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Postdoctoral Researcher (Sperm RNA epitranscriptomics and inheritance – wet & dry lab)

Postdoctoral Researcher (Sperm RNA epitranscriptomics and inheritance – wet & dry lab)

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).

Please, check out our Recruitment Policy

The role

We are seeking an highly motivated Postdoctoral Researcher, ideally with mixed/hybrid background in Molecular Biology (wet lab) & Bioinformatics (dry lab), to join the Epitranscriptomics and RNA Dynamics group (PI: Eva Novoa), to the study of the role of RNA modifications (the “epitranscriptome”) in sperm RNAs using nanopore sequencing technologies.

Your work would be part of the project “Dissecting the role of sperm transcriptome dynamics in intergenerational inheritance through native RNA nanopore sequencing”, which has been funded by the European Research Council (ERC), in which we aim to study how different dietary intakes (e.g. high fat diet) affect the sperm RNA populations and their RNA modifications, and how these changes in sperm RNA can lead to altered metabolic profiles in the next generations.

Our laboratory has been pioneer in the use of native RNA nanopore sequencing to study RNA modifications, including the development of novel algorithms to map and quantify RNA modifications using nanopore sequencing (Liu et al, Nature Comm 2019; Begik et al, Nature Biotech 2021) as well as novel protocols to improve the applicability of nanopore technologies towards low-input patient-derived samples (Smith et al, Genome Res 2020; Begik et al, bioRxiv 2021). Our lab is currently applying these novel methods to decipher the biological functions of the ‘uncharted epitranscriptome’ (Novoa et al, Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol 2017) and to understand why and how the dysregulation of RNA modifications contributes to diverse human diseases (Begik et al., Genome Biol 2020; Jonkhout et al., RNA Biol 2021), such as cancer, intellectual disabilities and diet-induced  metabolic disorders that are passed via epigenetic intergenerational inheritance mechanisms.

The candidate will be responsible for leading the molecular biology work related to the project as well as will perform basic-to-intermediate bioinformatics data analysis of the data that has been sequenced. The balance of wet & dry work will be balanced depending on the specific skillset of the candidate. The biological techniques to use will include extraction sperm cells from epididymis (swim-up techniques) and testis (FACS), extraction of sperm RNA, analysis of the RNA samples using next- and third-generation sequencing technologies (Oxford Nanopore sequencing, Illumina small RNA sequencing) and  molecular biology techniques (western blot, qPCR, mass spectrometry) for orthogonal validation of results. In addition, dysregulated RNA candidates will be microinjected to zygotes, in collaboration with the Tissue Engineering Facility at CRG.

About the lab

Our lab is focused on deciphering the role that RNA modifications play in a large variety of cellular contexts, including the development of novel technologies to map RNA modifications. In our lab, we are employing a combination of experimental (RNASeq, RIP-Seq polysome profiling, mouse/cell knockouts, Oxford Nanopore direct RNA sequencing) and computational techniques (NGS data analysis, algorithm development, machine learning), to unveil the secrets of three post-transcriptional regulatory layers: the epitranscriptome, RNA structure and ribosome specialization.

Whom would we like to hire?

Professional experience

To be successful in this application, you will be an analytical thinker with a strong background Molecular Biology (ideally related to RNA biology) and a minimum of basic-intermediate skills in Bioinformatics to perform basic data analyses.

You will also possess the following key skills and attributes:

Must Have

• You have a background in RNA biology
• You have basic programming/data analysis skills, preferably in Python or R
• You have published at least one primary research paper during your PhD

Desirable but not required/ Nice to have

Wet lab:
• You have experience in sperm RNA extraction techniques and/or sperm manipulation
• You have experience with Oxford Nanopore sequencing library preparation
• You have experience with microinjections in zygotes
• You have experience with rodents
• You have experience experience with Glucose Tolerance Tests (GTT) and/or Insulin Tolerance Tests (ITT) in mice
• You have an Animal Experimentation title that is recognized by the Catalan Government

Dry lab:
• You have the ability to code in R and/or Python
• You have the ability to use HPC clústers to submit jobs
• You have experience in the analysis of nanopore sequencing data
• You have experience in the analysis of illumina sequencing data

Education and training

• You hold a PhD degree in Molecular Biology, Biology, Biochemistry or similar field.


• You must be fluent in oral and written English


• You have excellent analytical and problem-solving skills
• You have the capacity for carrying out duties under minimal supervision
• You have the drive and commitment to produce high quality experimental outcomes
• You have highly developed organization skills
• You have the ability to work as part of a team
• You have good academic writing skills

The Offer – Working Conditions

• Contract duration: 2 years (renewable up to 5 years).
• Estimated annual gross salary: Salary is commensurate with qualifications and consistent with our pay scales.
• Target start date: As soon as possible 

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 welcomes 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. Eva Maria Novoa.
2. A complete CV including contact details.
3. Contact details of two referees.

All applications must be addressed to Dr. Eva Maria Novoa and be submitted online on 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 the PI (Eva Maria Novoa) of the position and a selection panel if required.

₋ 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 June 1st, 2022.

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.

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