The priapulids are a small but evolutionarily significant group of marine worms that are related to both of the important model organisms Drosophila melanogaster and Caenorhabditis elegans: in addition, stem-group priapulids were dominant components of the early marine ecosystems of the Cambrian. Because of their important phylogenetic position close to the base of the Ecdysozoa (arthropods plus cycloneuralians), these poorly-studied organisms have been selected for genome sequencing, which is expected to be completed shortly. However, many aspects of their basic developmental biology are unknown. The successful candidate will continue to characterise the molecular and morphological development biology of the priapulids, building on previous work in our group. The work will include a newly-established in situ hybridization protocol as well as a variety of histological and staining techniques. The project will be jointly supervised by Prof. Graham E. Budd and Dr. Ralf Janssen in Uppsala and Dr. A. Hejnol in the Sars Institute, Bergen, Norway.
The applicant should have a university degree with a background in developmental biology and organismal evolutionary biology, preferably with an interest in broader palaeobiological and/or evolutionary topics. Applicants with skills in microscopy, molecular developmental techniques, image analysis and embryo culture and collection are especially welcomed. The applicant is expected to have a good knowledge (spoken and written) of the English language. The holder of a PhD-student position shall primarily devote her/his time to their own research and study. Other departmental work, such as educational or administrative duties can be part of the position up to 20% of a full-time position. The Ph.D. position is for four years where financing for the first year will be a postgraduate study grant (utbildningsbidrag) and during the following three years as an employee of the university as a Ph.D student (doktorandtjänst).