Postdoc: Genetic polynorphisms in barn owls (Switzerland) ~

4 de junio de 2013

Postdoc: Genetic polynorphisms in barn owls (Switzerland)

One-year PostDoc position at the University of Lausanne, Prof.
Alexandre Roulin (

Polymorphisms of pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC) polymorphisms as well as
alteration of POMC maturation by the proprotein convertase (PC)-1/3
are crucial determinants for physiology and behavior in humans and
animals, including feeding behavior, skin pigmentation, stress
response, the immune system, and sexual functions.  Barn and tawny
owls are a powerful system to study the role of POMC in this context.
Our extensive studies over the past years acquired a unique and
comprehensive set of phenotypic and genetic data for over 4¢000
individual birds. These studies revealed striking correlations between
genetic polymorphisms in POMC precursors and specific alterations in
PC1/3. Undetectable PC1/3 expression and mutant PC1/3, in barn owl
growing feathers and brain respectively, coincides with a unique POMC
polymorphism characterized by poly-serine insertions. In the present
project, we will undertake an in-depth molecular characterization of
the system to establish a link between the observed POMC polymorphisms
and PC1/3 variants. Using state-of the-art biochemical and cell
biology techniques, we will characterize the physiological importance
of POMC polymorphism found in barn owls and link these mechanistic
data to the available physiological and behavioral observations. This
interdisciplinary project directed by Prof. Alexandre Roulin
(Department of Ecology and Evolution, UNIL) will for the first time
illuminate the molecular basis underlying the role of POMC in complex
behavioral patterns of a highly relevant species. For this exciting
project, we are looking for a post-doctoral candidate with a strong
background in biochemistry and molecular biology. Financial support is
guaranteed for one year according to the salary levels of Swiss
national Science Foundation with the option of prolongation.

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