From early 2012, a PhD studentship and a postdoctoral position are available in the Panfilio lab (in Cologne, Germany) to investigate morphogenesis of the insect extraembryonic membranes. As protective covers for the embryo, these simple epithelia are a defining feature of the insects and have been linked to their evolutionary success. However, in order to protect the embryo without obstructing later development, the membranes perform an array of morphogenetic movements as they develop to cover and later withdraw from the embryo. The aim of the research is to understand: (1) how extraembryonic morphogenesis works at multiple levels of biological organization, and (2) how conserved morphogenesis is across species. Research will be conducted in species that represent the two main modes of extraembryonic development and that are amenable to standard developmental genetics techniques as well as live imaging analyses (the beetle Tribolium castaneum and the bug Oncopeltus fasciatus).
Successful applicants will have a strong interest in studying cell shape changes in the context of tissue reorganization, and in doing so from a comparative perspective. Candidates with a degree in cell and developmental biology or related fields are encouraged to apply. The working language of the lab is English, and strong oral and written communication skills are required. PhD candidates must be in possession of a master’s degree or the equivalent before commencing this work. Postdoctoral candidates must have completed the PhD degree. Additionally, the postdoctoral candidate will have a track record of successfully completing research projects, as demonstrated by at least one first author publication. Required skills include standard developmental genetics techniques associated with RNAi, tissue staining, and light microscopy. Experience with electron microscopy, protein expression, transgenic line production, and/ or quantitative analyses of (live) imaging data is desired.
The lab is based in the Institute for Developmental Biology, University of Cologne (home page), and has active research and collaboration links with other developmental, evolutionary, and insect labs. With one million inhabitants, Cologne is an international, vibrant city that is well connected within western Europe. Salaries are paid according to the standard German pay scale for the public sector (TV-L E13, 50%/ 100%), and include health insurance and other social benefit contributions. The Ph.D. position is for three years. The postdoctoral position is for one year in the first instance and is renewable for at least a second year. The University of Cologne is an equal opportunity employer in compliance with the German disability laws. Women and persons with disabilities are strongly encouraged to apply.
To apply for either position, please send a statement of research interest, curriculum vitae, and contact details (e-mail address and phone number) for two references as a single PDF file to Kristen.Panfilio[at]alum.swarthmore.edu. Informal enquiries to further discuss the positions are welcome. All applications will be considered until 10 December 2011.