The group of Dr. Katja Nowick currently has an open position for a PhD student to work on a project on the evolution of long non-coding RNAs in primates. Ideally this would be a bioinformatician with a strong interest in evolution and neurobiology. The project is a joint project by Prof. Dr, Peter F Stadler and Dr. Nowick and the student will be supervised by both.
Long Non-Coding RNAs in Primate Brain Evolution
Long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) are emerging as key players in the nervous system. Many of the about 15.000 human lncRNAs are expressed in the brain and multiple lines of evidence have linked them to important brain functions, such as neurogenesis and behavior, or have associated them with neurodegenerative and psychiatric diseases. Although several databases for lncRNAs exist, there is still a large gap in the structural and functional annotation of lncRNAs hindering a full understanding of their role in the nervous system. Many characteristics of the brain are human specific. Genes that evolve quickly, as lncRNAs do, are therefore the best candidates to be primarily responsible for the evolution of these innovations.
Since biological function has to be studied in the light of evolution, we aim here at establishing a full catalog of human lncRNAs, including an annotation of their sequence, structure, expression, and evolutionary changes by collating and coherently re-analyzing the wealth of already available high throughout data. We will experimentally determine target genes for one selected lncRNA and for the other lncRNA genes provide insights into their function and involvement in gene regulatory networks using computational methods. We also plan to develop a custom brain-lncRNA chip to set the stage for thorough functional characterization of lncRNAs in the brain.
Interested: Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org