[Arabidopsis] Postdoc position at JIC

Lars Ostergaard (JIC) Lars.Ostergaard at bbsrc.ac.uk
Tue May 30 05:10:30 EST 2006

Dear Arab-Gen members
A three-year postdoc training fellowship is available at the John Innes Centre, Norwich, UK


Title: Comparative tissue development in Arabidopsis and Brassica

in the laboratory of Lars Østergaard


Description of the project

            One of the biggest enigmas in developmental biology is how specific tissues form. What are the molecular cues that dictate groups of cells to adopt particular morphologies and functions? The Arabidopsis fruit provides a unique system to study tissue specification since it is divided into discrete parts identified as the valves, the replum and the valve margins. Upon maturation, the valves detach from the replum at the valve margin to allow seed dispersal by a mechanism called pod shatter. 

            This project is focused on the developmental and molecular mechanisms underlying replum formation in the two closely related genera, Arabidopsis and Brassica. 

            Downstream targets of a key regulator of Arabidopsis replum development called REPLUMLESS (RPL) will be identified. The RPL gene encodes a transcription factor and the cis-elements bound by RPL will be determined using a combination of ChIP (Chromatin Immuno Precipitation), SELEX (systematic evolution of ligands by exponential enrichment) and microarray techniques. This information will be used in a comparative genetics approach to explore whether differences in cis-regulatory sequences of potential target genes in Arabidopsis and Brassica can explain the dramatic difference in replum morphology between the two. Ultimately the knowledge acquired on how the replum controls pod shatter will be used to screen a Brassica TILLING population which is currently being generated in the Østergaard lab.

            Brassica species are ideal for model-to-crop approaches as they include important crop plants such as oilseed rape. Brassica plants also disperse their seeds by pod shatter. Although this mechanism is an advantage in nature, unsynchronised pod shatter constitutes one of the biggest problems for oilseed rape farmers. The present project will develop distinct strategies for controlling pod shatter in Brassica and promote crop improvement.


Background literature

Dinneny JR et al (2005) Development 132, 4687-4696

Ferrándiz C et al (2000) Science 289, 436-438

Liljegren SJ et al (2000) Nature 404, 766-770

Liljegren SJ et al (2004) Cell 116, 843-853

Østergaard L et al (2006) Plant Biotech J 4, 45-51

Roeder AHK et al (2003) Curr Biol 13, 1630-1635



Essentials: Candidates must be within 3-years of completing the PhD with basic knowledge of plant genetics and molecular biology (cloning, PCR, blotting techniques etc.) as well as skills in histological and microscopical techniques. In addition, competence in the use of standard bioinformatics tools for genome mining, protein function predictions, and other data mining issues is required.

            The candidate must be able to design experiments, work independently and have a strong drive for solving biological questions. In addition, the candidate is expected to take responsibility for short-term management of undergraduate- and PhD-students and to collaborate with a network of other researchers in the group and in other labs.

            The successful candidate will receive additional professional development training as well as on-the-job training and mentoring as part of the BBSRC post-doctoral training and career development scheme, with a list of attainment targets leading to a Certificate of Postdoctoral Training after 3 years at JIC.

            Salary on appointment will be within the range of £23,022 to £26,541 per annum depending on qualifications and experience. JIC offers a choice of final salary and stakeholder pensions.



If interested please visit http://www.jic.ac.uk/corporate/opportunities/vacancies/index.htm to download an application form and further details. Please quote post reference number 15 74 on all correspondence. 


or contact Lars Østergaard,   e-mail: lars.ostergaard at bbsrc.ac.uk,    Tel: +44 1603 450572

Deadline for application is 23rd June, 2006

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