Junior research scientist in epigenetics of adaptation in ruminants


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INRAE presentation

The French National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food, and the Environment (INRAE) is a public research establishment under the dual authority of the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Research.

INRAE is recruiting researchers by open competition and offering permanent position.

It is a major player in research and innovation created on 1st of January 2020. INRAE is a research institute resulting from the merger of INRA and IRSTEA. It is a community of 12,000 people with more than 200 research units and 42 experimental units located throughout France.

The institute is among the world leaders in agricultural and food sciences, in plant and animal sciences, and is 11th in the world in ecology and environment. INRAE’s main goal is to be a key player in the transitions necessary to address major global challenges. In the face of the increase in population, climate change, scarcity of resources and decline in biodiversity, the institute develops solutions for multiperformance agriculture, high quality food and sustainable management of resources and ecosystems.

Work environment, missions and activities

The Joint Research Unit “Biology of Reproduction, Epigenetics, Environment and Development” (BREED), located on the Jouy-en-Josas site, conducts research on the functioning of the genome during embryonic and fetal development and its adaptation to environmental modifications with short and long term effects in mammals, in order to understand and control the mechanisms leading to the birth of a healthy, fertile and robust individual. Within this unit, you will join the MECP2 team (Epigenetic Mechanisms of Phenotype Construction and Prediction) composed of ten permanent staff including 6 researchers, which studies epigenetic mechanisms as the molecular basis for the development of phenotypes in animals.
The objective of your research project will be to (i) identify epigenetic modifications reflecting the ante- or peri-natal programming of phenotypes in ruminants, (ii) analyse their persistence throughout life as well as their functional roles at the genome level in order to understand how these modifications intervene in the programming of phenotypes and (iii) explore their potential as predictive or diagnostic biomarkers of phenotypes in adults. The challenge is to have epigenetic biomarkers available to test early levers for phenotype orientation.
Firstly, you will study the dynamics of epigenetic modifications, in particular DNA methylation, in blood cells, in response to environmental variations occurring during life in utero and/or the perinatal period in young ruminants. In order to analyse the functional role of the identified biomarkers, you will rely on primary cultures of immune cells, on the use of epigenome editing, chromatin state exploration (ATAQseq) and transcriptomics tools in order to highlight the causal relationship between epigenetic modifications, adaptive response of the genome and phenotype programming. In the longer term, your work will enable the development of an epigenotyping chip, a new phenotyping tool that you will be able to use on large cohorts of individuals in order to establish the characteristics of adaptation to diversified breeding conditions and the effects of climate change.

Training and skills

PhD or equivalent

Candidates must have a PhD or equivalent.
Skills in animal physiology, genomics and epigenetics are required, as well as skills in bioinformatics/biostatistics. Knowledge in immunology will be appreciated.
Fluency in English is highly desirable as well as long-term international experience: laureates who have not yet had such experience will be required to undertake a stay abroad at the end of the internship year.

INRAE's life quality

By joining our teams, you benefit from:

- 30 days of annual leave + 15 days "Reduction of Working Time" (for a full time);
- parenting support: CESU childcare, leisure services;
- skills development systems: training, career advise;
- social support: advice and listening, social assistance and loans;
- holiday and leisure services: holiday vouchers, accommodation at preferential rates;
sports and cultural activities;
- collective catering.

For international scientists: please visit your guide to facilitate your arrival and stay at INRAE

Offer reference

  • Profile number: CR-2023-PHASE-5
  • Corps: CRCN
  • Category: A
  • Open competition number: 11
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