PhD student advertisement

A PhD position is available in the laboratory of Néva Meyer at Clark University in Worcester, MA USA beginning late August 2019 as follows:

Spiralians are a great group of animals to study evolution of body plans in part because many spiralian taxa develop via a stereotypic and likely ancestral cleavage program. Ultimately, this cleavage program results in formation of highly diverse body plans with diverse arrangements of nervous systems, e.g. compare annelids and gastropod mollusks. Research in Dr. Meyer’s lab is currently focused on understanding how the central nervous system develops in annelids with the goal of gaining a better understanding of how nervous systems evolved. The research community that studies evolution and development of spiralians is rapidly growing and is very welcoming and collaborative.

The successful applicant will develop a project focused on molecular control of neural fate specification in the annelid Capitella teleta, but this can be expanded to include other spiralians and different avenues of research depending on the applicant’s interests and goals. Possible avenues of research include analysis of fate specification via blastomere isolation, genetic manipulation, and transcriptomic profiling. We have a lab colony of Capitella teleta, and techniques used in the lab include microinjection of embryos, qRT-PCR, immunohistochemistry, imaging of live and fixed tissue, quantification of phenotypes using ImageJ, and gene knockdown and misexpression by injection of morpholinos and mRNA. We are also currently developing CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing and single-cell RNA sequencing in C. teleta. There will be multiple opportunities for career development, including mentoring undergraduate and accelerated M.S. students in the lab, participating as a guest lecturer in courses taught by the PI, and attending national workshops such as the Embryology course at the Marine Biological Laboratories.

The successful applicant will enter Clark University’s Biology PhD program with an anticipated start date in late August. Previous experience in molecular biology and working with marine larvae and/or bioinformatics is desirable. Additionally, the Meyer lab is interested in creative, engaged applicants who can contribute to diversity of the academic community, for example via outreach or mentoring students from historically underrepresented communities. The successful applicant will be guaranteed funding for five years through a combination of research assistantships and teaching assistantships; two years of research assistantship for this position are currently available.

Clark University is a small but active and highly-respected research university located in Worcester, MA. Worcester has a good combination of urban and outdoor activities and is in close proximity to a variety of New England destinations.

Please email a cover letter explaining your interest in the position and qualifications and a CV to nmeyer@clarku.edu.