Opportunities

Postdoctoral position in evolutionary genomics – the role of the mitochondrial DNA in evolutionary adaptation

The Opportunity

Research in Damian Dowling's laboratory is focused on the role the mitochondrial genome plays in evolutionary adaptation and in the evolution of sex differences. Maternal inheritance of the mitochondrial genome renders the mitochondrial DNA vulnerable to the accumulation of mutations that are harmful to males, but neutral or beneficial to females.

We seek a talented and highly-motivated postdoctoral researcher to join our laboratory group, to study the contribution that mitochondrial genetic variation makes to mediating sex-specific trajectories of life-history evolution. The project will integrate experimental techniques in evolutionary ecology, genomics and evolutionary physiology.

As the successful candidate, you will have a PhD degree, a record of publication in international journals, and strong quantitative or bioinformatic skills. You will have opportunities to develop and pursue your own research interests within the bounds of the advertised project, and to co-supervise undergraduate and Master's level research projects within the Dowling group.

The position is a full-time, fixed-term appointment available for 24 months. Flexible working arrangements may be negotiated.

The job description, complete with the position description, and instructions on how to apply, can be found here .

Please direct enquiries to Dr Damian Dowling –

damian.dowling@monash.edu

The closing date for applications is Wednesday 18th January 2017, 11:55 pm AEDT.

Information about Damian Dowling’s lab is available at:

Lab Page

Google Scholar

Five publications from our lab that are relevant to this position:

1. Innocenti P, Morrow EH, Dowling DK (2011) Experimental support for a sex-specific selective sieve in mitochondrial genome evolution. Science 332, 845-848.

2. Reinhardt K, Dowling DK, Morrow EH (2013) Mitochondrial replacement, evolution, and the clinic. Science 341, 1345-1346. [DP1092897]

3. Camus MF, Wolf, JBW, Morrow EH, Dowling DK (2015) Single nucleotides in the mtDNA sequence modify mitochondrial molecular function and are associated with sex-specific effects on fertility and aging. Current Biology 25, 2717-2722.

4. Camus MF, Clancy DJ, Dowling DK ¬(2012) Mitochondria, maternal inheritance and male aging. Current Biology 22, 1717-1721.

5. Yee WKW, Sutton KL, Dowling DK (2013) In vivo male fertility is affected by naturally occurring mitochondrial haplotypes. Current Biology 23, R55-R56.

Information about Monash University

Currently ranked 74th in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, Monash University is a member of Australia's Group of Eight a coalition of research-intensive universities, and is internationally recognized for excellence in research and teaching. The School of Biological Sciences is home to a collegial and world class research environment, with key strengths in evolutionary ecology and genomics.

Melbourne

Monash is located in Melbourne, a vibrant cultural and recreational centre, and is consistently rated one of the world's most liveable cities.

PhD Opportunity 1

PhD in mito-nuclear ecology

A fully-funded position (salary and research costs) is available in the research group of Dr Damian Dowling to investigate evolutionary adaptation within the mitochondrial genome and the consequences for the evolution of life-histories.

"Mito-nuclear ecology" is a rapidly emerging field, which has grown from the realization that the genes inside of our energy-producing mitochondria, may make surprisingly large contributions to the evolutionary dynamics of populations.

The project will integrate techniques and experimental designs drawn from evolutionary biology, ecology, genomics and physiology. The project will be conducted using genetic strains of fruit flies, in which different mtDNA haplotypes have been placed alongside controlled nuclear genomic backgrounds. These strains provide a perfect tool to explore the effects of the mitochondrial genotype on fundamental evolutionary processes - such as adaptation to changing climates, the evolution of ageing, and speciation.

Furthermore, because the mitochondrial genome is maternally inherited (males do not pass their mtDNA onto their offspring), natural selection will be ineffective at eliminating male-harming mutations from the mtDNA sequence when these mutations are benign or beneficial in females. Therefore, mitochondrial genomes are predicted to accumulate "male-harming but female-friendly" variation, and thus contribute to evolutionary conflict between the sexes, and the evolution of sex differences.

There will be full flexibility for the successful applicant to pursue their own academic ideas and interests within the scope of the project.

Successful applicants will be highly motivated and passionate about evolutionary biology; familiar with basic evolutionary concepts, have strong quantitative skills and basic molecular skills.

The applicant will join a vibrant research group comprised of PhD students and postdoctoral researchers, perfect for the pursuit of academic excellence and professional development, with access to state-of-the-art technology platforms for the study of evolutionary ecology and genomics.

The positions include funding for international and national conference visits, and for all research costs. The successful applicant will be awarded a scholarship that covers salary (current rate is $26,288 tax-free per year), and full waiver of fees, and can choose to supplement their salary through teaching assistance during undergraduate lab courses run by Dowling and colleagues.

Monash and the School of Biological Sciences

Monash University is a member of Australia's "Group of Eight" - a coalition of research-intensive universities, and is internationally recognized for excellence in research and teaching. The School of Biological Sciences is home to a collegial and world class research environment, with key strengths in evolutionary ecology and genomics.

Melbourne, Australia

Monash is located in Melbourne, a vibrant cultural and recreational centre, and is consistently rated one of the world's most liveable cities.

Application process

Interested candidates should send their CV, academic transcript, and a cover letter outlining their research interests to damian.dowling@monash.edu

For further information on these scholarships and Monash application procedures.

For further information on the research group of Damian Dowling.

Review of applications will commence immediately.

Interested applicants should contact Damian Dowling to discuss ideas and funding opportunities.

The Australian Research Council scheme funds a dedicated and lucrative postdoctoral scheme for applicants within five years of conferring their PhD (http://www.arc.gov.au/ncgp/decra/instructions.htm).

There are also many international schemes that will fund postdoctoral work in Australia.

The PhD degree at Monash University is a three year research intensive course, during which time the students will engage and lead cutting edge research projects that are published in international journals, and contribute to their research thesis.

PhD students are supported by scholarships that all cover living expenses, and scholarships that waive tuition fees. These scholarships are competitive, with intake twice per year (applications close 31 May, 31 October).

Interested applicants should contact Damian Dowling, with brief description of their research interests, CV, and copy of their undergraduate academic transcript.

The School of Biological Sciences will offer ‘top-up’ scholarships of >$5000 to the most outstanding applicants. For furher information on the PhD program at Monash, see: http://www.monash.edu.au/migr/

I generally take on one to two students per year to work on 10 month research projects as part of the Monash undergraduate Honours program.

Students wishing to take this one year long research program should contact me in the first instance, and read about our program at http://monash.edu/science/about/schools/biological-sciences/honours/


team member

team member