Postdoc position on the ecology and evolution of giant viruses

We are seeking a bioinformatic postdoctoral researcher for the ERC funded project “CHIMERA”.

CHIMERA investigates the role of mobile genetic elements in the ecology and evolution of giant viruses. These viruses are abundant in soil and aquatic environments, infecting a wide range of protist hosts. Besides unusually large particle sizes, giant viruses possess complex “chimeric” genomes, including genes that were likely acquired from their hosts as well as bacteria that infect the same hosts. Unique is the presence of mobile genetic elements, that may play an important role in host-parasite co-evolution, whereby the same molecular systems are employed by hosts and parasites for defence and subsequent counter-defence. The holder of this position will support the project by studying the competition and interactions between viruses, bacteria and their hosts, from the micro (in a controlled laboratory environment) to the macro scale (in the wild). The research will be conducted as part of a Starting Grant from the European Research Council under the supervision of Anouk Willemsen.


Specific research tasks will be tailored to the candidate. These can include:

  • Field work to obtain samples.
  • Prepare samples for targeted metagenomics and single-cell sequencing.
  • Bioinformatic analyses on the sequence data.
  • Possibility to do laboratory work with the obtained samples (e.g. microscopy, flow cytometry).

General tasks include:

  • Active participation in research, publication, administration and communication activities.
  • Collaborate with members of the research team.
  • Present work output in group and departmental seminars.
  • Disseminate results at national and international conferences.
  • Supervision of trainees and students.

Profile of the Candidate:

  • PhD degree (or equivalent) in Biology/Microbiology/Virology/Molecular Biology/Systems Biology/Computational Biology or a related subject.
  • Expertise in bioinformatic analyses
  • High ability to express yourself both orally and in writing.
  • Very good organizational skills.
  • Ability and willingness to work independently as well as in a larger team.
  • Willingness to acquire new methodological skills required for the project.
  • Excellent command of English (written and spoken).

For further information, please contact: Ass.-Prof. Dr. Anouk Willemsen (

Application deadline: 30th November, 2023