational languages and extensive experience with analysing databases.
  • Experience with analyzing environmental samples from viruses to eukaryotic organisms and datasets from Illumina and Nanopore are desired skills.
  • Applicants should as a minimum hold scientific qualifications equivalent to the PhD graduate level showing evidence of a strong and ambitious research oriented profile and an emerging publication record within microbial ecology.
  • Applicants should have excellent written and oral communication skills in English.
  • The candidate is expected to be enthusiastic about working in an interdisciplinary academic environment and be very well organised.
  • Experience in Arctic research is highly desired, but not essential if the candidate is a highly motivated scientist who is comfortable working in teams.
The Department of Environmental Science
The Department of Environmental Science is an interdisciplinary department under the Faculty of Science & Technology at Aarhus University. The expertise ranges from physics, chemistry, microbiology, molecular biology and mathematical modelling to social science, geography, economics and policy analysis. Both basic and applied research is conducted on some of the major challenges facing society, such as pollution and bioremediation, management of land, soil, water, air and biodiversity, protection of ecosystem services, climate change, and energy systems. Science-based policy advice within these areas is offered to ministries and other stakeholders. Currently, about 160 staff and PhD-students are working at the department. Further information can be found at
The section conducts research and science-based policy advice targeted towards the understanding of the fate and role of microorganisms in ecosystems and interactions between bacteria, virus, fungi, protozoa and microeukaryotes in glacial, terrestrial, aquatic and atmospheric environments. Expertise within the section includes:
  • Glacial Microbiology
  • Microbiology in air, soil, ice, and rhizosphere
  • Microbial and microeukaryotic genetics and diversity
  • Microbial and protist ecology
  • eDNA analysis and use in environmental monitoring
  • Antibiotic resistance and pathogenicity
  • Biodegradation of persistent organic pollutants
  • Plant-microbe interactions
We speak English on a daily basis at the department.

Work location
The place of work will be at Aarhus University, Campus Risø outside Roskilde, Denmark. The city of Roskilde ( is located 35 km from Copenhagen. The area provides immediate access to a wealth of cultural and recreational pursuits.
International candidates may find information concerning living and working in Denmark at AU International Center offers a full range of services to make your transition to Denmark as smooth as possible (, and the department will assist foreign candidates with finding a suitable place to live.

Further information may be obtained by contacting Prof. Alexandre Anesio (; +4522568980) or Head of Section, Dr. Anders Johansen (; +4587158586).

Application procedure

Shortlisting is used. This means that after the deadline for applications – and with the assistance from the assessment committee chairman, and the appointment committee if necessary, – the head of department selects the candidates to be evaluated. All applicants will be notified whether or not their applications have been sent to an expert assessment committee for evaluation. The selected applicants will be informed about the composition of the committee, and each applicant is given the opportunity to comment on the part of the assessment that concerns him/her self. Once the recruitment process is completed a final letter of rejection is sent to the deselected applicants.

Letter of reference

If you want a referee to upload a letter of reference on your behalf, please state the referee’s contact information when you submit your application. We strongly recommend that you make an agreement with the person in question before you enter the referee’s contact information, and that you ensure that the referee has enough time to write the letter of reference before the application deadline.
Unfortunately, it is not possible to ensure that letters of reference received after the application deadline will be taken into consideration.

Formalities and salary range

Technical Sciences refers to the Ministerial Order on the Appointment of Academic Staff at Danish Universities under the Danish Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation.

The application must be in English and include a curriculum vitae, degree certificate, a complete list of publications, a statement of future research plans and information about research activities, teaching portfolio and verified information on previous teaching experience (if any). Guidelines for applicants can be found here.

Appointment shall be in accordance with the collective labour agreement between the Danish Ministry of Finance and the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations. Further information on qualification requirements and job content may be found in the Memorandum on Job Structure for Academic Staff at Danish Universities.

Salary depends on seniority as agreed between the Danish Ministry of Finance and the Confederation of Professional Associations.

All interested candidates are encouraged to apply, regardless of their personal background. Research activities will be evaluated in relation to actual research time. Thus, we encourage applicants to specify periods of leave without research activities, in order to be able to subtract these periods from the span of the scientific career during the evaluation of scientific productivity.

Aarhus University offers a broad variety of services for international researchers and accompanying families, including relocation service and career counselling to expat partners. Read more here. Please find more information about entering and working in Denmark here.

Aarhus University also offers a Junior Researcher Development Programme targeted at career development for postdocs at AU. You can read more about it here.

The application must be submitted via Aarhus University’s recruitment system, which can be accessed under the job advertisement on Aarhus University's website.

Aarhus University

Aarhus University is an academically diverse and research-intensive university with a strong commitment to high-quality research and education and the development of society nationally and globally. The university offers an inspiring research and teaching environment to its 38,000 students (FTEs) and 8,000 employees, and has an annual revenues of EUR 885 million. Learn more at
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Deadline:15 May 2021
Academic contact person:
Alexandre Magno Barbosa Anesio Professor +4587158736
Vacant positions:1
Hours per week:37
Number of months:36
Expected date of accession:01 September 2021

Nordre Ringgade 1
8000 Aarhus

Tlf: 8715 0000

CVR-nr: 31119103