PhD position in Molecular Evolution and Sociobiology

  • Full Time
  • Germany

The Research Training Group “Evolutionary Processes in Adaptation and Disease” (EvoPAD, GRK 2220) at the University of Münster, Germany, invites applications for a

PhD Position (salary level TV-L E13, 65%).

The project is on “genotype to phenotype” – linking the evolution of the mitochondrial OXPHOS system, mitochondrial capacity, metabolic rates and hybrid incompatibility in the parasitoid wasp Nasonia.

This fixed-term position will start as soon as possible and is available for three years. Currently, the regular full employment time is 39 hours and 50 minutes per week.

The DFG-funded Research Training Group “Evolutionary Processes in Adaptation and Disease” (EvoPAD, GRK 2220) unites biological, medical, and philosophical research. The core idea is to use the theory of evolution to understand processes leading to adaptation and/or disease. PhD students work on advancing evolutionary theory and, in turn, apply modern evolutionary approaches to medical questions. EvoPAD doctoral researchers perform cutting-edge research in an interdisciplinary environment. Our multidisciplinary qualification program is tailored to individual career tracks and offers opportunities for international cooperation, summer schools, and courses covering evolutionary and population genetics, bioinformatics, experimental design, philosophy of science, and bioethics. EvoPAD is coordinated within the stimulating city of Münster and offers a family-friendly and international atmosphere.

Project details:
The successful candidate will work on subproject B7, supervised by Prof Dr Jürgen Gadau at the Institute for Evolution and Biodiversity ( The project aims to understand the genomic, genetic and physiological basis of nuclear cytoplasmic incompatibilities, specifically concerning mitochondria. Well-functioning mitochondria are essential for the survival and reproduction of all eukaryotes, including humans. To make a functioning mitochondrion, both nuclear and mitochondrial genes have to interact harmoniously. In general, mitochondrial genomes evolve faster, posing a potential problem due to nuclear cytoplasmic incompatibilities. In humans, mitochondrial mutations cause the most common human genetic diseases. Additionally, nuclear-cytoplasmic incompatibilities contribute to early postzygotic isolation between incipient species.

This project uses known hybrid incompatibilities in a four-species parasitoid wasp system to reveal and understand the genetic architecture of the observed nuclear-cytoplasmic incompatibilities in F2 male hybrids. This incompatibility comes in degrees ranging from none to 90% lethality in the most distant crosses. It is also known that rearing temperature influences the effect of this hybrid incompatibility (e.g., no offspring survive at 15°C and 31°C, but >30% survive at 25°C for one cross). Hence, we will investigate the interaction of temperature, nuclear-cytoplasmic incompatibilities and mitochondrial evolution. This should help us to generally identify and understand the gene regulatory networks that allow the nuclear and mitochondrial encoded genes to interact appropriately.

For further information please visit:

How to apply:
The application should include: (1) a CV, including information about former academic education and degrees, professional experience, publications, fellowships/awards, conference contributions, languages, and further relevant skills and abilities; (2) a cover letter, stating the candidate’s expectation from EvoPAD and motivation to join the project; (3) the candidate’s master’s thesis abstract; and (4) contact details of at least two referees.

The University of Münster is an equal opportunity employer and is committed to increasing the proportion of women academics. Consequently, we actively encourage applications by women. Female candidates with equivalent qualifications and academic achievements will be preferentially considered within the framework of the legal possibilities. We also welcome applications from candidates with severe disabilities. Disabled candidates with equivalent qualifications will be preferentially considered.

Applications should be sent by e-mail as one PDF file (max. 5 MB) to the EvoPAD Coordinator Dr Vanessa Kloke ([email protected]) by 23 March 2018.

Source: PhDGermany - Datenbank: Neue Angebote

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March 12, 2018