ERC funded positions (Postdoc, PhD Student and Bioinformatician) to work on our BatProtect project

BATPROTECT is a 6-year funded ERC synergy grant project that will use bats as natural models of healthy aging and disease tolerance to elucidate the molecular mechanisms behind bats’ exceptional longevity and resistance to viral and age-related diseases. BATPROTECT brings together a team of global leaders in bat biology and ageing (Emma Teeling, Dublin), bat immunology and virology (Linfa Wang, Singapore), evolution and genomics (Michael Hiller, Frankfurt), and ageing model organisms (Bjoern Schumacher, Cologne) that will jointly investigate aging and immune responses in bats from the wild and captive colonies, discover genes with evolutionary importance for longevity and disease resistance, and functionally validate longevity and immune regulators in stem and differentiated cells of bats and model organisms, with the ultimate goal to uncover new directions to improve human healthspan and disease outcome. 

The Project 
The overall goal is to uncover the genomic basis of exceptional healthspans and disease tolerance in bats, understand the evolution of these traits, and identify key molecular targets for functional validation. To this end, we will assemble ~150 new reference-quality bat genomes using HiFi and HiC sequencing to better cover the diversity of bats, generate comparative transcriptomic datasets, and analyze these data using our established methods repertoire (TOGA and others). Work includes phylogenomics, performing comparative screens to identify key adaptations in coding and non-coding (miRNA) genes as well as differences in gene expression patterns across the bat phylogeny, associating genomic changes with longevity and viral reservoir status traits, identifying novel bat genes, and investigating endogenized viral elements. The exact project will be defined based on the interests of the applicants.  

We are looking for a PhD Student and a Postdoc  to work on the BATPROTECT project to investigate the genomic basis of long healthspans, disease resistance and viral tolerance in bats.
The PhD student and postdoc will work closely with other members of the BATPROTECT team, the Hiller lab, and other Bat1K collaborators. We also offer exchanges with the other BATPROTECT labs as well as yearly retreats with all project members.

Vacancy Ref. #12-24005-1
Application Deadline: 31. August 2024


We are also looking for a Bioinformatician to work on the BATPROTECT project.
The Bioinformatician will be responsible for the assembly of reference-quality genomes of more than one hundred bat species, for which we are generating PacBio HiFi and HiC data. For a few focal species, we also aim at generating a T2T assembly. The Bioinformatician will also work on analyzing transcriptomics data that we are sequencing in parallel for all target bat species, using this data and our homology-based methods (TOGA) to annotate the new genomes, generating whole genome alignments of bats and other mammals, and supporting the BATPROTECT project with other data processing and analysis tasks.
The Bioinformatician will work closely with other Bioinformaticians at TBG, other members of the BATPROTECT team and the Hiller lab. We offer exchanges with the other BATPROTECT labs as well as yearly retreats with all project members.

Vacancy Ref. #12-24001
Position is still open and applications are welcome !!


We are looking for a Technician to work generate genome and transcriptome sequencing data for BATPROTECT.




We are offering Master or Bachelor projects related to the computational aspects of our genomics research to students having programming experience (e.g. perl or python) and proficiency in linux. Interested students are encouraged to email Michael.

PostDoc Position: Comparative Genomics in Fruit Bats

We are looking for a Postdoc to investigate the genomic underpinnings of convergent dietary adaptations in bats.

The Project 
While most bats feed on insects, several independent lineages adapted to fruit- or nectar-based diets that are rich in sugars. In contrast to humans, where a sugar rich diet is a major risk factor for metabolic diseases, these bats have metabolic and physiological adaptations to such highly-specialized diets. The postdoc will capitalize on more than 15 already-existing new bat genomes sequenced in the lab with HiFi and HiC, comprehensive comparative RNA-seq datasets and our powerful genomic methods repertoire (e.g. TOGA) to comprehensively discover the genomic basis of adaptations to sugar-rich diets in bats (see here for a similar example in hummingbirds).
The project aims at providing novel insights into fundamental questions concerning (i) the contribution of gene-sequence vs. gene-expression changes and (ii) the importance of convergent vs. lineage-specific molecular changes for phenotypic convergence.

Please apply !!

Vacancy Ref.  #12-23005
Application deadline: October 8th 2023
More details