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    Opportunity: Aboriginal Heritage Project -- winner of the prestigious 2017 Australian Eureka Prize for Interdisciplinary Research @ University of Adelaide -- Adelaide, SA, Australia
    Submitted by Ray Tobler; posted on Sunday, December 31, 2017


    Several PhD project opportunities starting immediately in bioinformatics, genomics, and statistical genetics.

    We are seeking highly motivated students to fill three (3) PhD positions and join the landmark Aboriginal Heritage Project (, which is reconstructing Indigenous Australian history from a remarkable collection of hair samples and ethnographic data. The project cuts across traditional research boundaries, incorporating cutting-edge statistical and population genetic analyses with anthropological, archaeological and archival research, whilst maintaining long-term engagement with Indigenous communities throughout Australia. The first results from the project revealed a remarkably deep and abiding population structure across Australia tracing back to the peopling of the continent 50kya (Tobler et al. Nature 2017;544:180--184).


    The candidates must have, as a minimum, an excellent undergraduate academic record and meet the English Language Proficiency (ELP) requirement. The call is open to international and domestic students with backgrounds in bioinformatics, mathematics, statistics, computer science, population/quantitative genetics, or a related field. While a background in biology is desirable, it is not a prerequisite for success, as training opportunities in genetics, human evolution, molecular biology, or other related areas can be provided during the PhD. Successful candidates will be involved in the analysing genomic datasets from Indigenous populations across Australia, New Guinea and Indonesia, with special emphasis on adoption and expansion of statistical tools to reconstruct the genetic history of the original human migrants into Australia.


    • Good computational and analytical skills are of high importance and a successful candidate would be competent in one or more of the following:
    • Statistical analysis of large datasets and/or mathematical modelling
    • Fluency in using Linux systems, with a prior hands-on experience with Bash scripting
    • Programming in a scripting language such as Python and/or R


    The PhD will be situated in the Australian Centre for Ancient DNA (ACAD;, a highly dynamic group based at the University of Adelaide, with world leading researchers in ancient DNA, human evolution, epigenetics, microbiomics, and megafaunal extinction.


    Interested applicants are encouraged to send a CV (including names and contact details of three references) and a cover letter to Dr Ray Tobler (raymond.tobler[at] or Dr Yassine Souilmi (yassine.souilmi[at]

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