Great postdoc position with Frank Chan (Max Planck Institute, Tubingen)

Friedrich Miescher Laboratory, Max Planck Campus, Tübingen, Germany
A postdoctoral researcher position is available in the Chan Lab to work on a unique genomics dataset in mice, with the aim of understanding the molecular basis of phenotypic variation and response to selection in a population genetics and quantitative genetics framework.

We’re looking for a postdoc skilled in population and/or statistical genomics to take on the analysis of a replicated artificial selection experiment in mice. In order to study major morphological changes in a model organism, our collaborator, Dr. Campbell ROLIAN (Univ. of Calgary, Canada), has performed artificial selection for increased tibia length in mice (2 “Longshanks” selection lines & 1 control line, >6000 total individuals; see Marchini et al., 2014). Over 21 generations, the Longshanks selection experiment has produced 15-20% increase in tibia length but unchanged body mass relative to random-bred controls.

Having retained nearly all individuals from the entire selection experiment, we are now nearly finished with complete re-sequencing of all available breeders (~1800 individuals) in both Longshanks and control lines, with the ultimate goal of re-tracing the entire selection experiment in every individual, at every locus, in the entire genome.

You will work with the complete dataset in close coordination with Prof. Nick BARTON (IST Austria) and his team to link theory with empirical genomic data. Candidates must have a strong background in bioinformatics, including experience with genomic data analysis and strong quantitative and programming skills. Further background in population genetics and modelling will be an advantage. The postdoc will work closely with Prof. BARTON’s group, therefore she or he must show independence and ability to drive her/his own research project. You will enjoy excellent computational and sequencing support, as well as the opportunity to design and conduct functional tests in mice together with our wet-bench team members.
Our on-going work has found many loci showing very strong response to selection, with a substantial fraction of parallel response. Further dissection of top loci has identified specific mutations in limb enhancers. Our functional test in mice showed that these mutations modulate enhancer activity in a way consistent with increased tibia length.
Together with the ROLIAN and BARTON groups, we will study the selection response from multiple angles, ranging from trait mapping, population genomics, theory to developmental genetics. The Longshanks selection experiment combines quantitative, developmental and population genetics and offers a unique opportunity to study how the genome responds to strong selection in a model paradigm.
The Max Planck Campus in Tübingen, Germany is one of the leading campuses in evolutionary genomics research. The Chan Lab enjoys generous funding support by the Max Planck Society as well as the European Research Council (ERC). Our campus hosts world-class research groups, including a Nobel laureate and multiple ERC-funded teams (groups active in evolutionary genomics include Felicity Jones, Detlef Weigel, Ralf Sommer and Ruth Ley). We operate state-of-the-art sequencing (Illumina, PacBio and others) and other core facilities. All seminars and communications are in English.
For informal enquiries and applications (cover letter, CV, and two reference contacts), please e-mail Consideration of applications will begin on 14 May, 2017, with a target start date of Sept 2017. The actual start is flexible.

[1] Marchini M., Sparrow, L.M., … Rolian C., BMC Evolutionary Biology 2014 14:258, doi: 10.1186/s12862-014-0258-0

[2] Cosman M.N., Sparrow, L.M., Rolian, C., Journal of Anatomy, 2016 228:6, doi: 10.1111/joa.12459


Frank Chan
Max Planck Research Group Leader
Friedrich Miescher Laboratory of the Max Planck Society
Spemannstrasse 39
72076 Tübingen

T: +49 (0)7071 601 888
F: +49 (0)7071 601 801

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