Postdoctoral Research Associate: Wing Colour Pattern Genetics (Fixed term)

University of Cambridge - Department of Zoology

A post-doctoral research associate position in Department of Zoology, located in Central Cambridge on Downing Street, is available from 1 November 2017 for 18 months, in the first instance, to work with Professor Chris Jiggins on the genetic basis of adaptation and speciation in Heliconius butterflies. The PDRA will use CRISPR technology to study the genetic basis of wing patterns in Heliconius. We have used large scale sequencing data to identify narrow regions associated with specific wing pattern elements and these permit detailed experiments to investigate their function.

We are interested in the cortex locus which controls yellow wing patterns between species and populations of Heliconius. Potential experiments include targeted coding sequence knockouts, focusing on the cortex gene; regulatory locus deletions to investigate the effect of candidate regulatory sequence; gene-tagging using knock-ins to investigate patterns of gene expression and function. There is scope for the focus of the biological analyses to reflect the interests of the candidate.

It is likely that the post will involve periods of fieldwork in South America (Colombia, Panama or Ecuador). It is also possible that CRISPR injection experiments could be carried out with collaborators in these countries.

Essential criteria:

  • PhD in an appropriate subject (e.g. evo-devo or evolutionary genetics);
  • Experience with evolutionary genetics research;
  • Ambition and drive, strong work ethic and good interpersonal skills and an exceptional publication record;
  • Enthusiasm to interact with colleagues;
  • Ability to organise time and work effectively, independently and responsibly in a research team setting.

The successful applicant should have a strong interest in the genetic basis for adaptation.

Duties will include:

  • Designing and carrying out genetic manipulation experiments to investigate the origins of mimicry patterns and species diversity in Heliconius;
  • Designing CRISPR experiments for targeted analysis of genetic differences in wing pattern;
  • Managing butterfly care and maintenance of stocks;
  • Analysing and writing up the results.

Candidates should have a good collaborative spirit, as the work will involve close collaboration with researchers in Cambridge and Panama as well as coordination with many different labs working on Heliconius biology, genome assembly and genome databases. Enthusiasm, determination and the capacity to work independently are also essential.

The successful applicant will be strongly encouraged to apply for fellowship funding to continue this work independently in Cambridge.

Fixed-term: The funds for this post are available for 18 months in the first instance.

To apply online for this vacancy and to view further information about the role, please visit:

www.jobs.cam.ac.uk/job/14982. This will take you to the role on the University’s Job Opportunities pages. There you will need to click on the 'Apply online' button and register an account with the University's Web Recruitment System (if you have not already) and log in before completing the online application form.

Please quote reference PF13309 on your application and in any correspondence about this vacancy.

The University values diversity and is committed to equality of opportunity.

The University has a responsibility to ensure that all employees are eligible to live and work in the UK.

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South East England