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PhD position – The effects of context in gene regulation

PhD position – The effects of context in gene regulation

The Institute

The Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG) is an international biomedical research institute of excellence, based in Barcelona, Spain, with more than 400 scientists from 44 countries. The CRG is composed by an interdisciplinary, motivated and creative scientific team which is supported both by a flexible and efficient administration and by high-end and innovative technologies. 

In April 2021, the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG) received the renewal of the 'HR Excellence in Research' Award from the European Commission. This is a recognition of the Institute's commitment to developing an HR Strategy for Researchers, designed to bring the practices and procedures in line with the principles of the European Charter for Researchers and the Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers (Charter and Code). 

The role  

A PhD position is offered to work on the problem of context-dependency in gene regulation. This study will aim to deepen and clarify our understanding of how transcription factors read the genome, which is needed in both basic and applied biological settings. The work will be at the interface between biology, mathematics and physics, and will combine biophysical modelling, machine learning and data analysis to ground modern experimental data in mechanism.  

About the lab  

A long-sought goal of modern biology and related areas is to accurately and quantitatively predict the behavior of cells, tissues and organisms under perturbations like mutations or drugs. This is needed in medicine to accurately diagnose and treat diseases, as well as for bioengineering applications in a range of fields. To this end, quantitative mathematical models are key to reveal how a given behavior emerges from the dynamical interactions among a system of components deemed key to it, and how perturbations will affect it. The problem is that there are always elements in the “context” that cannot be accounted for in detail, but which also modulate the behavior of the system. Our lab aims to reveal fundamental insight about the effects of context on cellular regulatory processes. For this, we combine theoretical approaches based on dynamical systems models, biophysical models, machine learning and quantitative data analysis. At the moment, we are particularly interested in gene regulation. We aim to go beyond the well-established recruitment view of transcriptional control and clarify how the dynamics of the interactions between the various gene regulatory molecules dictates their emergent behavior, with a particular emphasis on chromatin-related regulatory effects.  

Our lab is part of the Barcelona Collaboratorium for Modelling and Predictive Biology, a newly created center focused on theoretical and predictive biology. 

Whom would we like to hire?  

Professional experience  

Must Have

  • Research experience in mechanistic dynamical modelling of cellular regulatory processes 

  • Good working level of Python

  • Experience running simulations in computing clusters 

Desirable but not required/ Nice to have 

  • Research experience in the field of mathematical modelling of gene regulation 

  • Research experience using graphs/networks 

  • Research experience using machine learning and deep learning methods 

  • Experience programming in C++ 

  • Experience using container software (docker, singularity)

Education and training

  • You hold a Bachelor’s degree in biology, physics, mathematics or related areas 
  • You have basic knowledge of biology, mathematics and physics 

  • You have a Master (minimum 350 ECTS)


  • You have a good working level of English 


  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills in order to effectively communicate with researchers from different scientific backgrounds 

  • Ability to work independently and lead projects 

  • Ability to work as part of a team 

  • Critical thinking

The Offer – Working Conditions 

  • Contract duration: 4 years  

  • Estimated annual gross salary: Salary is commensurate with qualifications and consistent with our pay scales 

  • Target start date: September 2023

We provide a highly stimulating environment with state-of-the-art infrastructures, and unique professional career development opportunities. To check out our training and development portfolio, please visit our website in the training section.

We offer and promote a diverse and inclusive environment and welcome applicants regardless of age, disability, gender, nationality, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity.

The CRG is committed to reconcile a work and family life of its employees and are offering extended vacation period and the possibility to benefit from flexible working hours.

Application Procedure

All applications must include:

  1. A motivation letter addressed to Dr Rosa Martinez-Corral. 

  1. A complete CV including contact details. 

  1. Contact details of two referees.

All applications must be addressed to Dr. Rosa Martinez-Corral and be submitted online through the "Apply button" below

Selection Process  

  • Pre-selection: The pre-selection process will be based on qualifications and expertise reflected on the candidates CVS. It will be merit-based. 

  • Interview: Preselected candidates will be interviewed by a Committee Selection panel. 

  • Offer Letter: Once the successful candidate is identified the Human Resources department will send a Job Offer, specifying the start day, salary, working conditions, among other important details.  

Deadline: Please submit your application by March 30, 2023.

Suggestions: The CRG believes in ongoing improvement and promotes a culture of feedback. This is one of the reasons we have in place, at your disposal as a candidate, a mechanism to gather your suggestions/complaints concerning your candidate experience in our recruitment processes. Your feedback really matters to us in our aim at creating a positive candidate journey. You can make a difference and help us improve by letting us know your suggestions through the following form. https://recruitment.crg.eu/webforms/recruitment-contact-form-suggestionscomplaints

FPI- SO/ RYC 9152 / AEI PE 2021-2023_PRTR_NextGen