Postdoc in statistical epigenetics and genetics

The Department of Biomedicine at Faculty of Health at Aarhus University invites applications for a position as Postdoc in the field of statistical epigenetics and genetics as per 1 June 2023 or as soon as possible thereafter. The position is a 2-year full-time position.

Department of Biomedicine

The department of Biomedicine prioritises diversity and a good work environment, as this is a prerequisite for groundbreaking research. In a dynamic and international research environment, dedicated employees are looking to generate new knowledge within biomedical research areas such as infection and inflammation, membranes, neuroscience and personalised medicine. The Department of Biomedicine provides research-based teaching of the highest quality and is responsible for a large part of the medical degree programme. Academic staff contribute to the teaching. English is the preferred language in the laboratory, at meetings and at seminars. The department employs approx. 500 people from all over the world, and they make use of the department's modern laboratory-, core- and animal facilities. The Department of Biomedicine focuses on innovation, entrepreneurship and collaboration with business and industry, and numerous researchers from the department have established companies to develop new medicinal treatments founded in strong scientific basic research. You can read more about the department here and about the faculty here.

About the research project

The VIA cohort
In 2012, The Danish High Risk and Resilience Study was established, a representative nation-wide cohort of 522 7-year-old children born to parents with severe MDx and matched controls (VIA 7). No previous study has performed such a multimodal, deep phenotyping of MDx-traits as done in the VIA 7, and its second wave – VIA 11 (children follow-up at age 11). Research in VIA to date reported that children from MDx parents more often lived in inadequate home environments, had lower quality of life, and had unfavorable outcomes across three neurodevelopmental domains (NDs): i) psychopathology (increased number of MDx), ii) motor skills (lower level and performance in physical acitivities), and iii) general intelligence (lower IQ levels). In addition to comprehensive phenotyping of NDs and genotyping data available, we have longitudinally quantified DNAm levels at > 850,000 loci across the genome, at age 7 and 11. This data collection is internationally unique: it represents the largest and most thoroughly characterized familial high-risk cohort, which now, with integration of genetic and epigenetic data, will enable further advancement of the understanding of molecular mechanisms in development of mental illness.

The iPSYCH cohort

iPSYCH (Lundbeck Foundation Inititiative for Integrative Psychiatric Research) was launched in 2012 as the largest research initiative ever in Danish psychiatry with the overarching aim to identify causes and disease mechanisms in major mental disorders, including psychiatric genetics as a key theme. Epigenomic data on over 5,000 individuals and genetic data on more than 130,000 individuals from a nationwide Danish cohort is currently analysed in iPSYCH (including GWAS and whole exome sequencing data).

Your job responsibilities

As Postdoc in statistical epigenetics and genetics your position is primarily research-based but may also involve teaching assignments. You will lead and contribute to analysis of psychiatric epigenetics and genetics projects in the forefront of the field. During the position, you will have an opportunity to spend 4-6 months at Magdalena Janecka’s lab of Functional Epidemiology (, based at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, NY, US, where you will work with leading experts in the field on developing new bioinformatic approaches for statistical epigenetics.

In collaboration with the Aarhus University (VIA, iPSYCH) and Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (Functional Epidemiology team), you will:

  • undertake analysis of the VIA epigenomic and genomic data sets as the main activity, with main focus on estimating how much environment acts through epigenetics to cause mental disorders (MDx) across individual’s lifespan
  • use VIA and iPSYCH data to develop new bioinformatic tools to dissect the genetic and environmental impacts on epigenetic regulation in the context of MDx risk factors.

The analyses will be conducted primarily at the national high-performance computer cluster GenomeDK at Center for Genomics and Personalized Medicine, Aarhus University, Denmark.

You will report to Anna Starnawska, Assistant Professor at Department of Biomedicine.

Your competences

You have academic qualifications at PhD level, preferably within one or more of the following areas: bioinformatics, statistics, computer science, or similar background. You are inquisitive, analytically minded, as well as excited to work with big data and to develop new methods for its analysis.

Necessary qualifications:

  • A degree within statistical genetics, bioinformatics, statistics, computer science, or similar areas.
  • Substantial experience in handling and analyzing epigenomic and/or genomic array data.
  • Experienced user of relevant statistical software, preferably R.
  • Can work independently and with groups, and take responsibility for the complete research process from idea phase to publication and presentation of results.
  • Has a strong drive to obtain established goals; scientifically self-motivated and creative.
  • Fluent spoken and written English (English is the working language).
  • Excellent collaboration and communication skills.

Desirable qualifications:

  • Computational expertise in analyzing big data.
  • Experience with high performance computing.
  • Experience with GWAS analysis programs like PLINK, BOLT-LMM or hail.
  • Experience with statistical analysis using programming languages like R, Python, or MATLAB
  • Experience with mQTL and/or eQTL data.

In order to be assessed as qualified for a Postdoc position, you must meet these academic criteria.

Shortlisting will be used.

We can offer:

  • An exciting job in an inspiring and informal research environment at a high international level.
  • Access to a large network of local, national and internationally-recognized partners and mentors from different countries.
  • Learning and applying new analytic methods on large, complex data sets.
  • Ample opportunity to influence your own work tasks, develop new analytic and professional skills, and take lead on independent research for publication and funding applications.
  • Professional training opportunities adapted to needs and interests.
  • Possibility of participation in courses, as well as national and international conferences.
  • Mentoring scheme with senior colleague.
  • Travel opportunities for in-person work with collaborators.


Questions about the position

If you have any questions about the position, please contact Project Coordinator Anne Hedemand (, or Assistant Professor, Anna Starnawska (

Your primary place of work will be the Department of Biomedicine, Aarhus University Campus, DK-8000 Aarhus C, Denmark.

Terms of employment


Your application must include the following:

  • Motivated application
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Diploma
  • Template for applicant – postdoc
  • A list of publications
  • A teaching portfolio. We refer to Guideline on the use of teaching portfolios
  • A maximum of five of the publications of greatest relevance to the job may be submitted (optional)
  • Research plan can be uploaded (optional)
  • Coauthor statement(s) can be uploaded (optional)
  • References/recommendations can be uploaded separately in the e-recruitment system (optional)

We refer to the faculty’s Guidelines for applicants.

The assessment committee may decide to include non-submitted material in its statement. In such cases, you will be informed and obliged to submit material, unless your application is withdrawn.

Aarhus University’s ambition is to be an attractive and inspiring workplace for all and to foster a culture in which each individual has opportunities to thrive, achieve and develop. We view equality and diversity as assets, and we welcome all 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.

International applicant?

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

Deadline: 2023-03-22 at 23:59
Unit: Department of Biomedicine – Forsk. & udd., Skou-bygningen – Faculty: Health
Phone: +4552679503

Read the job description at the university homepage or apply.

Post expires on Wednesday March 22nd, 2023