Postdoctoral Researcher in Psychiatric- and Genetic Epidemiology, University of Iceland

University of Iceland

Reykjavík, Iceland

We seek a new postdoc who will work within the Center of Public Health Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Iceland, on the ERC funded project StressGene led by Prof Unnur Valdimarsdóttir.

The main goal of the StressGene program is to study health sequels after significant life stressors or trauma and uncover sequence variants associated with stress-related psychiatric disorders and somatic conditions (e.g. cardiovascular disease) following such adversities. This research is conducted in collaboration between an extended network of researchers at (but not limited to) the University of Iceland, deCODE Genetics, and Karolinska Institutet in Sweden. The postdoc will work in close collaboration with senior colleagues at these institutions and leverage population-based register and biobank resources with the overarching goal of understanding how genes and environment act and interact to modify risk of ill health after significant life stressors or trauma. Prof Valdimarsdóttir’s team has long-standing experience in using Nordic health and population registers as well as longitudinal cohort studies (e.g. the SAGA cohort, Swedish Tsunami Cohort, and COVID-19 National Resilience Cohort) in research of mental disorders, especially stress-related disorders and unravelling their associations to various somatic conditions. This project builds on recent findings and prospective work aims at identifying common molecular mechanisms to stress-related disorders and various somatic diseases.

Your mission

We seek an outstanding and innovative postdoc to join our team for one year with a possible extension to two years. We are data-rich, and need a professional-level data scientist, with a solid background in biostatistics or genetic epidemiology, to maximize our understanding of the data we have. This individual should be passionately committed to furthering knowledge of psychiatric disorders and somatic conditions associated with trauma in order to improve the lives of these vulnerable populations. The successful applicant will join our

team and conduct research on the genomics of psychiatric disorders and somatic conditions associated with trauma leveraging “multi-omic” approaches and approaches used for complex register data.

Your profile

PhD degree in medical science such as epidemiology, biostatistics, computer science, statistics, genetics, etc. is required. Applicants who have not completed a doctorate at the end of the application period may also apply, provided that all requirements for a completed degree are met before the (intended) date of employment. This must be substantiated by the applicant’s main supervisor, director or equivalent. Those with PhDs in other areas but who have advanced/relevant data science skills will also be considered.

Experience in professional analysis of multiple types of modern genomic datasets, including GWAS, exome sequencing, or register-based studies are a plus.

Skills in programming (e.g., R, Python, SQL, Unix/Linux), use of standard software packages (e.g., PLINK, GATK), flexibly manipulating large datasets, bioinformatic integration, and pathway analysis.

Knowledge of complex trait genomics.

Good skills in teamwork in scientific work as well as independent, organized and solution-oriented work methods.

Excellent oral and written communication skills in English are required, along with experience with scientific writing.


What do we offer?

We are a friendly, creative, international and inspiring environment full of expertise and curiosity.

The University of Iceland is a progressive educational and scientific institution in the heart of Reykjavík, the capital of Iceland. A modern, diversified and rapidly developing institution, it is by far the largest teaching and research institution in Iceland ranked in the top 300 in clinical medicine and public health on the Times Higher Education Ranking for the past 5 years. Located in the deCODE Genetics Building, Sturlugata 8 Reykjavik, Center of Public Health Sciences (CPHS) is the University’s research institution in population sciences and organizes interdisciplinary academic graduate programs in public health sciences, including in epidemiology and biostatistics. CPHS includes five professors, two associated professors and 5 research fellows on a post-doctoral level, 2-3 research administrators and 12 doctoral students. CPHS research activity is funded by multiple national and international grants including the ERC consolidator-grant (awarded to Prof. Valdimarsdóttir): The genetics of morbidity and survival in response to significant life stressors (StressGene).

Please check out our latest cohort initiatives:


Please apply through the University of Iceland website, vacancies

Deadline for application is 21st of September 2020 and the starting date is according to an agreement.


An employment application must contain the following documents in English or Icelandic:

i. A complete resumé, including date of the thesis defense, title of the thesis, previous academic

positions, academic title, current position, academic distinctions, and committee work

ii.  Certified copy of diplomas

iii. Letter of recommendation

iv. A statement in which the interest in the project is described and discusses what the applicant can contribute to it.

Applicants will be asked to describe past examples of having developed structured approaches to solving unanticipated and complex problems.


Salary is according to official agreement between collective wage and salary agreement between the Minister of Finance and the relevant union.

All applications will be answered and applicants will be notified of the employment decision when a decision has been made. Applications will be valid for six months from the end of the application deadline.


Further information

For further information, please contact Unnur Anna Valdimarsdóttir ( or Dóra R. Ólafsdóttir (                                                                       

Appointments to positions at the University of Iceland are made in consideration of the Equal Rights Policy of the University of Iceland.

Please apply via recruiter’s website.