Postdoctoral/research fellow within multi-omics analysis of animals and their microbial communities

The Microbial Ecology and Meta-Omics (MEMO) group will hire a 2-year postdoc/researcher to work on “SuPA[cow]: Sustainable production of animals by optimizing the feed-microbiome-host axis. SuPAcow will examine the interplay between the environment, microbiome function and host phenotype (such as methane emissions). More info here: 

Human population growth is driving a rise in cattle production for food, which necessitates more efficient and sustainable practices. One promising route to achieve this, is to unravel the connection between the feed cows eat, their bodily function and the microbes in their gut, not only to optimize nutrition but also to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases (methane). Our new strategy to collectively study the animal, its diet and all its microbes as one unit (the holobiont), is known as holo-omics. This strategy, enabled by recent biotechnological developments, can improve our understanding of how animals digest their feed and sustain their growth. This project combines novel methane-inhibiting feed ingredients, animal experiments and holo-omics to jointly analyze cows, their feed and their microbes. The outcome will be optimization of feeding strategies tailored to specific types of cows, to ultimately improve their growth and production whilst reducing their carbon footprint.

SuPAcow will integrate host metadata, Oxford nanopore metagenomics, metatranscriptomics and metaproteomics layers (multi-omics) in one collective analytical effort and will additionally endeavor to include all keystone microbial genomes from bacterial, archaeal, viral and eukaryotic (fungi and protozoa) origins. Joint network analysis and constraint-based modelling of data from both active gut microbiota and host tissue will attempt to identify key correlations between particular microbial populations and host metabolism, in particular for animals that exhibit varying performance metrics and/or methane levels. Taken together, it aims to describe the interplay between feed, host animal and its associated microbiota.

Major tasks include:

  • Analysis and curation of metagenomics datasets (already generated) and population genomes that are representative of host-associated microbiomes.
  • Functional meta-omics characterization of microbiota using metabolic reconstruction and quantitative metatranscriptomics / metaproteomics (data already generated). 
  • Identification of key metabolic pathways using regulatory network analysis of meta-omics data generated from microbiome(s) as well as host tissues and/or metadata.
  • Generation of a framework for tractable assembly of curated draft biochemical reaction networks that connect microbial functions to specific host phenotypes

More info here: 

Application deadline:
Start date: Flexible
Location: Norwegian University of Life Sciences