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Postdoctoral Research Associate in Epigenetics and Evolution

University of Oxford

Location: Oxford
Salary: £36,024 to £41,732 per annum
Hours: Full Time
Contract Type: Fixed-Term/Contract
Placed On: 22nd February 2024
Closes: 22nd March 2024
Job Ref: 171301

About the role

We are seeking to appoint a Postdoctoral Research Associate to join the lab of Professor Peter Sarkies. Transgenerational epigenetic inheritance is increasingly recognised as a way in which changes in gene expression can be passed across multiple generations without changes in underlying DNA sequence.  Mechanistic characterisation of transgenerational epigenetic inheritance is most advanced in the nematode C. elegans, where transgenes can be silenced by small non-coding RNAs (sRNAs) and the silent state transmitted for multiple generations independent of the initial trigger.  Could such epigenetic changes contribute to evolutionary processes as well?  This project aims to find this out.  It builds on prior work from the lab showing that “epimutations”- spontaneous changes in epigenetic states, can arise spontaneously in C. elegans populations and be transmitted for a limited number of generations.  We now want to test whether these epimutations could drive evolutionary processes, in particular whether the evolution of resistance to antihelminthic drugs such as Ivermectin can be promoted by epigenetic changes.  We will evolve resistance to Ivermectin in the lab by conducting long term evolution experiments using C. elegans.  We will follow the trajectory of gene expression, small RNAs and chromatin using high throughput sequencing across the timecourse of adaptation to identify epimutations that may promote resistance.  This project has the potential to redefine our understanding of the mechanisms of evolution and could prove important in tackling resistance to antihelminths in parasitic nematodes.  The project is fully funded for three years by the Leverhulme Trust.

This full-time fixed-term post is funded by the Leverhulme Trust for up to 3 years in the first instance.

The actual starting salary offered will be based on qualifications and relevant skills acquired and will also be determined by the funding available.

What We Offer

Your happiness and wellbeing at work matters to us, so we offer a range of family friendly and financial benefits including:

  • An excellent contributory pension scheme
  • 38 days annual leave
  • A comprehensive range of childcare services
  • Family leave schemes
  • Cycle loan scheme
  • Membership to a variety of social and sports clubs
  • Discounted bus travel and Season Ticket travel loans

The University also runs an enormous amount of social groups and sports clubs for those looking for more than just a great place to work.

About you

You will have a PhD/DPhil or be near completion of a PhD/DPhil and have familiarity with C. elegans and be passionate to apply our understanding of epigenetic mechanisms to evolutionary biology.  You will have some experience of both computational and laboratory approaches as both will be required for this project, but specific experience of the sequencing techniques is not required.  You will be excited about the possibility of discovering new facets of the evolutionary process and will be keen to help shape the project as it develops.

Application Process

If you would like to discuss this role, please contact  Peter Sarkies

You will be required to upload a supporting statement, setting out how you meet the selection criteria, curriculum vitae and the names and contact details of three referees as part of your online application.

Only applications received before 12 noon on Friday 22nd March 2024 can be considered with interviews for shortlisted candidates to be held as soon as possible thereafter.

Committed to equality and valuing diversity

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