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PhD position in comparative neurogenetics and behaviour


Project Description

We are looking for a PhD candidate (earliest starting date: 01/01/2020) to develop a project in comparative neuroscience and behaviour in the lab of Prof. Richard Benton (www.unil.ch/cig/benton) under the co-supervision of Dr. Thomas Auer at the Center for Integrative Genomics, University of Lausanne, Switzerland.

The candidate will develop his/her project within the larger lab topic of behavioural evolution using the chemosensory system of the closely-related Drosophila species D.melanogaster and D. sechellia. These flies show opposing behaviours upon exposure to hexanoic acid: D. melanogaster is repelled while D. sechellia is attracted. This behavior is highly relevant for the ecology of D. sechellia, as it lives exclusively on a single host fruit enriched with up to 40% of hexanoic acid. We are using a comparative evolutionary approach to decipher how acid sensing circuits differ between both species.

This involves RNA-sequencing, neurogenetic tool development for functional imaging in chemosensory circuits, genome engineering and behavioural analysis (see Auer et al., bioRxiv https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/546507v1 as relevant reference).

Our experiments will answer the fundamental question of how evolutionary adaptations in the chemosensory circuits lead to differential sensing of information at the periphery and/or how neural circuit connectivity modifies the perception of the sensed information in the central brain. Ultimately we aim to link genetic and neural changes to an animal’s behavioral choices and the occupation of specific ecological niches.

Please find more details about the project at the official application website (link below).

Institution
The University of Lausanne is a higher teaching and research institution composed of seven faculties where approximately 15,000 students and nearly 5,000 collaborators, professors and researchers work and study. Situated along the shores of Lake Geneva, near Lausanne’s city center, its campus brings together over 120 nationalities

Your qualifications
- A Master’s degree in molecular biology, neurobiology and/or evolutionary biology (Please note that a M.Sc. degree is a pre-requisite to join our Ph.D. program!)
- Strong interests/skills in molecular biology, genetics, neurobiology and/or behavioural analyses
- Excellent scientific writing, communication and interpersonal skills

What the position offers you
The Benton lab is hosted at the Center for Integrative Genomics (CIG) at the University of Lausanne (UNIL), a vibrant, well-funded institute with a focus on functional genomics and equipped with modern core facilities (see http://www.unil.ch/cig). It is embedded in the boarder Lausanne research environment that includes two universities (UNIL, EPFL), the Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics, Ludwig Center for Cancer Research, university hospital and a multicultural, diversified and dynamic academic environment.

Your application
To apply you must upload as a single pdf document:
• a CV
• a motivation letter in English, including the names of 2-3 referees

Only applications through the University of Lausanne job portal will be taken into account. (https://career5.successfactors.eu/career?career%5fns=job%5flisting&company=universitdP&navBarLevel=JOB%5fSEARCH&rcm%5fsite%5flocale=fr%5fFR&site=VjItQWt5MjVDbnNGNGlkV21MMFpPZDkrdz09&career_job_req_id=14759&selected_lang=en_US&jobAlertController_jobAlertId=&jobAlertController_jobAlertName=&_s.crb=XBYqHymSPKOyeLuo0fpUKr2zBzQ%3d)

Additional information
UNIL is committed to promoting gender equality and strongly encourages applications from female candidates.

Funding Notes

Renewable contract, 1+2+2 years.

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