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Ph.D. and Master’s opportunities: The Genomics of Eco-Evo-Devo in Killifishes

Posted by , on 14 October 2022

Location: Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

Closing Date: 1 February 2023

We are seeking highly motivated Ph.D. and Master’s students to begin research on comparative and functional genomics of annual and non-annual killifish adaptations to extreme environments. Killifishes are part of a highly diverse group of vertebrates that have evolved the ability to live in ephemeral ponds via developmental dormancy (diapause), and environmentally cued hatching. They also have skewed sex ratios and are thus emerging models for Eco-Evo-Devo and understanding the integration of developmental gene regulation and changing environments. The projects are led by the P.I. Andrew (Drew) Thompson in the Department of Biological Sciences at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan.


Students will conduct research on the following topics:

How can vertebrates regulate growth and suspended animation of multiple, complex organ systems?

How do extremophiles integrate environmental and genetic cues to control hatching?

How do changing environments modulate sexual differentiation?

(click here for flyer)


More specifically, the students will investigate the genomic basis and evolution of killifish developmental dormancy, environmentally-cued hatching, and/or sex determination. The students will apply functional genetic tools such as CRISPR/Cas9 and transgenesis and/or bioinformatic tools to understand gene, genome, and chromatin dynamics associated with the aforementioned developmental phenotypes. Students will also be expected to undertake an experimental approach to unravel how these genotypes integrate with different, extreme environmental conditions to produce phenotypic diversity and developmental plasticity.


Applicants should have interest and experience in some of the following: comparative genomics/transcriptomics, genetics, chromatin dynamics, genome annotation, gene editing (e.g. knockout, transgenesis, etc.), bioinformatics, fish husbandry, fish evolution, and phylogenetics.


The students will work under the supervision of Dr. Andrew Thompson and will begin the fall of 2023.  Please send any inquiries and notification of interests to Dr. Andrew Thompson ( Please provide a CV and a message describing your research interests and reasons for considering joining the Thompson Lab at WMU.


For more information on applying to the PhD and Master’s programs in the Department of Biological Sciences at Western Michigan University please visit:


Andrew W. Thompson, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences, Western Michigan University


Telephone (USA): (269) 387-5869


See our Node post!:

Start date: 15 August 2023

Closing Date: 1 February 2023

Scientific fields: Evo-devo and eco-evo-devo, Gene regulation, Chromatin and epigenetics, Growth control, Metabolism and physiology

Model systems: Other vertebrate

Duration: Fixed term

Minimum qualifications: Bachelor's Degree

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