Postdoctoral Positions in Comparative or Statistical Genomics

We are hiring two postdoctoral fellows to work on an NIH-funded project focused on the comparative and population genomics of conserved non-coding elements in birds, building on our published work on PhyloAcc, a program to infer evolutionary forces acting on non-coding sequences in a phylogenetic context.

There are two positions. The first position will be ideal for a candidate with a background in Bayesian statistics, and will focus on developing new comparative genomic models and methods to detect genome-wide signatures of adaptive evolution on phylogenies and link genomic and phenotypic variation on trees. The second position will be ideal for a candidate with a background in population genetics or comparative genomics, and will focus on the within-species population genetics of conserved non-coding elements, including linking sequence variation to function in collaboration with colleagues with expertise in developmental biology. Both positions will be based at Harvard University in the groups of Scott Edwards (Organismic and Evolutionary Biology), Jun Liu (Statistics), and Tim Sackton (Bioinformatics).

Funding is available for multiple (up to 3) years; continuation and extension will be based on ongoing successful performance. We expect the successful candidates to be on site so as to maximize interaction with PIs and others working on the project.


The preferred candidates will have broad expertise in statistics, computational biology, population genetics, phylogenetics, computer science, or related fields, and a demonstrated record of research achievement (via publications or preprints). Candidates for the first position will benefit from expertise in developing new phylogenetic statistical models and comparative methods, whereas candidates for the second position will benefit from expertise in evolutionary biology, population genetics, or comparative genomics. Experience with bioinformatics, working with large-scale data, and computational method development (using Python, C, C++, or a related language) will benefit any candidate.

However, enthusiasm for the research questions, a track record of accomplishment, and a desire to learn are more important than any specific skills.

Working Environment

The successful candidates will be based in one or more of the PI labs (Jun Liu, Scott Edwards, Tim Sackton). The exact logistics are flexible and will depend on the candidate’s interests and experience, and the postdoctoral associates will have an opportunity to gain experience and training in bioinformatics, statistics, population genetics, comparative genomics, developmental genetics,and ornithology as necessary. The successful candidates will also have the opportunity to interact with collaborators Emma Farley (UCSD) and Cliff Tabin (Harvard Medical School). The combined experience of our groups spans a wide range of topics and provides an outstanding opportunity for training, collaboration, and scientific growth. The larger scientific environment in Boston is unparalleled and provides numerous opportunities for engagement, including the Boston Area Evolutionary Supergroup and numerous seminar series and journal clubs.


Preferred start date would be fall of 2021, but there is flexibility around this. To apply, please send a CV and cover letter describing interest and previous experience to Tim Sackton (tsackton at, Scott Edwards (sedwards at, or Jun Liu (jliu at cc-ing all three. Informal inquiries welcome. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis until the position is filled.

We are committed to diversity and especially encourage members of underrepresented communities to apply.