Experimental Evolution of Endosymbiosis
Complex eukaryotic life began when one free-living cell gave up independence and partnered with another. A major question in evolution concerns how such partnerships are able to form and stabilise. We will study the early steps in the establishment of endosymbiosis using an evolution experiment involving protozoan predators and bacterial prey. Candidates for endosymbiotic interactions will be investigated using a combination of cutting-edge genomic and transcriptiomic techniques, fluorescent microscopy and flow cytometry. These approaches will provide a mechanistic insight into the evolutionary paths that are successful for predation and a first glimpse into the process by which individual cells evolve to form partnerships with unrelated unicellular organisms.
This project is a collaboration between Dr Heather Hendrickson and Dr Elizabeth Ostrowski at the Institute of Natural and Mathematical Sciences, Massey University Auckland New Zealand. Professor Ant Poole, at neighboring Auckland University, is also a named associate investigator on this Marsden Funded project. There is a thriving molecular evolution community in the Auckland region including an engaged post-graduate cohort, a monthly regional evolution seminar series and frequent visiting faculty from abroad. For more information about the Hendrickson lab see her lab website: http://microbialevolution.massey.ac.nz/ or find her on twitter @DrHHNZ.
Auckland, New Zealand:
The position are based in the multi-disciplinary Institute of Natural and Mathematics Sciences (INMS) at Massey University in Auckland, one of the most livable cities in the world. Auckland is the largest city in New Zealand, set on the Hauraki gulf and surrounded by wineries, mountains, forests and beaches.
B.Sc. (Hons) and/or M.Sc. in Genetics, Genomics, Molecular Biology or Microbiology equivalent with an A average or better.
The Ideal Candidate:
The ideal candidate will have experience in molecular genetics, genomics, evolutionary genetics and microbiology. Past experience in fluorescent microscopy is helpful but not required. The successful candidate will be motivated and organised, with a demonstrated capacity to master the broad skill set necessary for the successful completion of a research project. He or she will be a competent laboratory worker, with experience of all routine molecular genetic techniques, should be computer literate and have excellent communication skills.
Open to all nationalities. However, overseas candidates for whom English is not a first language must satisfy the English Language Requirements of the University to be eligible for study. Other international eligibility criteria and details regarding entrance to the program can be found in the Massey University Doctoral Study Handbook
Interested applicants are encouraged to make informal enquiries to Dr. Heather Hendrickson. Please send your Curriculum Vitae, a copy of your academic transcript, a sample of your written scientific work and the names of three referees with a covering letter to: [Email Address Removed]
Applications will be accepted until the position is filled. It would be desirable if the successful applicant were able to start by mid 2019.
Financial support via Marsden project funded PhD scholarships. This position is available in early 2019 and lasts for three years. The studentship covers all university fees and an annual tax-exempt stipend of NZ$27,500. Students with exceptional undergraduate marks may be eligible for a University Scholarship, which provides an increased stipend. Additional income may also be available from tutorial and laboratory supervision roles, although there is no formal teaching requirement.