Research Associate in Biology

University of Cambridge

United Kingdom

A research position supervised by Prof Beverley Glover is recruiting now starting no later than 1st June 2021. The aim of this project is to understand the development of a complex three-dimensional structure formed across multiple fused organs. The Gorteria diffusa petal spot is composed of multiple specialised cell types, which must differentiate in the correct positions with respect to one another and with those relative positions integrated across the ligule, a structure formed of multiple fused petals. The petal spot plays an important role in pollination, acting as a sexually deceptive mimic that attracts mate-seeking male flies. Integration of all its traits is essential to its function, as is its positioning on a subset of ray florets, and both require exquisite coordination.

This project will provide insight into how development of complex structures is coordinated within and across organs, generating testable hypotheses that can be applied to other complex developmental problems. Specific workpackages will involve analysis of petal spot positioning within the phyllotactic context of the capitulum (image analysis); analysis of gene and miRNA expression in developing capitula (RNAseq, small RNAseq, qRT-PCR, in situ hybridisation, laser capture microdissection); misregulation of candidate genes during petal spot development (construct building, plant transformation and genotyping/phenotyping); and analysis of the developmental consequences of perturbing capitulum and floret development (laser ablation, hormone treatments).

The PDRA will supervise a technician whose role will be to optimise the Gorteria diffusa transformation protocol and to generate transgenic plants for the project. You should have a PhD in a relevant subject. You must have sufficient transformation and tissue culture expertise to support the technician in testing revised protocols. The PDRA must also have extensive microscopy experience, and experience of some (or ideally all) of in situ hybridisation, laser ablation, and laser capture microdissection is essential. General molecular biology skills (cloning, construct building, qRTPCR) are desirable, along with experience of analysing RNAseq data.

Fixed-term: The funds for this post are available for 3 years in the first instance.

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