Applications are invited for multiple Ph.D. and postdoc positions in an ERC-funded interdisciplinary research project on the Neolithic Transition in Southwest Asia.

We seek applicants with backgrounds in molecular biology and population genetics.

The work will be conducted at METU and Hacettepe University, in collaboration with major Neolithic excavations in the region, including Çayönü, Çatalhöyük and Aşıklıhöyük.


The successful applicants will join the “NEOGENE: Archaeogenomic analysis of genetic and cultural interactions in Neolithic Anatolian societies”, supported by a European Research Council Consolidator Grant running through 2018-2023.

Using state-of-the-art ancient genomics and modeling approaches, NEOGENE is studying the emergence of sedentism and farming 10,000 years ago in Anatolia. The project involves constructing genetic kinship networks in Neolithic villages, mapping inter-regional patterns of gene flow, describing the evolution and dispersal of domestic sheep, and joint modeling of material culture exchange and demic processes that drove the Neolithic Transition across West Eurasia.


The successful candidates will be working in one of the following fields:

  • Ancient DNA experimental research: Researchers with PhD or MSc degrees in biology or a related field, to conduct wet lab experiments, including experimental protocol development for DNA extraction, library preparation and capture.
  • Population and computational genomics: Researchers with PhD or MSc degrees in bioinformatics, population genetics, statistical genetics, or a related field, to work in genomic data analysis and population genetic modelling, including method development for demographic inference, kinship and selection estimation.


For postdocs, the positions are planned for 3 years.

For Ph.D. students, the positions will be supported until 2023 when the project ends, when they will have the possibility of an additional year of support from third projects. The students will complete the METU Biological Sciences or Hacettepe University Anthropology Graduate Programs. Note that METU programs are in English, while Hacettepe Graduate programs are in Turkish.

NEOGENE’s diverse and vibrant research environment is composed of the research groups jointly run by Mehmet Somel (evolutionary genetics at METU Biological Sciences: compevo), Füsun Özer (ancient DNA at Hacettepe Anthropology), Ezgi Altınışık (population genomics, at Hacettepe Anthropology), Yılmaz Selim Erdal (human bioarchaeology, at Hacettepe Anthropology), Çiğdem Atakuman (Neolithic archaeology and material culture studies at METU Settlement Archaeology), Elif Sürer (serious games, simulation and machine learning, at METU Graduate School of Informatics). We also closely collaborate with multiple archaeology teams working in the region.

The successful candidates will receive salary commensurate with experience. Postdocs will further have access to on-campus housing.


For further information on NEOGENE, please contact Mehmet Somel ([email protected]).

Postdoc and PhD candidates should send (1) a CV, (2) a statement of interest that mentions the part of the project the candidate plans to work in (max. 2 pages), (3) contact information for two referees, (4) an academic transcript (for PhD student applications only), via email to [email protected]

PhD candidates should make sure they are currently eligible to apply to either METU or Hacettepe Graduate Programs (Spring/Summer 2020), before they send in their applications to NEOGENE.

The emails should be titled according to the type of application and your area of interest (e.g. “PhD application, population genomics”, or “Postdoc application, ancient DNA”).

Applications will remain open until all positions are filled. We expect the chosen candidates to start by Fall 2020.