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PhD Position - Tracing the evolution of metazoan cell type and genome regulation using single-cell and functional genomics approaches

PhD Position - Tracing the evolution of metazoan cell type and genome regulation using single-cell and functional genomics approaches

The Institute

The Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG) is an international biomedical research institute of excellence, based in Barcelona, Spain, with more than 400 scientists from 44 countries. The CRG shares principles of an interdisciplinary, motivated and creative scientific team that is supported by high-end and innovative technologies and a flexible and efficient administration.

CRG has been conferred with a badge of ‘HR Excellence in Research’ by the European Commission, in recognition to its progress in implementing the European Charter for Researchers and the Code of Conduct for Recruitment of Researchers, that among others consists of transparent, merit-based recruitment procedures and attractive work-life balance working conditions.

For further information: www.crg.eu

The role

One PhD Position open to work in the Single cell genomics and evolution Lab at CRG, Barcelona

About the team/ lab/ department

Our group studies genome regulation from an evolutionary systems perspective. In particular, we are interested in deciphering the evolutionary dynamics of animal cell type programs and in reconstructing the emergence of genome regulatory mechanisms linked to cell type differentiation (from transcription factor binding through chromatin states to the physical architecture of the genome). To this end, we apply advanced single-cell genomics and chromatin experimental methods to molecularly dissect cellular phenotypes and epigenomic landscapes in phylogenetically diverse organisms. We also develop computational tools to integrate these diverse data sources into models of cell type gene regulatory networks and we use phylogenetic methods to comparatively analyse these models. Our recent work has provided the first whole-organism cell type atlases in different species and mapped key regulatory genome features underlying these cellular programs (see Sebé-Pedrós 2018 Cell, Sebé-Pedrós 2018 NEE, Sebé-Pedrós 2016 Cell). By sampling additional species and chromatin features at single-cell resolution, we now aim at tracing the evolution of cell types by modelling their underlying gene regulatory networks.

The Single-cell genomics and evolution lab has currently 4 members (2 postdocs + 2 PhD students) with multidisciplinary backgrounds, including developmental biology, evolution, computational biology, and genomics. The group is part of the CRG Systems biology program, which is a unique centre of excellence in Europe for quantitative biology. The CRG and the other institutes of the PRBB including EMBL Barcelona provide an ideal ecosystem for this program, being very strong in both genomics and mechanistic molecular biology. The institute receives substantial core funding, has excellent core facilities, and a beautiful location on the seafront in Barcelona.

Research Group website: http://www.crg.eu/en/programmes-groups/single-cell-genomics-and-evolution

Whom would we like to hire?  

We are seeking a highly motivated candidate to join our team to work on an interdisciplinary project (experimental and computational) involving single-cell genomics and chromatin profiling in different systems. The research program for this position focuses on elucidating the origin and early evolution of animal genome regulation and cell type diversity (neurons, muscles, secretory cells, etc). To this end, you will apply advanced functional genomics to characterize cell types and regulatory genome features in diverse non-bilaterian metazoan species (Porifera, Ctenophora, Placozoa and Cnidaria). Specifically, this involves: (i) scRNAseq to define cell type-specific gene expression, (ii) fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) to validate scRNAseq-predicted cell type markers, and (iii) bulk ChIP-seq and HiC to map chromatin states and the physical compartmentalization of the genome. You will also participate in the analysis, integration, and interpretation of these omics datasets.

This is a strongly collaborative project and, as such, it will involve visits to laboratories in different countries, particularly to sample different organisms. Our laboratory has advanced single-cell infrastructure and you will be trained and regularly use a droplet-based single-cell platform (Indrops), as well as our liquid-handling robot. Previous experience in basic molecular biology procedures is an advantage. Creativity and intellectual independence are desirable, as is the ability to work collaboratively.

Applicants must have obtained a University Degree and a Masters Degree in a field of life sciences, engineering and/or physics within the European Higher Education System (minimum 300 ECTS) or equivalent by September 2019.

Excellent English level

The successful applicant will enrol in the very active CRG International PhD program, which includes science and practical courses, a wide range of complementary skills training, access to many courses, mentoring via a thesis committee, and active participation in the organization of seminars, symposia and retreats.

The Offer

  • Contract duration: 4 year PhD Position
  • Estimated annual gross salary: Salary is commensurate with qualifications and consistent with our pay scales.

We provide a highly stimulating environment with state-of-the-art infrastructures, and unique professional career development opportunities.

We offer and promote a diverse and inclusive environment and welcomes applicants regardless of age, disability, gender, nationality, race, religion or sexual orientation.

Application Procedure

Applications are accepted exclusively online. Proposals must be written in English.

Please, APPLY through the following link: https://www.findaphd.com/phds/project/tracing-the-evolution-of-metazoan-cell-type-and-genome-regulation-using-single-cell-and-functional-genomics-approaches/?p109706

Candidates may contact imma.falero@crg.eu for informal enquiries regarding the application and academic enquiries, as well as address scientific enquiries to arnau.sebe@crg.eu.

Deadline: June 23rd, 2019