Researcher in Biology

Uppsala University


Researcher in Biology

Researcher in microbial eukaryote evolution with focus on the origin of plastids                     

The Department of Organismal Biology teaches and explores the evolution, development and function on the organismal level. For more information see 

The position is placed in the research group of Fabien Burki ( within the Systematic Biology program at the Department of Organismal Biology (Evolutionary Biology Center, Uppsala University). In the Burki lab, we study the broad diversity of microbial eukaryotes to understand some of the main transitions in deep eukaryote evolution such as the origin of plastids. You will join a vibrant lab of PhD students and postdocs that are passionate about the fascinating world of protists.

Project description 

The Burki lab was awarded an ERC Consolidator grant (PlastidOrigin) to study one of the most transformative events in eukaryote evolution–the origin and evolution of the photosynthetic organelles (the plastids) in Eukaryotes. We have recently built a large dataset of environmental plastid genomes using metagenome-assembled genomics, which led to the discovery of a novel plastid group only distantly related to known main groups of algae. This is an exciting finding not only because totally new algal groups are only very rarely discovered, but also because it has the potential to help explaining how plastids have spread across the tree of eukaryotes by endosymbiosis. The primarily aims of this position will be to attempt to isolate this new lineage from environmental samples, and characterising its morphology and genomes to provide detailed information on behaviour and evolution. A suite of methods will be employed, including sampling locations where DNA from environmental surveys indicate the presence of this group, isolation experiments, cultivation, microscopy, single-cell transcriptomics, and genomics.


The position may involves sampling (including abroad), lab work, and bioinformatics. Lab work will include: cell isolation, imaging with advanced fluorescence microscopy (CARD-FISH, confocal), cell-sorting, single-cell transcriptomics and genomics, attempts for cultivation of interesting cells in enrichment cultures. It may also include library preparation for metabarcoding and HTS sequencing. Bioinformatics will include analysis of diversity datasets, phylogenetics, analysis of genomic datasets, phylogenomic. The successful candidate will be expected to disseminate results in appropriate formats, including leading peer-reviewed publications and presenting at conferences. Training will be provided when necessary.


PhD in Biology or equivalent, or a foreign degree equivalent to a PhD degree in Biology or equivalent. 

The successful candidate will be highly motivated, ready to face and handle challenges, and enjoy working independently. We are looking for an experienced researcher with a strong record, appropriate for their career stage, of high-quality research publications. Great emphasis is placed on personal qualities such as high-motivation, planning and organizational skills, problem solving, stress management. We strive to create a friendly atmosphere among team-members and other employees in the work place, so a collegiate capacity to work as part of a team is necessary. Expertise and knowledge in sampling protists as well as handling and culturing protist cells are necessary and must be demonstrated in publications. The successful candidate must also demonstrate familiarity with fluorescent microscopy (confocal microscopy an asset) and methods such as CARD-FISH. A suite of other methodologies (including bioinformatics) will be used as described in the project description and some at least are required attributes of the candidate.

Additional qualifications: A general background in eukaryotic diversity and knowledge of the main protist groups will be seen as highly valuable. In filling this position, the university aims to recruit the person who, in the combined evaluation of competence, skills and documented qualifications, is judged most suitable to carry out and develop the work-in-hand and to contribute to a positive development of the department. Previous experience with cell sorting (e.g. FACS) will be judged positively. Expertise in bioinformatics (e.g. phylogeny, genomics) and use of a scripting language (Python, R) are additional valuable qualifications. Proficiency in English, both oral and in writing, is required.

Pay: Individual salary

Starting: December 1, 2024, or as agreed
Type of employment: Fulltime
Working hours: 100 %

For further information about the position please contact
Fabien Burki, +46 18 471 2779,

You are welcome to submit your application no later than July 15th 2024, UFV-PA 2024/1985

Are you considering moving to Sweden to work at Uppsala University? If so, you will find much information about working and living in Sweden at You are also welcome to contact the International Faculty and Staff Services at

Uppsala University is a broad research university with a strong international position. The ultimate goal is to conduct education and research of the highest quality and relevance to make a difference in society. Our most important asset is all of our 7,600 employees and 53,000 students who, with curiosity and commitment, make Uppsala University one of Sweden’s most exciting workplaces.

Read more about our benefits and what it is like to work at Uppsala University

The position may be subject to security vetting. If security vetting is conducted, the applicant must pass the vetting process to be eligible for employment.

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Submit your application through Uppsala University's recruitment system.

Placement: Department of Organismal Biology

Type of employment: Full time , Permanent position

Pay: Individual salary

Number of positions: 1

Working hours: 100%

Town: Uppsala

County: Uppsala län

Country: Sweden

Union representative: Seko Universitetsklubben

Number of reference: UFV-PA 2024/1985

Last application date: 2024-07-15

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