Postdoc in Mass Spectrometry for Palaeoproteomics at the Globe Institute
The Evolutionary Palaeoproteomics research group, led by Associate Professor Enrico Cappellini, is looking for a highly competent, motivated, and dynamic Postdoc with a solid research background in mass spectrometry (MS) applied to organic chemistry and ideally with demonstrated experience in MS-based (palaeo)proteomics, for a 2-year full-time position starting on the 1st of January 2024 or immediately thereafter.
The position is funded by the ERC Advanced Grant “BACKWARD - Overcoming the Frontiers of Biomolecular Studies on Human History and Adaptation Using Palaeoproteomics” awarded to Enrico Cappellini. BACKWARD aims to advancing knowledge about the evolution and variation of hominin and other mammalian species that went extinct millions of years ago, by developing new MS-based palaeoproteomic methods to retrieve and sequence proteins from palaeoanthropological and paleontological remains, beyond the limits of ancient DNA preservation.
The Evolutionary Palaeoproteomics research group is based at the Globe Institute, a department in the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences at the University of Copenhagen. The Globe Institute main purpose is to address basic scientific questions through interdisciplinary approaches. The Institute conducts research into, among other topics, the origin, evolution and diversity of the universe, the Earth and life. Within the Globe Institute, the Cappellini Group is part of the Section for GeoGenetics. The GeoGenetics section uses genomics, metagenomics and proteomics to study, among other topics, evolution and human-environment interaction. The section uses state-of-the-art technologies to break scientific boundaries to pursue cross-disciplinary research.
Information on the Globe Institute can be found here: https://globe.ku.dk
Research and work environment
The molecular-based taxonomic identification of most fossil hominid taxa and the determination of the phylogenetic relationships connecting them remain challenging. Our group, in close collaboration with the proteomic research group led by Prof Jesper V. Olsen at CPR, also part of the University of Copenhagen, develops and applies MS-based proteomic methods to sequence million-years-old proteins, currently the only source of genetic information beyond the limits of ancient DNA preservation. We then use this information to define the phylogenetic position of a set of extinct hominid species from Asia and Africa whose fossils are up to ~2-3 million years old.
Interestingly, ancient protein analysis can also be used to determine the sex of fossil mammalian teeth and consequently to distinguish whether their morphological variation derives from either sexual dimorphism or taxonomic diversity. In close collaboration with a broad international and interdisciplinary network of colleagues, we then integrate our results with previous knowledge from other approaches, such as morphometric analysis.
The Evolutionary Palaeoproteomics group works as a highly integrated team of doctoral and post-doctoral members each one with their expertise, including: palaeoanthropology, paleoethology, bioinformatics and ancient protein biochemistry, who all support each other to achieve common and individual scientific objectives. If selected for the open position, you will join an inclusive team already highly diverse in terms of gender, nationality, scientific background and geographic origin.
We strive for advancing palaeoproteomic research by increasing the recovery of ancient protein traces from older and older palaeoanthropological and paleontological fossil remains originating from geographic areas and geological contexts unfavourable to biomolecular preservation. As part of this common goal, your tasks would be to design, test and deploy innovative MS workflows for palaeoproteomics, integrating the most advanced instrumentation in close collaboration with the proteomic research group led by Prof Jesper V. Olsen, at CPR. Specifically, you will mainly focus on establishing novel MS methodologies to: (i) maximise ancient protein recovery from fossil bone and tooth specimens generally older than 1 million years, and (ii) screen large sets of morphologically non-informative isolated fossil fragments of bones and teeth, to identify the species and sex of the organism from which they originated. Additional responsibilities will include deep involvement in the paleontological and palaeoanthropological research projects developed in the group and possibly supervision/training of PhD fellows and Master’s students.
We are looking for a highly motivated and enthusiastic scientist with the following competencies and experience:
Essential experience and skills:
- You have a PhD in analytical chemistry, biochemistry, molecular biology, or related discipline,
- You have demonstrated hands-on experience in operating LC-MS instruments for the analysis of organic compounds,
- You have a demonstrated proficiency, in improving/optimising LC-MS workflows
- You have demonstrated experience in testing and validating new LC-MS workflows
- You have demonstrated experience in computationally processing and interpreting data generated by LC-MS-based analysis,
- You have demonstrated experience in publishing the results of your research as (co-)leading / (co-)corresponding author,
- You have proficient communication skills and ability to work in a team
- You have excellent English skills written and spoken
- You have good organizational and analytical skills and ability to meet strict deadlines,
- You have a proactive, flexible and problem-solving attitude,
- You have excellent multitasking and prioritizing skills,
- You have the ability to carry out duties in a structured and systematic manner and with a high degree of autonomy,
- You are prepared to occasionally travel within and outside Europe.
Desirable experience and skills:
- You have demonstrated hands-on experience in operating LC-MS instruments for proteomic or peptidomic analysis,
- You have demonstrated experience in computationally processing and interpreting data generated by LC-MS-based proteomic or peptidomic analysis,
- You have demonstrated experience in preparing samples for MS-based palaeoproteomic analysis,
- You have demonstrated experience in working with low amounts of highly degraded protein/compound traces,
- You have demonstrated experience in computationally processing LC-MS data by writing and executing command line scripts,
- You have demonstrated experience using, and writing scripts for, software for statistical data analysis, such as “R”,
- You have demonstrated experience in competitively attracting research funds.
Place of employment
The place of employment is at the Globe Institute, University of Copenhagen, Øster Voldgade 5-7, 1350 Copenhagen. We offer creative and stimulating working conditions in dynamic and international research environment. The Globe molecular biology labs are a core lab facility for the research groups at the institute. The facility is divided into a dedicated clean lab, exclusively designated for ancient biomolecules such as DNA and proteins, and a general molecular biology lab at separate locations. The clean labs are subdivided into human and non-human sections. The labs have positive pressure of filtered air, air-locks, UV-light etc., and all work is conducted in full-body suits protecting the lab products. The Mass Spectrometry Platform at CPR is equipped with world-leading technology, to provide technical support and maintenance for the Proteomics Program, and to provide analytical proteomics support for CPR research groups.
The Globe Institute is committed to creating an inclusive and diverse environment where employees and students can belong and thrive. See website for more information. All qualified applicants will receive full consideration. Candidates who, through their research, teaching, and/or service, contribute to diversity and competencies of our Institute are encouraged to apply. The University of Copenhagen strives to offer a family friendly and flexible working environment with a sustainable balance between work- and private life, including parental leave schemes (up to 47 weeks for both parents) and up to six weeks of paid holidays per year. Researchers that have not been tax liable in Denmark for the last 10 years can apply for a special (reduced) tax scheme. The university offers a variety of services for international researchers and accompanying families.
Terms of employment
The average weekly working hours are 37 hours per week.
The position is a fixed-term position limited to a period of two years. The starting date is the 1st of January 2024, or immediately thereafter.
Salary, pension and other conditions of employment are set in accordance with the Agreement between the Ministry of Taxation and AC (Danish Confederation of Professional Associations) or other relevant organisation. Currently, the monthly salary starts at approx. 36,400 DKK/ 4,880 EUR (October 2021 level). Depending on qualifications, a supplement may be negotiated. The employer will pay an additional 17.1 % to your pension fund.
Foreign and Danish applicants may be eligible for tax reductions, if they hold a PhD degree and have not lived in Denmark the last 10 years.
The position is covered by the Job Structure for Academic Staff at Universities 2020.
For further information please contact Enrico Cappellini, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; www.sund.ku.dk
Foreign applicants may find this link useful: www.ism.ku.dk (International Staff Mobility).
Your online application must be submitted in English by clicking ‘Apply now’ below. Furthermore, your application must include the following documents/attachments – all in PDF format:
- Motivated letter of application (max. one page).
- CV incl. education, work/research experience, language skills and other skills relevant for the position.
- A certified/signed copy of a) PhD certificate and b) Master of Science certificate. If the PhD is not completed, a written statement from the supervisor will do.
- List of publications.
Deadline for applications: 31 October 2023, 23.59pm CET
We reserve the right not to consider material received after the deadline, and not to consider applications that do not live up to the abovementioned requirements.
The further process
After the expiry of the deadline for applications, the authorized recruitment manager selects applicants for assessment on the advice of the hiring committee. All applicants are then immediately notified whether their application has been passed for assessment by an unbiased assessor. Once the assessment work has been completed each applicant has the opportunity to comment on the part of the assessment that relates to the applicant him/herself.
You can read about the recruitment process at https://employment.ku.dk/faculty/recruitment-process/
The applicant will be assessed according to the Ministerial Order no. 242 of 13 March 2012 on the Appointment of Academic Staff at Universities.
The University of Copenhagen wish to reflect the diversity of society and encourage all qualified candidates to apply regardless of personal background.
Part of the International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU), and among Europe’s top-ranking universities, the University of Copenhagen promotes research and teaching of the highest international standard. Rich in tradition and modern in outlook, the University gives students and staff the opportunity to cultivate their talent in an ambitious and informal environment. An effective organisation – with good working conditions and a collaborative work culture – creates the ideal framework for a successful academic career.