Research Fellow in Diversification of TCF/LEF genes in chordate evolutionary developmental biology
University of St Andrews, School of Biology/Scottish Oceans Institute
United Kingdom

We are seeking a skilled and experienced researcher with high motivation and ambition, to join the research group of Dr David Ferrier at the University of St Andrews. The aim is to understand the functional innovations in embryonic development at the invertebrate-vertebrate transition, focused on the diversity of TCF/LEF genes that are typically downstream of Wnt signalling. We will be making detailed comparisons of TCF/LEF functionality between vertebrates and closely related invertebrate chordates, in cooperation with an associated appointment in the group of Prof. Stefan Hoppler at the University of Aberdeen. You will lead the experiments focused on the invertebrate chordates (amphioxus and Ciona intestinalis) [Marletaz et al (2018) Nature 564:64-70; Garstang et al (2016) BMC Evol Biol 16:57] as well as the comparative genomics work across multiple species, all of which will integrate closely with the vertebrate experiments conducted by our Aberdeen partner. 

Wnt signalling mediates diverse aspects of embryonic development, stem-cell function and human disease (including various roles in diverse cancers). Canonical Wnt signalling tends to act on its target genes via the TCF/LEF transcription factors. There has been a step change in the diversity of TCF/LEF genes, and isoforms from those genes, at the invertebrate-vertebrate transition. We seek to understand the precise nature and impact of this TCF/LEF step change and its implications for TCF/LEF functions in vertebrates, including humans. The research will involve bioinformatic comparisons of data from a wide range of species, as well as obtaining expression data in invertebrate embryos, and functional genetic and transcriptomic assays in the invertebrate chordate Ciona intestinalis. 

The work will be embedded in the Evolutionary Developmental Genomics group of Dr David Ferrier, at the Scottish Oceans Institute in the University of St Andrews. In addition to the close interactions with the Hoppler group in Aberdeen, the project also involves collaborators in Oxford (UK) and Japan, with extensive opportunities for scientific and intellectual interactions. 
Contact Dr David Ferrier for further details ( or see or PLEASE NOTE that formal applications cannot be made to David, but must be submitted via the University vacancies link below. 

The University is committed to equality for all, demonstrated through our working on diversity awards (ECU Athena SWAN/Race Charters; Carer Positive; LGBT Charter; and Stonewall). More details can be found at

Please quote ref: AR2231MR

Closing Date: 16 August 2019

Further Particulars: AR2231MR FPs.doc

School of Biology/Scottish Oceans Institute
Salary: £33,199 - £36,261 per annum
Fixed Term: 3 years
Start: 1 January 2020 or as soon as possible thereafter

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