Postdoc Position in Comparative Genomics of the Phyllosphere Microbiome

University of Copenhagen Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences


Postdoc in Comparative Genomics of the Phyllosphere Microbiome

The Environmental Microbial Genomics (EMG) group at the Department of Plant and Environmental Science (PLEN), Section for Microbial Ecology and Biotechnology at the University of Copenhagen is offering a four-year postdoc position within the field of comparative genomics of the phyllosphere microbiome starting June 1st, 2021 or as soon as possible thereafter.

Description of the scientific environment

The EMG group uses sequence-based analyses to describe genomic traits of keystone species and their prevalence and impact in natural and artificial microbial communities and metagenomes, including information on bacteriophages and how other mobile genetic elements shape microbial evolution and traits. Group activities span microbes in both natural, agricultural and health related systems. More information on the research group can be found on

Further information on the Department is linked at

Project description

The position is advertised in connection to a newly established multidisciplinary program, The MATRIX: “Microbiome Assisted Triticum Resilience In X-dimensions”, funded by the Novo Nordisk Foundation. Overall, the program addresses the taxonomic diversity and functional potential of the wheat phyllosphere microbiome. Today, more than one third of crop yields are lost due to abiotic and biotic stress factors, such as drought, salinity, pests and disease. In the MATRIX program several key microorganisms and regulatory mechanisms involved in wheat growth promotion and protection against biotic and abiotic stresses will be identified. By combining new microbiome-assisted approaches with machine learning and predictive modelling the MATRIX aims to quantitate and predict microbiome-mediated changes and their effect on wheat resilience and productivity under various climate change scenarios, which can be used as a novel tool to improve future wheat yield management strategies. More information on the MATRIX project is linked at

The candidate will be expected to conduct independent research within the area of comparative genomic analyses of a large biobank of bacterial and fungal isolates from the wheat phyllosphere microbiome, in particular the wheat flag leaf. The analysis involves plasmid and prophage carried traits. The isolates will primarily be keystone microorganisms (pathogenic as well as beneficial) obtained in close collaboration with partners in the project. Furthermore, sequenced genomes will be linked to a large set of shotgun and amplicon data from the same environment. Finally, the candidate is expected to some degree to engage in teaching and supervision and the post may also include performance of other duties.   

Candidates must have a PhD or similar qualifications within computational biology, microbiology, genomic analysis, comparative genomics, network analysis, or other relevant research fields. Experience in programming in bash/Unix, R or python is strongly desirable. Also, experience within the field of plant-associated microbiomes is preferred, but not a requirement.  

The candidate is expected to be enthusiastic about working in an interdisciplinary academic environment conduction research and teaching at the highest international level. The position, therefore, requires a highly motivated scientist who is comfortable working in teams, have good interpersonal skills, as well as a collaborative and open mind-set.

Inquiries about the position can be made to Prof. Lars Hestbjerg Hansen, Department of Plant and Environmental Science. E-mail: Phone: +45 28752053.

The position is open from June 1st 2021 or as soon as possible thereafter.

The University wishes our staff to reflect the diversity of society and thus welcomes applications from all qualified candidates regardless of personal background.

Terms of employment

The position is covered by the Memorandum on Job Structure for Academic Staff.

Terms of appointment and payment accord to the agreement between the Ministry of Finance and The Danish Confederation of Professional Associations on Academics in the State.

The starting salary is currently up to DKK 437,435 including annual supplement (+ pension up to DKK 74,801). Negotiation for salary supplement is possible.

Application Procedure

The application, in English, must be submitted electronically by clicking APPLY NOW below.

Please include

  • Curriculum vitae
  • Cover letter
  • Diplomas (Master and PhD degree or equivalent)
  • Complete publication list
  • Highlight up to 3 particularly relevant papers

The deadline for applications is March 18th 2021, 23:59 GMT +1.

After the expiry of the deadline for applications, the authorized recruitment manager selects applicants for assessment on the advice of the Interview Committee.

You can read about the recruitment process at

Interviews will be held in April 2021.


Part of the International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU), and among Europe’s top-ranking universities, the University of Copenhagen promotes research and teaching of the highest international standard. Rich in tradition and modern in outlook, the University gives students and staff the opportunity to cultivate their talent in an ambitious and informal environment. An effective organisation – with good working conditions and a collaborative work culture – creates the ideal framework for a successful academic career.


Lars Hestbjerg Hansen


Application deadline: 18-03-2021
Employment start: 01-06-2021
Working hours: Full time
Department/Location: Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences
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