vendredi 13 avril 2018

PhD position - Functional genomics of sperm competition in zebra finches - Bielefeld University

PhD position in Evolutionary Ecology and FunctionalGenomics
One PhD position in evolutionary ecology and functional genomics is available at the Faculty of Biology at Bielefeld University in the EvolutionaryBiology group (with PD Dr Tim Schmoll, see collaboration with the Department of  Animal  Behaviour  (with  Dr  Peter  Korsten,  see The position is available immediately for 36 months and is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) within the recently approved collaborative research  centre  (SFB/TRR  212)  entitled:  A  Novel  Synthesis  of  Individualisation  across Behaviour,  Ecology  and  Evolution:  Niche  Choice,  Niche  Conformance,  Niche  Construction (NC3).
The goal of this project (project B04 of the collaborative research centre) is to test how male Zebra Finches conform to their social niche as set by the prevailing level of sperm competition.
This  will  allow  us  to  understand  how  individual  variation  in  sexual  competition  generates individual  variation,  and  covariation,  in  both  competitive  traits  and  parenting  behaviour.  The successful  candidate  will  closely  work  together  with  another  PhD  student  to  (i)  quantify  male
social  niche  conformance  by  analysing  adjustment  of sexual  competitiveness  including behavioural (e.g. aggression) and ejaculate (e.g. sperm motility) traits; (ii) identify the underlyingmechanisms of social niche conformance on the hormonal (via endocrinological profiling) and the  gene  expression  (via  RNAseq)  levels;  (iii)  assess  the  adaptive  significance  of  niche conformance  under  a  niche  match/mismatch  paradigm;  and  (iv)  test  for  trade-offs  between investment in sexual competitiveness  versuspaternal care. A sub-project A will primarily focus on male  social  niche  conformance through  adjustment of behavioural traits and the  hormonal mechanisms underlying niche conformance. A sub-project B will primarily focus on male social niche conformance through adjustment of ejaculate traits and the gene expression underlying niche conformance. Note that the position offered here is exclusively for sub-project B.
The collaborative research centre:The position will be embedded within a larger collaborative research centre (SFB) comprising 18 principle investigators, 8 postdocs and 16 PhD students based at Bielefeld University, the University of Münster and the University of Jena. The aim of the  SFB  is  to  produce  a  conceptual  and  empirical  synthesis  of  individualisation  across behaviour,  ecology  and  evolution.  The  SFB  will  provide  exceptional  opportunities  for interdisciplinary  collaboration  and  academic  networking,  together  with  structured  training, scientific exchange and early career support programmes. Full details of the SFB can be found at
Main responsibilities
• Research tasks (90%):
◦ Designing and conducting laboratory experiments inwhich zebra finch males are exposed to different levels of sperm competition
◦ Maintaining a zebra finch stock population and breeding of experimental birds
◦ Processing of tissue samples for transcriptomic analyses
◦ Bioinformatic processing of high-throughput sequencing data to quantify gene expression
◦ Assisting in setting up a computer-assisted sperm analysis (CASA) system
◦ Phenotyping sperm samples using CASA and other methods
◦ Assisting in taking behavioural recordings
◦ Statistical analyses of experimental data
◦ Collaborating with other research groups in the collaborative research centre
◦ Writing scientific publications for international peer-reviewed journals
• Organizational tasks in the research groups and collaborative research centre (10%) 

Applicants’ profiles
We are seeking a bright, highly motivated and creative student with
• a university degree in a relevant discipline with specializations in one or more of the following fields: bioinformatics, transcriptomics/genomics, animal behaviour, behavioural ecology, behavioural physiology, evolutionary ecology, and/or veterinary science,
• a keen interest in using molecular genetic methodsto answer behavioural and life history questions,
• experience with bioinformatic processing of high-throughput sequencing data or a keen interest in acquiring relevant skills,
• experience with statistical analysis (preferably using R), 
• ability to work both independently and as part of a team, and
• excellent oral and written communication skills inEnglish.
The following qualifications would additionally be of advantage:
• publications in peer-reviewed international journals,
• experience with sperm phenotyping including CASA
• experience with large-scale research projects.
Salary will be paid according to remuneration level13 (65%) of the Wage Agreement for Public Service in the Federal States (TV-L) which amounts to approximately 65% of € 3600.- = € 2350.- per  month  before  tax  and  in  addition  offers  various social  benefits.  Bielefeld  University  is particularly  committed  to  the  career  development  of its  employees.  It  offers  attractive  internal and external training. Employees have the opportunity to use a variety of health, counselling, and  prevention  programmes.  Bielefeld  University  places  great  importance  on  a  work–family
balance for all its employees. 

Application procedure
To apply, please provide: (i) a letter of motivation (maximum two pages) including a statement of your research interests,  and  skills and  experience  relevant to  the  position;  (ii)  a CV including your publication list; (iii) names and contact details of two referees willing to write confidential letters  of  recommendation.  All  materials  should  be  emailed  as  a  single  PDF  file  to  both principal investigators:
Review  of  applications  will  begin  May  3rd  2018  and  continue  until  the  position  is  filled.  

The  successful candidate should start as soon as possible after the decision. For further information on  the  project  and  the  departments,  please  contact  Tim  Schmoll  or  Peter  Korsten  with  any informal inquiries. 

Bielefeld  is  a  city  of  325,000  inhabitants  with  all expected  amenities  and  easy  access  to  the Teutoburger Wald for hiking and other outdoor pursuits. It offers a high standard of living and is well  connected  to  most  major  European  cities.  Bielefeld  University  has  received  a  number  of awards for its achievements in the provision of equal opportunity and has been recognized as a family friendly university. The University welcomesapplications from women. This is particularly true  with  regard  both  to  academic  and  technical  posts  as  well  as  positions  in  Information Technology and Trades and Craft. Applications are handled according to the provisions of the state equal opportunity statutes. Applications fromsuitably qualified handicapped and severely handicapped persons are explicitly encouraged.