jeudi 14 juillet 2016

funded PhD at Liverpool John Moores University

A fully funded 3-year PhD position is available in the School of Natural Sciences and Psychology at Liverpool John Moores University:

Title: "Epigenetic inheritance of ecological information"

Description: Organisms are thought to adapt to changing environments through either short term (e.g. phenotypic plasticity) or long term processes (e.g. genetic mutation & evolution, gene flow). Accumulating evidence, primarily from rodents, suggests that there is an additional mechanism, epigenetic inheritance, which facilitates adaption to challenges over the medium term. However disentangling epigenetic inheritance from maternal effects is problematic in mammals due to viviparity: internal fertilisation and development permit the mother to exert considerable influence on offspring phenotype during embryonic development, potentially masking direct epigenetic inheritance. This project will investigate the role of epigenetic inheritance in vertebrates using the classical genetic model organism the zebrafish (Danio rerio). As an externally-fertilising species with no parental care, zebrafish are an ideal, genetically tractable model organism in which to study the mechanisms of epigenetic inheritance while controlling other transgenerational influences such as maternal effects.

This project will involve manipulation of the parental environment to identify experiences and ecological challenges which produce transgenerational behavioural or physiological effects. Following characterisation of parental and offspring phenotypes, RNAseq will be used to identify differentially expressed genes associated with different phenotypes in offspring. Associated changes in epigenetic status of DNA and chromatin will be characterised to investigate the epigenetic mechanisms involved in the observed transgenerational effects.

The project will involve behavioural and physiological analysis, as well as both molecular biology and bioinformatics, and would suit a student with either a genetics/molecular biology background and a keen interest in whole animal biology, or a zoology/animal biology background and strong molecular biology knowledge and skills. The project will be supervised by Dr Will Swaney, Dr Craig Wilding and Dr Prim Singh, all at LJMU.

Duration: 3 years, full time, starting by 1st November 2016
Funding: the successful student will receive a stipend in line with RCUK rates (e.g. £14296 in year 1), and tuition fees will be waived
Eligibility: UK/EU citizens only, with the equivalent of a UK 1st class or 2:1 Bachelors degree in biology/genetics/zoology or related subject as a minimum, good spoken & written English.
Desirable/relevant knowledge: bioinformatics, PCR, biostatistics/R, behavioural analysis, fish biology, relevant MSc

Application process: email an application letter explaining your interest in the project, your relevant experience and suitability, as well as a CV and the contact details for two academic referees (former tutors/supervisors).
Application deadline: Friday 19th August, shortlisted candidates will be interviewed in early September.
Applications and informal enquiries should be sent to Dr Will Swaney (