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PhD Position: Invasion Dynamics of Selfish DNA

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Life is a struggle for survival where parasites prey on their hosts and hosts combat their parasites. Surprising to many, this battle also rages in our genomes. Parasitic DNA spreads in our genomes, even if this is harming our health. These parasitic sequences, also called transposable elements (TEs) have been remarkably successful, constituting more than 50% of our genomes.

TEs are closely related to viruses and frequently invade novel species, where they multiply while hosts struggle to suppress them. Eventually, most hosts succeed in downregulating the activity of the invading TE. It is however unclear how the host defense is established and what factors influence the silencing of TEs. To shed light on these important open questions we will investigate the invasions of several TE families in experimental Drosophila populations using cutting-edge technologies such as small RNA sequencing, RNA-Seq, and long-read sequencing (Oxford Nanopore). 

This project will allow the student to work on an exciting topic with a young and international team, get in contact with cutting-edge technologies and receive first-rate training in bioinformatics. The project will involve 70% lab work and 30% computer work. Wet-lab experience (e.g. molecular cloning, PCR) and some programming skills (e.g. R, bash, Python) will be beneficial.

The salary is internationally competitive (14 times 2.237Euro before tax) and the position is located in the wonderful city of Vienna, which was for the tenth time elected as the most liveable city in the world.

Please apply by 3. Feb. 2022

Send your application (motivation letter, CV, two references) to Dr. Robert Kofler [email protected]

Web pages:

– https://www.kofler.or.at/bioinformatic/

– https://www.vetmeduni.ac.at/populationsgenetik/forschung/gruppe-kofler

Some literature

– https://genome.cshlp.org/content/early/2018/04/30/gr.228627.117

– https://academic.oup.com/mbe/article/36/7/1457/5435964

– https://academic.oup.com/mbe/article/38/4/1482/6008717

– https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/mec.16311


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