PhD position in social insects (Germany) ~

9 de noviembre de 2013

PhD position in social insects (Germany)

The (epi-) genetic basis of division of labor in social insects

Division of labor is key to the ecological success of insect societies
and fundamental to their social organization.  In most social insects,
behavioral and morphological castes are not genetically determined,
but develop through phenotypic plasticity. Division of labor becomes
more pronounced in larger colonies both within and between species.
Moreover, behavior and task allocation typically changes in workers with
age, a phenomenon known as polyethism.

This project aims at a deeper understanding of the evolution and ontogeny
of division of labor in ants. We are interested in the identity,
regulation and selection of genes, whose differential expression
are important for the division of labor in workers. We will analyze
how behavioral performance, epigenetic signature and gene expression
patterns change over a workers' life and which factors other than age
influence worker behavior, such as morphology or experience. Our model
species of the genus Temnothorax are characterized by small colonies,
monomorphic, long-lived workers with a clear division of labor into
different behavioral castes.

We are looking for an excellent, highly motivated and enthusiastic PhD
student with a strong background in evolutionary biology. Candidates
should be interested in combining behavioral experiments, molecular
lab work (RNA-seq, qPCR, RNAi) and bioinformatic data analysis.
Previous experience in one or more of these fields is desirable.

The PhD position will be part of GeneRED (Gene Regulation in Evolution
and Development), a joint research initiative of the Institute of
Molecular Biology and the Faculty of Biology of Mainz University
( Candidates will profit from an established
international PhD Programme (, including courses and from
close interactions with various research groups

The deadline for application is November 25th 2013, position
will start in March 2014.  Detailed information on the application
process can be found on the homepage of the international PhD Programm
For application related questions please contact the IPP coordinator,
Dr. Elmar Uherek (  For project-related questions
contact Prof Dr. Susanne Foitzik ( or Dr. Barbara
Feldmeyer (

Prof. Dr. Susanne Foitzik
Institut für Zoologie
Johannes Gutenberg Universität Mainz
Johannes von Müller Weg 6
D-55099 Mainz

Tel: +49 (0) 6131 39 27 840
Fax: +49 (0)6131 39 27 850

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