Research Fellow of Ancient DNA

Estonia (EE)
18 Aug 2020
End of advertisement period
15 Oct 2020
Academic Discipline
Life sciences, Biological Sciences
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

Research Fellow of Ancient DNA
Institute of Genomics
Deadline: 15.10.2020

Duties and responsibilities

Research, development and creative activities, at least 70% of working time

  • Participation in RDC activities in frame of the project under the supervision of a professor, associate professor or senior research fellow.
  • Internationally recognised research in five years at least in the volume equivalent to that of 1.5 doctoral thesis. 
  • Development of skills necessary for RDC activities, and professional development.
  • Generate 400 aDNA libraries from ancient skeletal material.
  • Perform human population genetic analyses on 400 genomes from this project as well as comparative published aDNA data.
  • Write at least one publication on the results of the population genetic analyses and contribute to group publications.

Teaching and activities related to the administration and development of teaching, up to 20% of working time

  • Teaching, using modern teaching methods and educational technology, primarily supervising students of the first and second level of higher education.
  • Professional development to enhance teaching and supervising skills.

Participation in the governance and institutional development of the university and social and public activities, up to 10% of working time

  • Participation in the work of the university’s decision-making bodies is recommended.
  • Popularisation of the specialisation.

See also job description

Required qualifications
PhD in Archaeogenetics, Bioarchaeology, or Biological Anthropology or an equivalent qualification. See also requirements for teaching and research staff.

Required experience

  • Ability to participate in organising RDC activities in the specialisation.
  • Internationally recognised professional research, the volume of which so far is equivalent to that of at least one doctoral thesis.
  • Experience of working in a clean room and of ancient DNA wet lab protocols including sampling, drilling, extracting, purifying DNA, building NGS libraries and target capture.
  • Experience of ancient DNA bioinformatic analysis and of current software used.
  • Have extensive experience collecting, organising, sampling, extracting DNA and building NGS aDNA libraries from teeth and bones.
  • Have extensive NGS data bioinformatic skills and be able to perform population genetic analyses through a command line interface.
  • Be able to work independently and contribute positively to the project group as well as the wider aDNA group.
  • Be able to generate and carry out the analyses needed to answer high-impact research questions.
  • Have a publication record demonstrating excellent synthesis and writing skills. 

Required language skills
Starting at 01.01.2021, temporary contract to 31.12.2024
Workload 1,00
Salary 33 200.00 EUR/year (negotiable dependent on experience level). Net salary after all taxes (incl. coverage of medical insurance and pension) is 25 603.84 EUR/year. See also UT salary rules.

Additional info 
The Institute of Genomics was formed in 2018 through a merger of the Estonian Genome Centre and the Estonian Biocentre bringing together world class expertise in medical, population and evolutionary genomics. We host the Estonian Biobank ( which has 200 000 participants and is connected to national health registries for phenotypic information. We run a brand-new ancient DNA laboratory, a core facility for DNA/RNA sequencing and genotyping and have access to a High-Performance Computing centre ( We publish widely in top journals and sport a vibrant and international research community of 70 researchers and students. 

This project tests alternative models of prehistoric inequality and deathways. To investigate social relations in life, it uses osteobiography, reconstructing life stories from skeletons through scientific data on identity, health, diet, mobility and kinship. To understand deathways, it employs a second new methodology, funerary taphonomy. Combining osteobiography and taphonomy allows us to connect ancient lives and deaths. Peninsular Italy provides a substantial test sequence typical of much of Europe. 400 individuals from three key periods (Neolithic, 6000-4000 BC; Final Neolithic to Early Bronze Age, 4000-1800 BC; Middle Bronze Age to Iron Age, 1800-600 BC) will be analysed for aDNA. The results will allow us to evaluate for the first time how inequality affected lives in prehistoric Europe and what role ancestors played in it. 

We are looking for a motivated postdoctoral researcher with a proven track record in ancient DNA data generation and analysis to join our European Research Council funded project: ANCESTORS. How did politics and inequality work in prehistoric Europe? Traditionally, politics has been seen in terms of discrete political ranks identified through differential treatment of individual burials. But this results in classifying much of prehistory, where the dead were treated in ways which effaced individual identity, as egalitarian. The result is an artificially dichotomous history: Neolithic people had landscapes, rituals and ancestors, Bronze and Iron Age people had politics and inequality. In the last two decades this approach has been strongly critiqued and has never been tested empirically. 

Estonian Biocentre, ancient DNA research group. Supervisor: Dr. Christiana Scheib
If you have any further questions, please contact: Christiana Scheib: or Merilin Raud, 737 5063, or Mait Metspalu,  

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