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Postdoctoral position on forest metatranscriptomics at UPSC/SLU

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
Umeå (Kommun), Västerbotten (SE)
Closing date
30 Apr 2023

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Environmental Science, Life Science
Job Type
Employment - Hours
Full time
Fixed term

A postdoctoral position is available in Vaughan Hurry's research group at the Department of Forest Genetics and Plant Physiology (Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences), which is part of Umeå Plant Science Centre.

Last day to apply: April 30, 2023

Project description

Carbon storage and cycling in boreal forests is moderated by complex interactions between trees and soil microorganisms. Advances in DNA sequencing have provided an unprecedented view into these complex microbial communities, but existing methods limit our ability to predict how changes in environmental conditions will alter these associations and the essential ecosystem services they provide. We recently developed a metatranscriptomic analytical pipeline for samples collected from a mature Norway spruce forest that captured the seasonally resolved transcriptomes of Norway spruce roots and more than 350 root associated fungal species ( This approach enabled us to link the functional response of host-trees to altered nutrient availability, with profound perturbations in the fungal community. Our objective going forward is to apply this methodology to additional forest types and settings to develop a more complete understanding of how these forests, and their linked microbiota, might adapt to future climate conditions.


To plan and implement a transcriptomic analysis of RNA-Seq data collected from field sampled roots of mature Scots pine and Norway spruce trees, and coupled metatranscriptomics analysis of the linked fungal community, followed up by the preparation of associated manuscripts.


Highly motivated and team-oriented candidate with demonstrated experience in plant and/or fungal bioinformatics. To qualify, the incumbent should have a PhD in subjects relevant to the position, such as mycology or microbiology related to plant-microbe interactions, plant molecular genetics or plant biochemistry. Documented bioinformatics skills are essential and the candidate should be experienced with the analysis of next generation sequencing data, running analyses using high performance computer infrastructures, interpreting the results of differential expression analysis, and have a proven track record of driving such projects through to publication. Demonstrated knowledge and experience with analysing plant interactions with biotic partners would be highly desirable. In addition, previous experience with relevant public databases in genomics and molecular biology and good knowledge of statistics, e.g. hypothesis testing and enrichment analyses would be an asset. Sound knowledge of, and skill in, at least one relevant programming or scripting language, e.g. R, Java, or Python is essential as well as experience in computational modelling of co-expression networks and of ontologies (particularly Gene Ontology), knowledge of biological pathway annotations and experience with the application of machine learning approaches to analysing transcriptomic data. Excellent English communication and writing skills are essential.

As postdoctoral appointments are career-developing positions for junior researchers, we are primarily looking for candidates with a doctoral degree that is three years old at most.

The diploma has to be written or translated into English or Swedish to be confirmed.


Please apply via SLU's recruitment system following this link and using the button "Apply":

We welcome your application no later than 2023-04-30.

Starting date: 2023-08-01 or according to agreement



For questions, please contact Vaughan Hurry at


About the Research Environment

The Department of Forest Genetics and Plant Physiology is part of Umeå Plant Science Centre (UPSC) which is a centre of excellence for experimental plant research and forest biotechnology in Northern Sweden. Our mission is to perform excellent and innovative basic research and generate knowledge that benefits forestry, agriculture, environment and society. We work across a wide range of disciplines in plant science reaching from cell biology to ecophysiology and from basic research to industrial applications. Our common goal is to understand the plants’ ability to grow, adapt and acclimate to a changing world and how we can breed better plants.

UPSC belongs to two universities, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) and Umeå University. About 200 people from more than 40 different nationalities work here. We host some 30 principal investigators, and our researchers have access to state-of-the-art analytical platforms, unique tree germplasm resources and plant growth facilities. We strive for a collaborative work environment and support our scientists throughout all career stages by providing professional training opportunities and individual career mentoring.

Umeå has a strong postdoc community organised in the Umeå Postdoc Society (UPS). UPS fosters networking amongst postdocs, organises social and career development events and works towards improving the postdoc experience in Umeå. Check out their website: and do not hesitate to get in contact with them! 

About SLU

SLU is a world-class international university with research, education and environmental assessment within the sciences for sustainable life. Its principal sites are in Alnarp, Umeå and Uppsala, but activities are also conducted at research stations, experimental parks and educational establishments throughout Sweden. We bring together people who have different perspectives, but they all have one and the same goal: to create the best conditions for a sustainable, thriving and better world.

SLU has just over 3,000 employees, 5,000 students and a turnover of SEK 3 billion. The university has invested heavily in a modern, attractive environment on its campuses. Read more about our benefits and what it is like to work at SLU at


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