Postdoctoral Researcher in Plankton Genomics (Luscombe Unit)

The Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST; see is a dynamic new graduate university of science and technology in Okinawa Prefecture, Japan. The university is located on 85 hectares of protected forestland overlooking beautiful shoreline and coral reefs. The campus is striking architecturally, and the facilities are outstanding (OIST campus video tour). There are no academic departments, which facilitates multidisciplinary research. Outstanding resources and equipment are provided and managed to encourage easy access and collaboration. English is the official language of the University, and the university research community is fully international, with more than 50 countries represented. OIST is rapidly gaining recognition in the worldwide academic community as a model for excellence in education and research. In 2019, OIST was ranked 1st in Japan and 9th in the world in the Nature Index for the proportion of research published in high-quality science journals.

Come and join us as a Postdoc in Plankton Genomics!

Are you a talented and motivated recent Ph.D. graduate? We want you to join our lab as a computational biology postdoc to help us analyse the genome sequences of marine zooplankton ( You will develop and deploy state-of-the-art computational biology and bioinformatics software to study the populations and evolutionary adaptation of zooplanktons sampled from local and global waters (video). Specifically, we want you to investigate organisms’ tolerance to marine conditions including temperature, salinity, and acidity.

We are a happy, international, and interactive lab: we come together from different countries and diverse academic backgrounds. The lab head, Nick Luscombe, recently joined OIST as a full-time professor. You will be part of an exciting new phase of the lab’s life cycle. Postdocs from our lab have an excellent track record of moving onto PI positions.

What do we study?

Marine zooplankton are a diverse group of animals that vary in shape, size, and lifestyle. They are found in all the world’s oceans: their tremendous abundance contributes a significant portion of global biomass and acts as an important carbon sink. However, relatively little is known about their genetic diversity and population structures. Larvaceans are particularly interesting zooplanktons. Their bodies consist of a trunk and a tail - commonly less than a centimeter in size - and they live within a complex cellulose house that filter food particles from seawater. Despite their appearance, larvaceans are among the closest living relatives of vertebrates. At OIST, we have adapted specialized methods for sampling and cultivating larvaceans in the lab. By combining genomic and computational biology techniques, we are working to answer the following questions about larvaceans in Okinawa as well as globally: how many kinds of larvaceans are there, and how genetically diverse are their populations? And how do larvacean genetics relate to their roles in the marine ecosystem? Answers to these questions will lead to key insights about marine ecosystems.


1919‐1 Tancha, Onna‐son, Okinawa, Japan 904-0495


Responsibilities of the position:

As a Postdoc, you will:

1. plan and complete independent projects in line with the lab’s research interests;
2. create and apply state-of-the-art computational tools for analysing genomic and molecular data related to zooplankton genomics;
3. design experiments in consultation with technical staff members to produce bespoke datasets;
4. analyse and interpret genomic and functional genomic experiments; (example analyses include genome assembly and annotation, comparative and population genomic analysis between zooplanktonic species, identification and characterization of genetic regulatory regions, and integration of marine environmental data);
5. write up and present findings via publications and scientific meetings;
6. maintain a permanent record of methods so that results can be reproduced by others;
7. apply for external fellowships and grants;
8. keep up with developments in the field and incorporate this knowledge to advance your work;
9. supervise the day-to-day work of junior staff, students and interns in consultation with the lab head;
10. carry out routine administrative tasks associated with your work, to ensure it is completed on time and within budget;
11. plan your own day-to-day activity within the framework of the agreed programme of work, to allow timely completion; and
12. be an effective collaborator and team member.


To apply to this position, it is essential that you:

1. have a PhD that is relevant for the position (for example, computational biology, biostatistics, biology);
2. have a strong publication record including papers as lead-author;
3. demonstrate strong computing experience, with fluency in:

   a. Linux/Unix command-line and Bash scripting;
   b. at least one programming language (Python, R, C/C++ etc);
   c. using a wide range of software and online resources for genomic analysis;

4. show excellent knowledge of biology, especially molecular biology, molecular evolution and population genomics including relevant research techniques and methodologies;
5. are experienced in handling genomics data (analysis of genome sequence and high-throughput sequencing data);
6. have strong skills and ability in computational biology including comparative genomic analysis, identification and characterization of genetic regulatory regions, analysis of high-throughput sequencing data.
7. have a proven ability to work with integrity and accountability so that scientific results are easily tracked and reproduced by others;
8. show creativity and resourcefulness in solving technical and scientific problems;
9. show the ability to work in a team with diverse technical expertise towards a common goal;
10. be committed to equal opportunity and working harmoniously with colleagues of all cultures and backgrounds;
11. have excellent communication skills;
12. be fluent in English.

Report to 

Nicholas Luscombe, Professor, Genomics and Regulatory Systems Unit

Starting Date 

1 October 2021 onwards

Term & Working Hours 

Term: Full-time, fixed term appointment for 2 years. Contract initially with 3-month probationary period (inclusive). This contract may be renewed up to total of three years. 

Working hours: 9:00-17:30, 5 days/week


Compensation & Benefits 

You will receive salary set in accordance with the OIST Employee Compensation Regulations.

You will receive the following benefits:
- Relocation, housing and commuting allowances
- Annual paid leave and summer holidays
- Health insurance (Private School Mutual Aid )
- Welfare pension insurance (kousei-nenkin)
- Worker's accident compensation insurance (roudousha-saigai-hoshou-hoken)

How To Apply 

How to Apply:

Apply by emailing your Submission Documents to:

nicholas.luscombe[at] and charles.plessy[at]

(Please replace [at] with @ before using this email address)


Submission Documents 

To apply

Send your application to and

(Please replace [at] with @ before using this email address)

1. Cover letter in English
2. Curriculum vitae including full publication list in English
3. Names and contact information of 3 referees

* Please be sure to indicate where you first saw the job advertisement.

* Prior to the start of employment all new hires are required to successfully complete a background check. Personal information including employment history and academic background should be submitted to third-party administrators after a conditional offer of employment.

Application Due Date 

15 June 2021 (Applications will be screened upon arrival) Online interviews are planned in late June and early July 2021. The process will include a coding test, research presentation, a panel interview and one-to-one meetings with lab members.


  • OIST Graduate University is an equal opportunity, affirmative action educator and employer and is committed to increasing the diversity of its faculty, students and staff. The University strongly encourages applications from underrepresented groups.
  • Information provided by applicants or references will be kept confidential, documents will not be returned. All applicants will be notified regarding the status of their applications.
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  • Further details about the University can be viewed on the OIST website