Myanmar Timber Elephant Project

We are hiring a postdoctoral researcher in functional genomics

November 7, 2023

We are hiring a postdoctoral researcher in Functional Genomics into the Myanmar Timber Elephant Project led by professor Virpi Lummaa. The postdoctoral position is funded by the Research Council of Finland and will be based at the University of Turku, Finland. The project will be conducted in close collaboration with Camila Mazzoni’s group in the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research and the Berlin Center for Genomics in Biodiversity Research, in Berlin, Germany, where the researcher is expected to perform at least one research visit.

Job description

The first phase of the postdoctoral position involves active participation in ongoing research related to Asian elephant population genomics and the analysis of the reference genome, with the valuable opportunity to contribute to their finalization and publication. The main goal of the project is to use cutting edge genomic and modelling methods, and a pre-existing diverse demographic data available for a large semi-captive population of Asian elephants with three distinct tusk morphs (long, short, none) to study the genetic basis of the tusk development, and the sex-specific selection pressures and evolutionary consequences of this trait in Asian elephants. The postdoctoral researcher will work on the genomic data already available, which includes the first annotated reference genome for the species, resequencing data for 67 individuals and RADseq data for 260 individuals. Besides, the researcher will be responsible for organizing the generation of new genomic data necessary to characterize genomic regions underlying phenotypic differences in tusk morphs. The work plan consists of the following tasks: processing and analysing whole genome and reduced representation genomic data using cutting edge analytical tools; performing bioinformatics analyses, mainly focused on genomic characterization and population and functional genomics; managing genomic data and computational resources for genomic data analysis, analyzing demographic data (survival, reproduction, health) for different tusk types, and writing scientific articles from the results.

The candidate should hold a doctorate degree in Biology or related areas, and a scientific and professional background that aligns with the following specific activities:

We value equality and diversity in our work community and encourage qualified applicants, regardless of background, to apply for our open positions.

Apply between 7 November 2023 and 30 November 2023 16:00 (Europe/Helsinki)

Who we are looking for

Desirable qualifications

We seek a highly motivated, enthusiastic and hard-working candidate. Applicant must show good interpersonal skills and be willing to work in close collaboration with the project PI and other members of the international project team, as well as have the ability to work independently.


We offer you responsible and interesting tasks and the opportunity to develop your professional skills in a versatile operating environment. You get a professional and inspiring team to support your work. We take care of your well-being at work and the functionality of your everyday life, e.g. with the help of flexible working hours and our well-being services.

Please read more about University of Turku as an employee fomr Come work with us! pages.

The European Commission has awarded the University of Turku the right to use the HR Excellence in Research logo. The logo is a token of the University’s commitment to continuous development of the position and working conditions of researchers according to the guidelines set forth in the European Charter for Researchers. 

The university offers good support and orientation for international hires. Please learn more about the Finnish culture and relocation to Finland:

Salary and trial period

The salary for the position is determined in accordance with the university salary system for research personnel. For the postdoctoral researcher salary follows the levels 5-6 of teaching and research staff (3150,54 – 3673,96 EUR/month). In addition, a personal work performance component will be paid. The personal work performance component is 6-50% of the task specific salary component. All standard pension benefits and occupational health care are provided for university employees.

The salary will be commensurate with qualifications and experience based on the University salary system and will in the beginning of the employment be approximately 3600 – 4000 €/month.

The position has a trial period of six months.

How to apply

Please submit your application through our online recruitment system. The closing date for applications is Thursday 30.11.2023 at 16.00 (EEST GMT+3 / at 13:00 UTC).

Please write your application and accompanying documents in English. 

Applicants should enclose with their application:

Further information

For further information about the position, please contact: professor Virpi Lummaa, virpi.lummaa(at)

With questions about the application process, please contact: HR-specialist Kaisa Ketomäki, kaiketom(at)

Department of Biology

In the Department of Biology, we explore life and biological evolution in a range of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. Empirical experimentation in the field and laboratory is widely applied when digging into the structure and function of individuals, populations, communities and ecosystems. The Department of Biology is one of the scientifically most productive units of the University and successfully educates experts at all degree levels. It also harbors the Center of Evolutionary Applications that supports academic research and provides molecular genetic analyses for conservation needs outside the University.

The University of Turku is an inspiring and international academic community of 25,000 students and staff in Southwest Finland. We build a sustainable future with multidisciplinary research, education, and collaboration. With us, your work will have a significant impact and relevance in the changing world.

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