Job offer available in Scotland Bioinformatic analyses of stress-related genetic data in chickens at University of St Andrews

Start Date: Autumn 2019 PhD entry (27 Sep or 27 Oct 2019)

Term: fixed 3 years 

How do genetics and early life experience shape behaviour? What traces of this can we see in an animal’s genes, gene expression and epigenetics? In this studentship you will address these questions focused on stress response in chickens. You will join a European Network that is investigating the factors that can make hens more or less resilient to stress, and will work with data collected by Network members on genetics of ancestral jungle fowl and domestic chickens, epigenetics, and brain transcriptomes. You will apply bioinformatics analysis and cutting-edge network- and pathway-based inference and machine learning techniques (e.g., Bayesian networks) to reveal gene networks related to stress responsivity. This project is ideal for an individual interested in learning how computational genomics and bioinformatics can be applied in neuroscience and behaviour, with opportunity for further development of machine learning/network analyses. 

You will be employed by and registered for a PhD at the University of St Andrews in Scotland, placed within a computational biology group advancing network-based analyses for biological and social systems. You will undertake four one-month secondments to Linköping University in Sweden to familiarise yourself with the main genetic data and its experimental collection, and a two-month secondment to Hendrix Genetics in the Netherlands to learn about the data involved with commercial laying hen selection. 

To apply, you should hold a good undergraduate or Masters degree either in a relevant biological (e.g., Biology, Molecular Biology, Neuroscience) or computational (e.g., Computer Science, Mathematics, Statistics) discipline with demonstrated experience and/or interest in the other subject area, or in an interdisciplinary/joint degree programme combining biological and computational sciences. You should have basic knowledge of genetics and basic programming/scripting skills. Above all, you should be enthusiastic to learn new interdisciplinary techniques and undertake exciting research at the interface of computation, genetics, and neuroscience. 

This PhD project is part of the ChickenStress European Training Network (ETN): view more at

Eligibility: ChickenStress PhD studentships are open to people of any nationality. However, the Marie S. Curie Actions have two strict eligibility criteria for applicants to these positions:

  • EARLY STAGE: The applicant must be within the first four years (full-time equivalent research experience) of her/his research career (starting from the moment you obtain a degree that makes you eligible to study for a PhD) and not have a doctoral degree. Adjustments can be made for career breaks.
  • MOBILITY: The applicant must not have resided or carried out her/his main activity (e.g. work, studies) in the country where she/he has been recruited for more than 12 months in the three years immediately before the recruitment date (this is the day on which you start your PhD).

Further information about eligibility criteria, the application process and the online application form are available at: 

Deadline: Wednesday 15 May 2019 

Applications should be made via: 


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