Senior Scientist (for 2 years, renewal for additional 2 years)

Prof. Mike Shanahan at the University of Zürich invites applications for a Senior Scientist Position with strong interest in applied statistics, programming, and the intersection of gene expression and the social/behavioral sciences.

The position is part of the research project "Socioeconomic status and the regulation of the genome" funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation. The main goal of this project is to use data from the US, the Netherlands, and Switzerland to examine how education, income, and occupation are correlated with gene expression patterns (mRNA abundance levels), as well as the mechanisms that might explain these correlations.

This position will work closely with Professor Shanahan and other team members to design analytic strategies that are well-suited to research questions, oversee the programming environment, and solve statistical issues as they arise. The successful applicant will be a bridge and scientific interface between the director and more junior academic and technical staff. The Senior Scientist position is also encouraged to pursue individual research interests within the framework of the project. The team is based on excellent communication and a collaborative spirit.


Required: PhD (discipline is open) with strong quantitative training and strong background with R. Strong collaboration and communication skills to solve tricky interdisciplinary statistical issues (e.g., concerning causality) and to explain analyses orally and in writing. Desired: 1st author publications; expertise in causal analysis in tradition of Rubin/Pearl; biostatistician; solid biological and statistical understanding of genomic data.

The successful candidate should have excellent teamwork skills and be interested in going beyond disciplinary boundaries. Energy, focus, and critical thinking are assets.

Research environment:

We offer work in an interdisciplinary, international, and collegial environment located at Jacobs Center for Productive Youth Development, the University of Zürich. The 100% position comes with competitive salary and depends on experience. In addition, some travel funds are available each year to visit national and international conferences or attend workshops.


The review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled.

Applications should include:

(i)    a cover letter that relates the applicants’ experience and interests to the project

(ii)   a comprehensive CV

(iii)   a copy of the PhD dissertation

(iv)   the names and contact information of at least two references

(v)   Candidates for the position are additionally required to submit an R code sample (URL or attachment)

Please send the documents in one PDF file to Prof. Mike Shanahan (

Job Description (PDF, 135 KB)