University of Jyväskylä

Postdoctoral Researcher in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

2024-07-31 (Europe/Helsinki)
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The JYU is a nationally and internationally significant research university and an expert on education that focuses on human and natural sciences.

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A two-year Postdoctoral Researcher position is available at the Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland, in the research group led by Dr. Liisa Hämäläinen. The Postdoctoral Researcher will work on the project that aims to understand the feedback loops between predator gut microbiome, diet and behaviour, funded by the Academy of Finland. Starting date is September 2024, or as mutually agreed.


Many prey species have evolved chemical defences against predators. Previous consumption of prey toxins is known to influence predators’ decisions to attack chemically defended prey, but physiological costs associated with ingesting prey toxins and the mechanisms underlying changes in foraging behaviour remain poorly understood. In this project, we investigate the role of the predator gut microbiome in interactions between avian predators and chemically defended prey. All animals have microorganisms in their gut, and theoretical models predict feedback loops between gut microbiome, diet and host behaviour. We aim to translate this to an ecologically relevant context by quantifying how the consumption of prey toxins alters the great tit (Parus major) gut microbiome, and what potential consequences this has for predator-prey coevolution. The Postdoctoral Researcher will help develop a novel in vitro microcosm method to cultivate microbial strains from the great tit gut microbiome and run a series of experiments to investigate how gut microbes respond to various prey toxins. The project will be done in collaboration with Dr. Suvi Ruuskanen and Prof. Phillip Watts (University of Jyväskylä).

Who we are looking for


The Postdoctoral Researcher will focus on developing in vitro microcosm system with great tit gut microbiome and conduct controlled laboratory experiments to investigate the effect of prey toxins on the gut microbiome composition. The position involves laboratory analyses, bioinformatics of 16s rRNA sequencing, manuscript preparation and student supervision.


Candidates should have a PhD degree in microbiology, molecular biology, evolutionary biology, or related field. We expect a strong background in microbiome research, skills in laboratory analysis and bioinformatics, and interest in species interactions and predator-prey coevolution. We are seeking a highly motivated, innovative and productive person who can work both independently and collaboratively. Good communication skills in English are necessary.

The duties, qualification requirements and language skills of the postdoctoral researchers are stipulated by the University of Jyväskylä Regulations and language skills guidelines. The PhD degree required for the position must have been completed before starting the position. A trial period of six months will be used in the beginning of the employment.



  • Funding for 2 years.
  • Resources for travel to conferences.
  • Opportunity to improve skills in laboratory analyses and bioinformatics.
  • International, enthusiastic and collaborative working environment.
  • Well-equipped laboratory and state-of-the-art scientific equipment, software, access to journals and scientific databases.

At the University of Jyväskylä, you are a recognized member of our community with a unique opportunity to influence international research. You get to participate in our international and multidisciplinary community where the welfare of each individual is important. At the University of Jyväskylä, we offer a great and lively campus area with opportunities to maintain an active and healthy lifestyle. 

Finland has a high standard of living, with free schooling (also in English), affordable childcare, good family benefits, and healthcare. Jyväskylä is located in central Finland in the Finnish lakeland and has excellent opportunities for different nature, outdoor, and sports activities. The city of Jyväskylä is a major educational center and the city has a large student population. As such there is a vibrant cultural scene in the city. To find useful information about the University of Jyväskylä, the City of Jyväskylä and living in Finland, see the University's International Staff Guide.

The annual salary range for the postdoctoral researchers will be approximately 44,000 - 51,000 EUR, gross income, including holiday bonus), depending on the qualifications and experience of the candidate.

How to apply?

The application documents that should be included in PDF format:

  1. A two-page long Curriculum vitae, composed according to good scientific practice and considering the template for researcher´s curriculum vitae by The Finnish Advisory Board on Research Integrity and including contact information of two academics who can provide reference letters
  2. Cover letter including a statement of research interests.
  3. A numbered list of publications, if any
  4. Relevant certificates / diplomas (or date of completion of the PhD)
  5. *Research plan is not mandatory, please submit a blank file instead.

Applicants are kindly asked to submit their applications using the online application form by July 31st, 2024.

For further details, please contact: Academy Research Fellow Liisa Hämäläinen,

Department of Biological and Environmental Science

The research in the Department of Biological and Environmental Science focuses on three core areas: evolutionary biology, natural resources and environment, and biological nanoscience. The Department building, Ambiotica, is an integral part of the University of Jyväskylä's Ylistönrinne Mathematics and Science Research Complex, which includes buildings of chemistry, physics and nanoscience. Ambiotica houses high quality laboratories for bioscience and experimental facilities for a wide range of biological and chemical analyses as well as highly motivated laboratory personnel.

The University of Jyväskylä is a human-centered environment of 2,500 experts and 14,500 students. Our goal is to create wisdom and wellbeing for all. JYU's naturally beautiful campus is located in the heart of the city of Jyväskylä. JYU is the third largest employer in Central Finland.

Phone: 014 260 1211
Location: Seminaarinkatu 15

The application form cannot be saved as draft. However, you have 6 hours to complete your application before the timeout. After submitting you can return to edit your application via the link you receive by email. The application can be edited until the application deadline.

Lisätietoa työpaikasta

Postdoctoral Researcher in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Seminaarinkatu 15 Jyväskylä, Suomi
Viimeinen hakupäivä
2024-07-31 23:59 (Europe/Helsinki)
2024-07-31 22:59 (CET)
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The JYU is a nationally and internationally significant research university and an expert on education that focuses on human and natural sciences.

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