About the team/jobThe Furlong lab, at EMBL Heidelberg, has a funded post-doctoral position to use natural sequence variation as a perturbation tool to functionally link enhancers to their target genes, and uncover new mechanisms in genome regulation. In our two recent expression QTL (eQTL) studies [1,2], we demonstrated the power of Drosophila population genetics to get to causal variants: the very short blocks of linkage disequilibrium (LD) provides near base-pair resolution to get to causal effects. These studies provide a proof-of-principle to scale up and perform a comprehensive large-scale cis and trans embryonic eQTL study, in a genetically tractable system. Expanding to more genotypes will include rare variants, and also dramatically increase statistical power to analyze trans effects. Given the extensive prior knowledge about gene regulatory networks durng Drosophila embryogenesis, this is a perfect test system for a large scale trans analysis. The results should provide new insights into how the effect of genetic variation propagates through a developmental network, while in other cases is buffered. The project is at the interface of population genetics, genome regulation and developmental biology, and is a collaboration between the groups of Oliver Stegle (computational modelling) and Trudy MacKay. EMBL is a very international, interdisciplinary institute with a very open, collaborative and vibrant culture. Working language is English. See http://furlonglab.embl.de/ for more info about the lab. 1. Cannavo, E. et al. Genetic variants regulating expression levels and isoform diversity during embryogenesis. Nature 541, 402-406 (2017). 2. Schor, I.E. et al. Promoter shape varies across populations and affects promoter evolution and expression noise. Nat Genet 49, 550-558 (2017).
Your roleYour role is to lead and drive this exciting project. Initially this will involve the sample collection, in collaboration with the MacKay lab, and then the sequencing at EMBL, with the help of our Genomics Core facility. You would then work in collaboration with the Stegle group to perform the QTL analysis using new computational models. In the second phase of the project, you would perform cutting edge genome engineering (or collaborate with someone in the Furlong group) to experimentally test model predictions.
You haveYou should have an excellent track record from your Ph.D., with strong expertise in population genetics. You need to be very organised, and be able to lead and drive big ambitious projects, while at the same time being very collaborative and open.
Why join usThe Furlong group is a mixture of experimental and computational biologists at the interface of Transcription/Chromatin Biology and Developmental Biology. We have a great working atmosphere with lots of collaborations and friends within the group. The Furlong lab also has an excellent track record for post-docs within the lab obtaining faculty positions (>70% - see the Alumni on the lab’s web site). EMBL is a unique place with a very friendly, collaborative, open door policy. The excellent colleagues and core facilities make your research interesting, productive and fun. We also have an excellent day care on campus.
What else do I need to knowFor more information on research in the Furlong lab, check out our web page and recent publications. Heidelberg is a lovely international town, located in a central position to explore Europe. 45 minutes from a major international airport (Frankfurt) – 1.5 hr flight to London or Paris