Postdoc in evolvability, University of Arizona (US) ~

23 de mayo de 2013

Postdoc in evolvability, University of Arizona (US)

A postdoc position is available to work with Joanna Masel ( at the University of Arizona in Tucson. A popular tourist destination surrounded on all four sides by mountainous national and state parks, Tucson is a vibrant city of nearly a million people with an attractive climate. The EEB department in Tucson was ranked in the top 10 by US News & World Report.

The Masel group's main research interests are in robustness and evolvability, using a mixture of analytical theory, bioinformatic and simulation approaches. In previous work (Rajon & Masel 2011 PNAS), we explored the evolutionary consequences of the simple fact that all molecular processes, from transcription to protein interactions, are subject to errors. The evolution of error rates is bistable. One attractor represents a global proofreading solution that avoids making errors at many loci at once, the other a local robustness solution, where errors happen at high rates but the consequences of each error have evolved, one locus at a time, to be benign. Populations that evolved the local solution were much more evolvable, with selection acting on the consequences of errors acting as a playground to explore and prescreen possible future mutations.

We are looking for a postdoc to extend this and related work (Rajon & Masel 2013 Genetics) to examine sexual as well as asexual populations, and to test the controversial hypothesis of the adaptive evolution of evolvability. In other words, might the high evolvability of local solutions cause their prevalence to increase?

A strong quantitative background, good programming skills, and previous modeling experience are all required. A background in evolutionary theory is strongly preferred. Some interest in the molecular biology of transcription, translation, protein folding and binding, and the errors in each of these processes is an advantage. The position is available starting August 26, 2013, and is renewable, with funding secured for at least two years.

Contact Joanna Masel at for more information and/or to apply.

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