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Postdoc: How intra-genomic conflicts in spermatogenesis shape the genetic basis of autism

If you would like to investigate how and why the X chromosome contributes to autism and its sex-differences, then we invite you to make this project yours. Despite recent reports suggesting an outsize influence of the X chromosome on autism and its sex differences, we still know very little about its genetic basis. Recent research from our group has revealed uniquely strong natural selection on the human X chromosome, best explained by selfish X-genes promoting their natural selection in spermatogenesis by killing sperm cells that carry the Y chromosome. Such selfish advantage in spermatogenesis easily trumps modest deleterious effects such gene variants may have on brain development. A pilot study of the X chromosome reveals that neuron genes also expressed in spermatogenesis indeed are enriched for association with autism and that gene classes with sex-specific brain expression associate with autism sex bias. We invite applicants to shape and carry out this postdoc project.

This is a two-year postdoc position beginning July 1, 2024, or as soon as possible. The project includes a GWAS on the X chromosome based on the iPSYCH autism cohorts and analyses partitioning heritability by sex and candidate gene classes but will otherwise be led and shaped by the successful applicant. We are looking for an open-minded researcher with a collaborative spirit. The applicant should hold a Ph.D. in bioinformatics, computational biology, population genetics, or similar. Any experience with GWAS, heritability analysis, polygenic risk scores, statistics, or population genetic modelling is highly relevant.

In Aarhus you have easy access to beautiful nature, an exciting culture and city life as well as a safe environment for children - a great place for the whole family. The city of Aarhus has everything you need within a surprisingly small area: exciting national and international jobs, delightful residential areas, a rich cultural life, and beautiful surrounding landscape of woods and coastline that make Aarhus a wonderful place to live and work. See life in Denmark and Aarhus and surroundings for further details on the city and the university.

Postdoc collaborations

The Danish and European funding systems provide postdoc funding for foreign early career researchers. If you share our research interests, I am always happy to help develop a postdoc application to join the group. Fell free to send me an email.

The Bioinformatics Research Centre (BiRC)

BiRC provides an interdisciplinary research environment with a strong emphasis on molecular evolution, molecular population genetics, and statistical and algorithmic approaches to bioinformatics Research topics span theoretical questions, program development, and data analysis. BiRC is currently home to 25 researchers (professors, postdocs, and Ph.D. students). Read more about BiRC on the BiRC homepage.