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developmental and stem cell biologists

Postdoctoral Position in Vertebrate Neurodevelopment and Evolution

Posted by , on 2 November 2016

Closing Date: 15 March 2021

A fully funded postdoctoral position is available in the Laboratory of Regulatory Evolution (Tschopp group) at the Zoological Institute, University of Basel, Switzerland.

Topic of research
The lab’s research interests focus on how developmental processes can get modified, to give rise to morphological diversification on an evolutionary time-scale. As a model system, we are studying the development of the vertebrate skeleton with its associated neuromuscular system.
Vertebrate autopods (hands and feet) display the highest degree of morphological diversification in the appendicular skeleton, reflecting e.g. distinct modes of locomotion. While digit loss in the autopod has occurred in multiple vertebrate lineages, there seems to be a strong constraint to maintain the maximum number of digits at five, even though extra digits might prove beneficial in certain species.
The present project will investigate the potential for developmental plasticity in the limb neuromuscular system in response to changes in dactyly, i.e. altering digit numbers in vertebrate hands and feet. Specific questions we will address include: How are muscle patterning and motorneuron axonal pathfinding coping with changes in digit numbers in vertebrate hands and feet? How is motorneuron pool complexity in the spinal cord affected by additional digit targets in the periphery?
We will use a range of methods, including experimental embryology in chicken, genetic mouse models, axonal backfilling, NextGeneration-Sequencing and functional experiments using gene knock-down and overexpression.
For more information please visit

Your profile
The successful candidate will have a PhD in developmental biology and/or neurobiology, and will have skills in embryology, molecular biology and NextGeneration-Sequencing. Experience in axonal backfilling techniques will be a big plus. A basic understanding of Unix and the R language for statistical computing would be beneficial. You are interested in learning and using new technology to address long-standing questions in developmental and evolutionary biology.

We offer
– Highly interactive and interdisciplinary research environment
– Attractive employment conditions, very competitive salary by international standards, full funding available for 2 years
– The project builds on a solid foundation of confirmed preliminary data

Application / Contact
Please send your application with a brief statement of motivation, a current CV and contacts for references to
Evaluation will begin on Dec. 1st 2016 and suitable candidates will be contacted shortly after. Earliest starting date is 1 January 2017.

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