We are looking for a postdoc interested in studying neural development in tunicates, the sister group to the vertebrates. The larval nervous system of the tunicate Ciona has only 177 neurons and its entire "connectome" has been recently mapped (Ryan et al., eLife 2016). The Ciona genome is also highly compact and easily manipulated using CRISPR/Cas9 (Stolfi et al., Development 2014). This tractability offers an unprecedented opportunity to understand gene networks underlying the development of every single neuron in a chordate nervous system.
We have several potential projects centered on understanding the link between transcriptional regulation and cell behavior during the development of the Ciona nervous system. Specific cells of interest include homologs of vertebrate spinal cord neurons (Stolfi et al., Development 2011) and neural crest-derived sensory neurons (Stolfi et al., Nature 2015). Projects will involve isolating neural progenitors from transgenic Ciona embryos, profiling their transcriptome and chromatin states using next-generation sequencing, and targeting candidate regulators and effectors using CRISPR/Cas9.
Our lab (http://www.tunicates.org) is located at the Georgia Institute of Technology (http://www.gatech.edu) in Atlanta, USA. Georgia Tech offers first-rate research facilities and a highly collaborative research environment with traditional strengths in engineering, computing, and math. We are dedicated to promoting equity of under-represented minorities in academia.
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