Workplace: Centre of Plant Structural and Functional Genomics, Institute of Experimental Botany ASCR, Olomouc, Czech Republic
Thesis Topic: Foreign DNA in plant genomes
Supervisor: Assoc. Prof. David Kopecký, Ph.D.
Type of Cooperation: PhD fellowship (more information on PhD study programmes at the Faculty of Science here)
Expected Start Date: any time from May 1st to September 1st, 2022
Application Deadline: August 1st, 2022

About the Workplace

We are looking for highly motivated graduates to join the Wide Hybridization Group led by David Kopecky. Our group primarily focuses on the structure, evolution and function of plant genomes, with special attention to interspecific hybrids and species possessing foreign DNA. We collaborate with several foreign laboratories and publish in prestigious journals. We are fully equipped with next gen sequencers, super-resolution microscopes, flow sorters and many other facilities necessary for cutting-edge research on plant genomics and bioinformatics. Currently, we are supported by three research grants from Czech Science Foundation. For more information, please see our webpage https://olomouc.ueb.cas.cz/en/research-groups/kopecky-group.

PhD study will be realized in a program Genomics and Proteomics at Faculty of Science, Masaryk University.

Masaryk University is the second-largest university in the Czech Republic with ten faculties, more than 5000 staff, and more than 30 000 students.

Faculty of Science MU, a proud holder of the HR Excellence in Research Award by the European Commission, is a research-oriented faculty, offering university education (Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctoral degree programs) closely linked to both primary and applied research and high school teaching of the following sciences: Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, and Earth sciences. We are the most productive scientific unit of the Masaryk University generating around 40 % of MU research results.


The pangenome is a set of all genes present in a given taxon. Besides the core genes, a variable part may be acquired from other taxa via horizontal gene transfer (HGT), potentially providing the recipient with an evolutionary benefit. The extent of acquisitions of foreign DNA, their stability and transmission to future generations, and the evolutionary consequences of HGT are almost unknown in plants. Investigating these processes will be the main aim of the PhD study. A PhD student will use bioinformatic tools to reveal the extent and nature of foreign DNA derived from panicoid grasses in Hordeum sect. Stenostachys. The characterization of panicoid DNA in Hordeum will help to elucidate mechanisms of HGT, the evolution and dynamics of foreign DNA in host genomes, and the role of foreign protein-coding genes in the evolution of sect. Stenostachys. The work requires at least basic IT skills and an interest to learn new techniques and approaches. MSc. from Biological sciences or Informatics is required.

Offered Conditions
Selected candidates will receive a comprehensive training in bioinformatics including genome assembly and annotations.

In addition to the standard PhD scholarship at Masaryk University (CZK 12 000 per month), additional funds are provided through departmental resources (assignment in research projects, additional scholarships). An overall monthly income is typically around CZK 28 000. Additional support includes performance-based bonuses (scholarships for successfully published papers) as well as support for international mobility or attendance of conferences etc.

Required Skills and Qualifications

  • Master degree in Biological Sciences or Informatics (Bioinformatics preferred) required at the time of enrolment to the PhD study program
  • Basic IT skills
  • Prior training/experience in sequence data handling (positively evaluated during the interview and selection process)
  • An interest to learn new techniques and approaches
  • Good communication skills (oral and written) in English
  • High level of commitment to complete the PhD studies

How to Apply

Please send your curriculum vitae, cover letter with a concise summary of your previous research activities to: kopecky@ueb.cas.cz

Selection Process
Received applications will be continuously reviewed and carefully considered. Shortlisted applicants meeting the requirements will be invited to an interview.

Please note that your application does not substitute an official admission process to Ph.D. studies at SCI MUNI. Details including discussion about the research topic, required documentation or formalities will be a subject of the interview with successful candidates. Only upon the informal pre-agreement with potential future supervisor, a formal application for PhD studies at Faculty of Science, Masaryk University can be submitted.

We are looking forward to hearing from you!