PhD student position available in epitranscriptomics and neurbiology, CIG, UNIL (CH)

>>>Link to the job add<<<


UNIL is a leading international teaching and research institution, with over 5,000 employees and 15,500 students split between its Dorigny campus, CHUV and Epalinges. As an employer, UNIL encourages excellence, individual recognition and responsibility.


Prof. Jean-Yves Roignant ( at the Center for Integrative Genomics at UNIL is seeking a PhD student with a strong background and interest in neurobiology, RNA biology and bioinformatics

Job information

Expected start date in position: to be agreed

Contract length: 1 year, renewable, max. 4 years

Activity rate: 100%

Workplace: University of Lausanne, Dorigny

Your responsibilities

Intellectual disability (ID) is a generalized neuronal disorder characterized by the reduced ability to understand new or complex information and learn and apply new skills. Levels of ID can vary greatly among individuals and can be caused by injury, stroke or certain infections. Other causes involved genetic and epigenetic alterations. However, for many children the cause of their ID is not known.

Recent genome wide association studies (GWAS) have revealed the implication of numerous RNA modifying enzymes in ID. Owing to the development of new mapping methods, the field of chemical modifications of RNA molecules, the so-called epitranscriptome, has gained tremendous interests in the last couple of years. it has become clear that these modifications are prevalent on all classes of RNA and they can play a crucial role in gene regulation. Nevertheless their molecular roles in mediating brain functions have been relatively unexplored. In particular, there have been relatively few studies on the biological relevance of these modifications in terms of impact on functional cellular processes and neurobiological pathways.

We have established Drosophila models for RNA modification enzymes that recapitulate some of the features observed in ID patients. The candidate will take advantage of these models to determine the molecular and neural mechanisms that explain the distinct phenotypes of these animals. The project will involve a combination of molecular genetics, genome engineering, transcriptomics, proteomics, imaging and behavioural analysis.

Relevant references:

Worpenberg et al., EMBO Journal (2021)

Leismann et al., EMBO Reports (2020)

Angelova et al., Frontiers in bioengineering and biotechnology (2018)

Lence et al., Nature (2016)

Although most of the time will be dedicated to the research project, the candidate will also be involved in undergraduate teaching (e.g., practical class preparation, literature reading classes).

Your qualifications

In order to complete our team, we are looking for someone with the following skills:

  • A Master’s degree in molecular biology, neurobiology and/or RNA biology;
  • Strong interests/skills in molecular biology, neurobiology and bioinformatics
  • Excellent scientific writing, communication and interpersonal skills.

What the position offers you

The candidate will be supervised by Prof. Jean-Yves Roignant, in a diverse, dynamic and international research laboratory. The working language is English. As part of the European Innovative Training Networks on RNA modifications the candidate will have the opportunity to travel across Europe and exchange ideas with other fellows of the consortium.

The Center for Integrative Genomics encompasses 16 research labs investigating diverse fields related to functional genomics, and offers state-of-the-art experimental facilities.  We offer a nice working place in a multicultural, diverse and dynamic academic environment. Opportunities for professional training, a lot of activities and other benefits to discover.

Contact for further information

Informal requests for information can be made by email to:

Your application

To apply you must upload as a single pdf document:

  • a CV, including the names of 2-3 referees
  • a motivation letter in English describing (i) your past research experience and (ii) your scientific interests and how they are a good match for the host laboratory

Deadline: 31.03.2020

Only applications through the University of Lausanne job portal will be taken into account. (this website).

We thank you for your understanding.

Additional information

UNIL is committed to equal opportunities and diversity.

UNIL supports early career researchers.