Biology

Postdoc position studying Neural Evolution and Development



We are seeking outstanding postdoctoral candidates to join the Perry lab at the University of California, San Diego. Our group uses genetic and genomic approaches to study the development and evolution of neural systems. We use the insect visual system as a model to understand how the genome encodes the complexity of the brain and nervous system. We are interested in the mechanisms that generate the exquisite diversity of ways in which animals perceive and interact with the world.

We are specifically seeking independent, passionate, and highly motivated applicants for a postdoctoral position to study the evolution of novel neural types. We identified a range of examples of where novel types of neurons have appeared in the visual systems of different insect species (see Perry, Konstantinides et al. 2017 Annual Reviews Genetics) and are interested in 1) the genetic changes that produce a new type of cell and 2) how novel neurons plug in to existing circuitry in a way that is useful for the animal. In a potential initial project, the successful candidate would focus on a fly visual system innovation known as the “Love Spot”. The Love Spot (LS) is a male specific modification of the dorsal-frontal eye found in over fifteen families of Diptera. It provides high sensitivity for the detection and pursuit of conspecific females. More information can be found in Perry and Desplan 2016 Current Biology “Love Spots”. The successful candidate will dissect cell-type specific gene regulatory networks that work together to produce this sexually dimorphic complex feature using the house fly Musca domestica as a model.

Bonus points if you can identify this bug and whether it has a love spot.

A Ph.D. in the biological sciences with at least three years of laboratory research experience in molecular or developmental biology is required. Experience with Drosophila or other genetic model systems is preferred but not required. scSeq experience (e.g. 10x Genomics) is desirable. This is a renewable two-year position with full benefits, which will be extended as needed upon performance of the candidate. Salary will be competitive and dependent on the level of experience of the candidate. Applicants should email a CV and a description of research interests to Prof. Perry (mwperry@ucsd.edu), along with contact information for three references. Applications submitted by February 15th, 2020 will receive priority consideration, but the position will remain open until filled. Start date is flexible.

It is an incredibly exciting time to be a developmental biologist as new tools such as CRISPR and single cell sequencing allow us to move beyond model systems in order to ask targeted questions about the mechanisms that adapt animals to their unique environments. Apply and join the adventure! 

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