[Taxacom] PhD position available Plant Evolutionary Biology

Gerald M. Schneeweiss gerald.schneeweiss at univie.ac.at
Wed Dec 20 03:30:14 CST 2006

PhD position (plastid genome evolution in non-photosynthetic parasitic plants)

A full-time Ph.D. position (three years) is 
available immediately in the Department of 
Biogeography at the Faculty Centre of Botany of 
the University of Vienna, Austria. Salary in this position is € 31000 per year.
The successful applicant will work on a doctoral 
thesis in the University of Vienna in the context 
of research funded by the Austrian Science 
Foundation. This project deals with the evolution 
of the plastid genome in a group of genera of 
holoparasitic plants in the Orobanchaceae 
(Orobanche and related genera, among those 
Epifagus, whose plastid genome has already been 
sequenced), which shows extensive reductions and 
changes often, but not exclusively, affecting 
genes involved in photosynthesis and 
chlororespiration. Specifically, the following 
aspects will be analyzed: (i) co-linearity and 
structural rearrangements; (ii) potential 
functionality of genes involved in 
photosynthesis; (iii) pseudogenization and gene 
loss; (iv) accelerated rate of evolution; (v) 
heteroplasmy and horizontal gene transfer. To 
this end, the plastid genomes of 10 species will 
be fully sequenced using two complementary 
approaches: (i) genome fosmid libraries (species 
with small genome size); (ii) long-range PCR 
(species with large genome size and species 
involved in horizontal gene transfer). Data 
analysis will focus on aspects of molecular 
evolution (e.g., evolution of genes after loss of 
selective constraints), but extension towards 
phylogenetic and other aspects is anticipated. 
Parts of this work will be done in collaboration 
with Claude dePamphilis (PennState University, USA).
Funds are available for all bench costs, 
equipment and reagents for the three years of the 
thesis duration. The student should be familiar 
with advanced molecular techniques (cloning, 
Southern blotting, long-range PCR). Academic 
training will be through seminars and 
graduate-level courses in the Faculty Centre of 
Botany and within the University of Vienna. Good 
English skills are necessary (knowledge of German 
is not essential, but obviously helpful for 
living in Vienna). A Master's degree, preferably 
in plant molecular and evolutionary biology, is 
required. Please send electronically a letter of 
application, CV, university transcripts (personal 
copies acceptable), and two letters of 
recommendation (these can also be faxed: 
43-1-4277-9541) to: 
gerald.schneeweiss at univie.ac.at. Evaluation of 
applicants will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled.

More information about the Taxacom mailing list