POST-DOC/PhD students

We are looking for a motivated Ph.D. student in bioinformatics.

As PhD student you will be involved in a unique research program investigating how progenitor cell differentiate during testis and ovarian development and characterizing the genetic and epigenetic programs at play in these cells. Your specific role will be to analyse single cell RNAseq and ATACseq data to reconstruct the genetic program behind lineage specification and sex specific differentiation.

Qualified candidates should be self-driven, independent and highly motivated individuals. This position will require:

•     Strong knowledge in omic’s and NGS data analysis

•     Confirmed skills in UNIX environment, programming (R, Python) and statistical analysis.

•     An excellent written and oral communication level in English.

Knowledge in developmental biology and taste for experimental biology would be a plus and a previous experience in NGS data analysis would also be highly appreciated.


Employment conditions

The position is fixed-term for a minimum of 3 years and funded by Swiss National Science Foundation. Salaries and benefits will be provided according to the guidelines of University of Geneva and range from 47-50 kCHF/year.

Applications should be sent electronically and include a CV with publication list, a statement of interest, and the names and email addresses of two potential referees. 

Master students

We are looking for motivated master students both in (i) biology and/or (ii) bioinformatics.

The main theme of our research is the study of molecular mechanisms involved in sex determination, gonadal differentiation and ovarian/testicular functions. In particular, we are developing two lines of research:  

 1) Revisiting sex determination using single cell transcriptomics and epigenetics.

Understanding how distinct cell populations diverge from multipotent progenitors is a major goal in developmental biology. We combine multiomic approaches of single-cell RNA sequencing and single-cell ATAC sequencing (10X Genomics) as well as single-cell mRNA full-length sequencing (10x Genomics-PacBio) to study how cell fate decisions are made during ovarian and testicular development.

2) Study the specification, differentiation and function of rete cells (or supporting lineages) during the gonad development

We employ functional genomic approaches in mice (Cre/Lox system, rTta inducible system, loss- and gain-of-function, CRISPR/Cas9 system) combined with single-cell transcriptomic analyses to understand the molecular mechanisms mediating the specification and differentiation of the supporting (Sertoli and Granulosa) and supporting-like cell (rete testis and rete ovarii) lineages. The involvement of candidate genes is being investigated (i.e.: transcription factors (PAX8, etc), ligands (WNT signaling pathway, etc.), …).  

Knowledge required for a master's degree in bioinformatics: knowledge in R and/or Python programming. Basic knowledge of transcriptomics data analysis. Basic knowledge of machine learning may be a plus.

Knowledge required for a master's degree in biology: basic knowledge in molecular biology, gene expression regulation. Basic knowledge in functional genomics (Cre/Lox, rTta, CrispR/Cas9) a plus.

Interested individuals should contact: Serge Nef (Serge.Nef(at)



Selected references:

Deciphering the origins and fates of steroidogenic lineages in the mouse testis. Ademi et al. Cell Rep. 2022 Jun 14;39(11). doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2022.110935. PMID: 35705036

 Origin, specification and differentiation of a rare supporting-like lineage in the developing mouse gonad. Mayère et al. Sci Adv. 2022 May 27;8(21). doi: 10.1126/sciadv.abm0972. PMID: 35613264