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PhD Position in Inter and Transgenerational Phenotypic Epigenetics

Positions by 99Science

Project title: Study on the intergenerational and transgenerational phenotypic and epigenetic effect of in ovo chicken embryo stimulation.

Hypotheses and objectives of the project

The term “epigenetic modifications” refers to phenotypic changes in an individual caused by mechanisms that are not related to alterations in the DNA sequence. These modifications can result from extracellular signals and environmental factors. The in ovo injection of bioactive substances (e.g., probiotics, prebiotics, or synbiotics) can stimulate not only the host immune system through the gut microbiome modification but also fine-tune the gene expression at early stages of development and turn animal more efficient or resistant later. However, it is not clear whether and how these phenotypic changes are inherited in subsequent generations. Therefore, the two leading hypotheses were stated in this project: 1/ Bioactive substances, synbiotic and choline, administered in ovo can stimulate embryonic development and produce a life-long impact on the chicken phenotype (such as gut health, immune system, performance, mortality, and physiological traits); 2/ Epigenetic changes that were acquired in one generation, as a result of the in ovo impact on embryonic and long-term postembryonic development, can be permanently inherited and propagated in future generations. Consequently, the objectives of the project are to analyse whether epigenetic changes that were acquired in one generation can be stably inherited in future generations and to investigate the physiological relevance of this inheritance in intergenerational and transgenerational level. Moreover, the molecular mechanisms behind this type of information transfer will be examined by using a high-informative multi-omics approach. We believe that the results of this project will provide new evidence for offspring programming by in ovo delivery of a synbiotic and choline.


·        preferred study background: bioinformatics, animal biotechnology, bioengineering, animal sciences, veterinary medicine or biology;

·        status of a PhD student – at the PBS Doctoral school in a discipline of animal science and fisheries (recruitment to the doctoral school will take place after being accepted for work in the project);

·        experience in laboratory work covering molecular techniques such as DNA, transcriptome and/or epigenome analysis. Knowledge of chromatin analysis techniques will be an additional advantage. Note – handling animals is required in the project;

·        some experience in bioinformatic processing of data including analyses of a genome and/or transcriptome and/or epigenome will be an additional advantage;

·        minimum one peer-reviewed scientific publication with (co)authorship;

·        theoretical and practical knowledge of basic statistical methods;

·        very good knowledge of English (in communication and writing, certificate of min. level B);

·        the motivation for research and career development, capability for team working in a multilanguage and multicultural environment;

·        availability for working non-standard hours (due to experimental schedule) and intersectoral/international mobilities (1-3 months);

·        other achievements: peer-reviewed and other scientific papers, international and intersectoral mobilities, experience in research projects that were funded from competitive external grants, active participation in conferences.

Description of tasks:

·        optimization of sample preparation and collection;

·        sampling and documentation of experiments;

·        optimization of protocols and preparation of libraries for next-generation sequencing (NGS);

·        optimization and performance of chromatin immunoprecipitation experiment;

·        analysis of DNA and RNA by PCR, qPCR, RT-qPCR, etc.;

·        bioinformatic analysis of NGS data (transcriptome, epigenome);

·        other general tasks: cooperation with project partners including international research internships (e.g. to carry out selected parts of research with other project partners), preparation of peer-reviewed manuscripts (delivering minimum 2 original research publications as a part of the doctoral dissertation), dissemination of project results, active participation in scientific conferences (oral presentations).

Type of NCN grant panel: OPUS – NZ9

Conditions of employment:

·        Place of employment and place of work: Department of Animal Biotechnology and Genetics, Faculty of Animal Breeding and Biology, Bydgoszcz University of Science and Technology, 85-084 Mazowiecka Str. 28, Bydgoszcz, Poland.

·        The candidate will receive the NCN scientific scholarship (3000PLN/ month, tax-free, through maximum 42 months of the project) based on the scholarship agreement, which will be cumulative to the regular doctoral scholarship (up to 5000 PLN/month).

·        The candidate will perform her/his PhD research within this project.

·        The expected starting date of engagement in the project tasks: 15/02/2022.

Additional information/recruitment:

·        Deadline for submission of the applications: not later than 31st January 2022 (22:00, CEST).

·        Form of application: an e-mail entitled ‘Epig2022 NCN scholarship’, send to [email protected] exclusively as pdf.

·        The applicants will be contacted about the decision to further interviews by 9th February 2022.

The recruitment will be performed by the recruitment commission (min. 3 persons), according to the NCN regulations (Act No. 50/2013 from 3/6/2013), and will be based on the CV provided and the interviews with the selected candidates.

The candidate application should contain:

·        CV (max 2 pages, A4 format) and cover letter (max 1 page) including the following information:

– basic personal details;

– education and vocational career;

– table list of the co-authored scientific articles (including journal IF);

– list of other publications (popular-scientific, patents, etc.);

– list indicating active involvement in scientific conferences (year, place, title, oral/poster);

– list of scientific projects (funded by competitive grants) in which the candidate was involved (research topic, grant no., the role of the candidate);

-list of scientific internships or training (title of the internship/training, role of candidate, place, period);

-list of other skills and technical and scientific competencies;

·        copies of MSc diplomas or equivalent, with supplement;

·        the English language certificate (the English language requirement at the PBS doctoral school is at ‘English B level’- TOEFL, IELTS, CAE or CPE);

·        at least 2 contact details to the persons, who can endorse the candidate’s application;

·        signed consent for processing personal data: ‘I hereby give consent for my personal data included in the application to be processed for the purposes of the recruitment process in accordance with Art. 6 paragraph 1 letter a of the Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council (EU) 2016/679 of 27 April 2016 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data, and repealing Directive 95/46/EC (General Data Protection Regulation).

The additional information can be obtained from the project supervisor (e-mail: [email protected]).


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