Open PhD position in the Human Genome Diversity Group

Research project
Genome wide approach to demography and adaptation in human populations

Research project summary
Despite the pivotal effect of genetic adaptation, the distribution of the human genomic variation is highly influenced by the demographic history, especially regarding low-frequency coding variants. The analysis of human groups that have experienced special demographic events characterized by founder effects and extensive genetic drift after bottlenecks during their population history (also known as population isolates), has allowed the discovery of genetic variants associated to Mendelian disorders and even complex traits. Human populations that have undergone episodes of population bottlenecks and isolation, normally linked with consanguinity practices, typically show elevated levels of background parental relatedness and of autozygosity, which increases risk of Mendelian disorders and complex diseases, where many recessive variants with moderate effects genome-wide are causative of this increased risk. On the contrary, migration events might have diluted the effects of isolation, although genome traces of past population history are easy to detect in the genomes of present day populations.
The present project aims to determine the effects of past history (demography and adaptation) in present day populations by a genome wide approach (using a compendium of complete sequences, exomes, and genome wide markers), and its effects in health and disease.

Preferred background of candidates
We are seeking for an open-minded highly motivated candidate with a background in Evolutionary Genetics, Computation Genomics, Molecular Anthropology, Population Genomics. Good skills in English spoken and written, and IT knowledge are required.

Selected references

  • Biagini SA, SolĂ©-Morata N, Matisoo-Smith L, Zalloua P, Comas D, Calafell F (2019) People from Ibiza: an unexpected isolate in the Western Mediterranean. European Journal of Human Genetics 27:941-951
  • Lorente-Galdos B, Lao O, Serra-Vidal G, Santpere G, Kuderna LFK, Arauna LR, Fadhlaoui-Zid K, Pimenoff VN, Soodyall H, Zalloua P, Marques-Bonet T, Comas D (2019) Whole-genome sequence analysis of a Pan African set of samples reveals archaic gene flow from an extinct basal population of modern humans into sub-Saharan populations. Genome Biology 20:77
  • Font-Porterias, Arauna LR, Poveda A, Bianco E, Rebato E, Prata MJ, Calafell F, Comas D (2019) European Roma groups show complex West Eurasian admixture footprints and a common South Asian genetic origin. PLoS Genetics 15(9): e1008417
  • Serra-Vidal G, Lucas-Sanchez M, Fadhlaoui-Zid K, Bekada A, Zalloua P, Comas D (2019) Heterogeneity in Palaeolithic population continuity and Neolithic expansion in North Africa. Current Biology 29:3953-3959

More details on the PhD Call and procedure to apply here