PhD position in CRISPR method development and the use of CRISPR to explore fish biology

The Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU)

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About the position

The Department of Animal- and Aquacultural Sciences ( IHA ), Faculty of Biosciences ( BIOVIT ), at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) is inviting applications for a 3-year PhD position developing and using CRISPR methods to address specific biological questions in fish species.

The successful candidate will conduct research that relates to and supports relevant projects underway at CIGENE , a multidisciplinary genome biology research group possessing expertise in genetics, evolutionary and comparative genomics, bioinformatics and systems biology.

Located within the Department of Animal- and Aquacultural Sciences, this research group includes 2 full-time professors, 2 associate professors, 1 center coordinator, 11 researchers, 4 postdocs, 8 PhD students and 10 research technicians.

CIGENE has a strong aqua- and agri- research profile, with key strengths in the application of ‘omics’ data to understand the genetic architecture of complex traits. The group wishes to use functional genomics technologies, including gene editing, in order to better understand the biology underlying specific genotype-phenotype associations. CIGENE has excellent wet and dry lab facilities for automated high-throughput omics, and bioinformatics.

Main tasks

Gene editing (GE) methodologies like CRISPR enable genome modifications to be performed with high precision. The method is rapidly developing, and now it is possible to knock-out and knock-in genes, control gene expression and conditional edit genes, also in fish.

This technique gives us enormous possibilities for studying physiological systems and functions of different genes. However, the application of these methods are still not straight-forward in all species.

Our lab is establishing competence with GE and is looking for a PhD applicant who can take a role in developing protocols to enable and quantify the effects of CRISPR in salmonids and possibly model fish species (zebrafish, medaka) at CIGENE.

Experimentation (designed, performed and interpreted by the applicant) will be performed via transfection of cell cultures, and microinjection of eggs and embryos. In addition to CRISPR method development, the PhD applicant will work with different biological questions in collaboration with other researchers at CIGENE.

The post will provide a unique opportunity to ambitious individuals that enjoy a creative, interactive, interdisciplinary and international academic environment and seek personal development.

Qualifications and skills

The successful applicant must meet the conditions defined for admission to a PhD programme at NMBU. The applicant must have an academically relevant education corresponding to a five-year Norwegian degree programme, where 120 credits are at master's degree level. The applicant must have a documented strong academic background from previous studies and be able to document proficiency in both written and oral English. For more detailed information on the admission criteria please see the PhD Regulations and the relevant PhD programme description.
The applicant must document expertise and interest in the research subject.

Required qualifications and competence:

  • Master's degree in functional genomics, molecular biology, cell biology, physiology, or similar
  • Recent practical lab experience with gene editing, molecular and cell biology and/or cell culture techniques
  • Excellent communication skills both to the scientific community and to a broader audience

Desired qualifications and competence:

  • Experience with analyses of genomics/transcriptomics/epigenomics data
  • Relevant statistical and programming skills

Required personal skills:

  • Highly motivated and enthusiastic, and keen to take personal responsibility for the success of the activities
  • Prepared to perform independent work displaying initiative and careful creative thought on a day-to-day basis, but within a larger team structure
  • Analytical and academic approach to research questions
  • Excellent collaborative and social skills
  • Proficiency in English, both written and spoken. Proficiency in Norwegian is not required but is advantageous.

Remuneration and information

The position is placed in government pay scale position code 1017 PhD. Fellow, wage framework 20, salary grade 51-62. PhD Fellows are normally placed in pay grade 51 (NOK 449 400) on the Norwegian Government salary scale upon employment and follow ordinary meriting regulations.

For further information, please contact Dr. Guro Sandvik by email: , or phone +47 48290403 ; or group leader prof. Sigbjørn Lien by email: , or phone +47 91353715 .

Information for PhD applicants and general Information to applicants


To apply online for this vacancy, please click on the 'Apply for this job' button above. This will route you to the University's Web Recruitment System, where you will need to register an account (if you have not already) and log in before completing the online application form.

Application deadline: May 5th 2019

Applications should include (electronically) a letter of intent, curriculum vitae, full publication list, copies of degree certificates and transcripts of academic records (all certified), and a list of two persons who may act as references (with phone numbers and e-mail addresses). Publications should be included electronically within the application deadline. The relevant NMBU Department may require further documentation, e.g. proof of English proficiency.

If it is difficult to judge the applicant’s contribution for publications with multiple authors, a short description of the applicant’s contribution must be included.


BIOVIT is organized into two departments: Department of Animal and Aquacultural Sciences and Department of Plant Sciences .

The main objective of BIOVIT is to contribute to the development of sustainable agriculture and food production systems through basic and applied research on plants and animals including fish (aquaculture). The faculty houses Centre for Integrative Genetics (CIGENE) and the research center for Research-based Innovation (SFI) – Foods of Norway.

The faculty is responsible for bachelor- and master programmes in Biology, Animal Science and Plant Science, and international master programmes in Agroecology, Plant Science, Aquaculture, Animal Breeding Genetics and Feed Manufacturing Technology. PhD programmes include Animal Science and Aquaculture, and Plant Sciences. There are currently 480 bachelor and master students, and 90 PhD students, enrolled in these programmes. The faculty has approximately 220 permanent and temporary scientific employees, including technicians, and 18 administrative positions.


Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU)



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