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Location
Anywhere
Date Posted
20 Feb 2018

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Type
PhD Project
Università degli Studi di Torino

PhD in Archaeological Science (Palaeoproteomics)

Anywhere
20 Feb 2018

NOTE: this position listing has expired and may no longer be relevant!

Position Description


Applications are sought for a PhD position in “Proteomic approaches for archaeology and cultural heritage” at the University of Turin (Italy). The applicant must have obtained (or will have obtained by 31/10/2017) her/his degree in a non-Italian institution.

Starting date: 01/10/2017

Tutors
The project will be jointly supervised by the University of Turin (Italy) and the University of Burgundy (France).
Supervisor: Dr Beatrice Demarchi (University of Turin), e-mail: beatrice@palaeo.eu
Co-supervisor: Dr Frédéric Marin (University of Burgundy), e-mail: frederic.marin@u-bourgogne.fr

Project background
Biominerals, e.g. bone, antler, shell, eggshell, have been exploited by humans since prehistory. Mollusc shells and eggshell were especially selected by prehistoric people as raw materials due to their exceptional material properties and aesthetic qualities. They are therefore found in archaeological sites across the world.

The material properties of biominerals are directly related to the intimate connection between an organic fraction (mainly proteins) and the mineral skeleton (usually calcium carbonate or phosphate). It has recently been discovered that proteins entrapped in fossil shells can survive for millions of years. This fossil proteome can be extracted and characterised and the information used to establish phylogenetic relationships e.g. between extant and extinct organisms. Additionally, using a “Zooarchaeology by mass spectrometry” (known as “ZooMS”) approach, it is possible to determine the taxon of shells (and other biominerals) that were used as “prestige” raw materials in prehistory but cannot be identified on the basis of morphology alone. This evidence is key for reconstructing long-distance trading and exchange relationships between peoples in prehistory.

This PhD project will devise new protocols for the extraction, purification and characterisation of the proteome from several mollusc shell taxa using LC-MS/MS, complemented by SDS-PAGE, amino acid analysis, and other immunohistochemical techniques. Taxon-specific markers will be determined and used to identify micro-samples of archaeological shells, in collaboration with Museums in Italy, France, Germany, Denmark, UK.

Training
The student will participate fully in the activities of the Doctoral School of Sciences and Innovative Technologies (for more details see here http://dott-snti.campusnet.unito.it/ and here: http://dott-sbba.campusnet.unito.it).

By conducting the research project and collaborating with other researchers at both Institutions, s/he will acquire specific skills in:
-omics technologies and other analytical techniques for the characterisation of biomineralised materials (FT-IR, XRD, eSEM).
a wider range of techniques used in archaeological analysis (amino acid analysis, stable isotopes analysis)
handling precious fossil samples, e.g. from museum collections
bioinformatics for “big data” analysis
multi-disciplinary research, crossing boundaries between the humanities and the sciences – a skill which is increasingly required to access competitive funding.

Required skills
The ideal candidate has excellent analytical skills, which s/he has developed by conducting research at Masters level in Chemistry, Biology or Life Sciences. Applications are welcomed from graduates in Archaeological and Cultural Heritage Sciences.

Essentials
Master’s degree or equivalent in chemical, biological or other life sciences (including cultural heritage and archaeological sciences)
Knowledge of analytical techniques and/or biotechnologies
Experience in conducting research projects
Excellent organisational skills
Ability to work independently and to spend periods abroad training/collecting samples
Good level of English

Desirables
Practical experience in a laboratory environment
Scientific publications
Knowledge of or interest in areas of archaeology and cultural heritage sciences
Experience in managing research or other projects
An understanding of issues surrounding museum collections
Basic level of Italian/French

Salary
€ 13.638,47 / annum (gross), with an increase of € 23 / day for periods spent abroad.

Studying and living in Turin
Turin is a vibrant city, once known only for FIAT and football, now becoming increasingly the destination of choice for people looking for culture, elegant architecture and delicious food. Home to both the University and the Polytechnic, this wonderful European city, halfway between the Alps and the Mediterranean sea, is sure to appeal to students of all ages and nationalities.

http://www.unito.it/come-fare/studying-living-turin

Studying and living in Dijon
The historical city of Dijon is known for being the former capital of the duchy of Burgundy in the Middle-Ages and is now a renowned center of French gastronomy. The city hosts a large university that covers all fields, including sciences – from mathematics to agronomy, human sciences and prehistory – economics and law. It occupies a central position, midway between Paris, Lyon and Strasbourg. Dijon is remarkable for its sweetness of life.

http://en.u-bourgogne.fr/life-on-ub.html


How to Apply

Please send a CV and short motivation letter to beatrice@palaeo.eu by 04/03/2017. Shortlisted candidates will be invited to hold a Skype interview on 10/03/2017. THIS PRE-SELECTION IS NOW CLOSED. HOWEVER, THE OFFICIAL CALL FOR THE 33TH CYCLE OF DOCTORATES AT THE UNIVERSITY OF TURIN IS NOW OFFICIALLY OPEN AND ELIGIBLE CANDIDATES CAN APPLY DIRECTLY ONLINE. DEADLINE 24/03/2017 12noon. INSTRUCTION and ELIGIBILITY RULES CAN BE FOUND HERE: http://en.unito.it/node/1636 THIS POSITION IS LISTED AS A "RESERVED" POSITION ("RITA LEVI MONTALCINI" GRANT) UNDER THE PHD PROGRAMME IN "BIOLOGY AND APPLIED BIOTECHNOLOGIES". For information, please contact beatrice@palaeo.eu

Position Category: Other. Position Type: PhD Project. Position Tags: -omics, archaeology, biochemistry, cultural heritage, palaeo, prehistory, and proteomics. Salary: €10'000 - €20'000.

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