PhD student in Evolutionary Biology (Germany) ~

30 de agosto de 2012

PhD student in Evolutionary Biology (Germany)

Salary: E13/65% for 36 months (net: approx. 1100-1200 EUR / month)

Starting time: November 2012 or as soon as possible thereafter

Project title: “Red Queen dynamics in *Daphnia*; revealing the evolutionary
change in a parasite population”

The PhD student will participate in a collaborative research project of
Justyna Wolinska to investigate molecular signatures of host-parasite
coevolution in the wild. This project is a part of a large research
initiative funded by the German Science Foundation: “Host-Parasite
Coevolution – Rapid Reciprocal Adaptation and its Genetic Basis”. The
overarching goal of this interdisciplinary research initiative is to
use host-parasite
coevolution as a powerful and versatile model for analysing the causes and
processes of evolutionary adaptation across scales: from genomes to
ecosystems (see Because of its role as a
driving force of adaptation and diversity, understanding host-parasite
coevolution is an important challenge to evolutionary biology.

Specifically, the student will screen wild populations of *Daphnia* (host)
for infections with a common protozoan (microparasite). In the precursor
project a) we showed that this parasite is likely to induce evolutionary
change in natural *Daphnia* populations (due to its high virulence and
strong genetic specificity for infection); b) we have developed a molecular
approach to study parasite population structure; and c) we have identified
several field sites where this parasite is common. There are four
objectives of the proposed new study. We want to investigate 1) temporal
changes (i.e. within parasite populations) and 2) the spatial pattern
(across populations) using molecular approaches. Importantly, 3) we will
verify the results by applying different genetic markers. Finally, we will
look for 4) molecular signatures of the genetic specificity of infection. The
main molecular approach will be Next Generation Sequencing of some
(polymorphic) genes of protozoan microparasites. In addition, we plan on
extending the array of markers, by sequencing and analyzing the genome of a
target parasite. Alternatively, for the development of new polymorphic
markers, PCR amplification and Sanger sequencing of cloned fragments might
be used. Depending on the interest of the student, he / she can be further
involved in field and / or experimental work. In summary, this project
should shed light on evolutionary changes in otherwise often omitted
partners in the host-parasite coevolutionary research: the microparasites.

The ideal candidate should have a strong background in evolutionary
biology. In addition, knowledge of bioinformatics and/or population
genetics will be highly advantageous. Good molecular skills, excellent
communication and writing skills in English, good work ethics, and creative
thinking are desired. A Masters degree (or equivalent) in biology is
necessary for admission. The working language in the group is English.

The student will take part in the organized PhD program of the university.
In addition, the student will have the chance to collaborate intensively
with other researchers. In particular, with Dr. Adam Petrusek (Charles
University in Prague), Dr. Sabine Giessler (LMU, Munich) and the
researchers who participate in the mentioned “Host-Parasite Coevolution”
program ( There are generous funds to
cover attendance of the national and international conferences as well as
research stays (lab rotations) in other universities.

Applications should include 1) a letter of interest with a description of
relevant experience, 2) curriculum vitae, 3) abstract of the master thesis,
4) a list of publications (if any), 5) the names (with e-mail addresses) of
three potential referees. Applications should be submitted as a SINGLE (!)
PDF document to the following e-mail address:

Please submit your application by 9 September 2012.

For further information, consult:

Justyna Wolinska: **

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