We are looking for a highly motivated PhD student interested in the functional consequences of 3D genome evolution. The goal of this project is to understand how changes in 3D genome topology influence gene expression during the evolution of the cortex in primates.
This is a fully funded position for up to 4 years and will involve highly interdisciplinary research combining methods ranging from organoids, CRISPR-Cas9 genome engineering, NGS technologies such as Hi-C, RNAseq and ATACseq, as well as traditional techniques to study neural development (immunohistochemistry and live imaging).
Cortical evolution in mammals is considered to be a key advance that enabled higher cognitive function such as language. Structural variations including indels, inversions and duplications account for 3-4 times more sequence divergence between the chimpanzee and the human genomes than single-base-pair mutations. Recent advances in chromatin biology and our own research suggest that changes in 3D architecture can strongly affect gene expression of regions in close physical proximity and not necessarily on the linear 1D genome.
The goal of this project will be to systematically examine how 3D chromatin organization has changed during primate evolution focusing on the cortex, as well as studying the functional consequences for gene expression.
It will involve state-of-the art technologies such as CRISPR-Cas9 genome engineering, iPSCs cells from various species, cerebral organoids, and NGS techniques such as Hi-C, ATACseq and RNAseq.