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Sex-specific processes in European prehistory and beyond: Y-chromosome vs. mtDNA variation

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  • Full or part time
    Prof Martin B. Richards
    Dr M. Pala
    Dr C. Edwards
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

We are seeking a PhD student in archaeogenetics/palaeogenetics as part of the third cohort of five PhD scholars in Evolutionary Genetics for the new Leverhulme Trust Centre at Huddersfield, to begin in September 2017. The successful scholar will receive training from leading experts and undertake cutting-edge research in archaeogenetics, palaeogenetics, bioinformatics, genomics, next-generation DNA sequencing, phylogenetics, population genetics and human evolution.

This particular project, co-supervised by Prof Jim Wilson (University of Edinburgh), will focus on aspects of the Y-chromosome archaeogenetics and palaeogenetics, and in particular the unique contribution that Y-chromosome variation seen in both ancient and contemporary samples can make (via comparisons with mitochondrial DNA and genome-wide data) to studies of sex-biased dispersal in human history. The project is planned to include cutting-edge ancient DNA work and to complement what is already being undertaken at Huddersfield on mtDNA and genome-wide variation. Thus, although there will be a heavy computational slant to this project, the student will also have the opportunity to work in modern molecular biology facilities, as well as in the newly opened high-spec ancient DNA facility at Huddersfield, alongside existing students in all of these areas. A highly experienced research fellow will provide day to day guidance, along with the academic staff. There will be a strong emphasis on data analysis and interpretation, with the aim being to produce world-class research papers, in close collaboration with colleagues in archaeology, linguistics and mathematics, as well as evolutionary and population genetics.

Applicants should hold a good bachelor’s degree (and preferably also an MSc or MA) in Genetics, Molecular Biology, Statistics, Computing, Bioarchaeology, Biological Anthropology, or other relevant subject, and ideally have experience of generic biological lab techniques such as DNA extraction and PCR. Although training and hands-on supervision will be provided, it is essential that the candidate can operate independently and take the initiative to direct their research. Aptitude for team working is also a crucial attribute of the ideal candidate.

The studentship will cover the full cost of tuition fees for UK/EU students, and will pay an annual tax-free bursary of £14,553 for three years (RCUK rates). There are additional funds available for laboratory consumables and travel for conferences, visits to collaborating laboratories and sample procurement.

To apply, please go to: http://halo.hud.ac.uk/pgr_onlineapps/ and complete the on-line application, ensuring you select full-time PhD Biology. Please type ‘Leverhulme Trust’ in the ‘Personal Statement’ field. Please also email your CV, transcripts and two letters of recommendation in support of your application to Professor Richards (email [email protected]) and copy to PGR Administrator Fiona Cross (email [email protected]) Please indicate in your email why you believe you are well-qualified for the project.

For informal enquiries please contact Prof Richards on +44 (0)1484 471676 (email [email protected]), Dr Pala on +44 (0)1484 472273 ([email protected]) or Dr Edwards (email [email protected])

Related web links:


Recent relevant publications

Gandini F, Achilli A, Pala M, Bodner M, Brandini S, Huber G, Egyed B, Ferretti L, Gómez-Carballa A, Salas A, Scozzari R, Cruciani F, Coppa A, Parson W, Semino O, Soares P, Torroni A, Richards MB, Olivieri A. (2016) Mapping human dispersals into the Horn of Africa from Arabian Ice Age refugia using mitogenomes. Sci Rep. 6:25472

Lazaridis I et al. (2016) Genomic insights into the origin of farming in the ancient Near East. Nature. 2016 536:419-424.

Olivieri A et al.(2017) Mitogenome diversity in Sardinians: A genetic window onto the island’s past. Molecular Biology and Evolution, advance access doi:10.1093/molbev/msx082

Pala M, Soares P, Richards MB. (2016) Archaeogenetic and palaeogenetic evidence for Metal Age mobility in Europe. In: Koch J, Cunliffe B (eds) Ancient Europe in the Metal Ages: questions of shared language. Oxford: Oxbow Press

Pereira JB, Costa, MD, Pala M, Bamford L, Harrich N, Cherni L, Alshamali F, Hatina J, Rychkov S, Stefanescu G, King T, Torroni A, Soares P, Pereira L, Richards MB. (2017) Reconciling evidence from ancient and contemporary genomes: A major source for the European Neolithic within Mediterranean Europe. Proc Roy Soc B 284: 20161976.

Silva M, Oliveira M, Vieira D, Brandão A, Rito T, Pereira JB, Fraser RM, Hudson, R., Gandini F, Edwards C, Pala M, Koch J, Wilson JF, Pereira L, Richards MB, Soares P. (2017) A genetic chronology for the Indian Subcontinent points to heavily sex-biased dispersals BMC Evol Biol 17:88

Richards MB, Soares P, Torroni A. (2016) Palaeogenomics: mitogenomes and migrations in Europe's past. Curr Biol. 2016 26:R243-6.

Soares, PA, Trejaut, JA, Rito, T, Cavadas, B, Hill, C, Eng, KK, Mormina, M, Brandão, A, Fraser, RM, Wang, T-Y, Loo, J-H, Snell, C, Ko, T-M, Amorim, A, Pala, M, Macaulay, V, Bulbeck, D, Wilson, JF, Gusmão, L, Pereira, L, Oppenheimer, S, Lin, M, Richards, MB. (2016). Resolving the ancestry of Austronesian-speaking populations. Hum Genet 135:309-26

How good is research at University of Huddersfield in Biological Sciences?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 13.00

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