Bayern, Germany
Date Posted
19 Dec 2024

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PhD Project
International Max Planck Research School for Organismal Biology

PhD position on Evolutionary Genetics of the Embryo Mortality Puzzle in the Zebra Finch

Bayern, Germany
19 Dec 2024

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

Position Description

The International Max Planck Research School (IMPRS) for Organismal Biology offers several fully-funded PhD positions. The IMPRS is based in southern Germany and is jointly organized by the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Seewiesen and Radolfzell and the University of Konstanz. Outstanding students of all nationalities with a deep commitment to basic research in Organismal Biology are invited to apply.
All students accepted to the program will be supported by stipends or contracts. The program offers a dedicated teaching program, high quality research experience, and outstanding research facilities in an inspiring research and living environment. The working language is English. Each PhD student receives individual supervision and mentoring and is guided in her/his research work by a PhD advisory committee.

Project abstract: It is one of the most fundamental puzzles in evolutionary biology why many animal species show high rates of reproductive failure despite the fact that natural selection should be acting against this in every single generation. For instance, in humans, it is estimated that two out of three fertilized eggs die before birth, and it is still not understood why such a wasteful system has evolved. The case of the zebra finch also represents such a puzzle, because we see high rates of embryo mortality that cannot be attributed to trivial phenomena like environmental effects or inbreeding. The project will combine the use of various genomic tools and QTL mapping with setting up specific experimental crosses to identify and characterize the genetic factors that lead to embryo mortality. In particular, we will attempt to understand better the evolution of incompatibility-causing loci and of selfish genetic elements.
Main advisor Wolfgang Forstmeier, MPIO Seewiesen

Applicants should hold a MSc or equivalent degree in biology or a related discipline at the point of enrollment.

How to Apply

To apply for this position, it is strongly recommended to do this via the webpage of the International Max Planck Research School for Organismal Biology ( Deadline of application is January 15th, 2015. Interviews with the applicants are scheduled for Mid-March. Alternatively, you can send your application as a single file to our secretary Carmen Dobus ( Here, the deadline is the same, but late applications may potentially be considered. This file should include a concise statement of research interests and work experiences relevant to the project, curriculum vitae and contact details for 2-3 academic references. In case of such direct application, we would expect the successful candidate to apply for becoming an IMPRS student in the following year.