PhD position (Gene Regulation & Evolution): Sex Chromosome Regulation in Malaria (m/f/d)PhD – Individual Supervisor

  • Contract
  • Germany
  • Posted 2 months ago

Insitute of Molecular BiologyInternational PhD Programme


Thinking of doing your PhD in the Life Sciences? The International PhD Programme (IPP) Mainz is offering talented, dynamic scientists the chance to work on cutting edge research projects. As an IPP PhD student, you will join a community of exceptional scientists working on diverse topics ranging from how organisms age or how our DNA is repaired, to how epigenetics regulates cellular identity or neural memory.

Activities and responsibilities

In the field of “Gene Regulation & Evolution”, the research group of Claudia Keller Valsecchi offers the following PhD project:

Diploid organisms contain a maternal and a paternal genome complement. A characteristic feature of a diploid karyotype is that the chromosomes and genes are present in correct proportion with respect to each other, which is referred to as gene dosage. Having two sets of chromosomes provides robustness and allows developmental progression when genetic perturbations occur in heterozygosity. However, a subset of genes are highly dosage sensitive: either an increase or decrease in copy number can reduce fitness and ultimately lead to organismal death.
Sex chromosomes are an interesting exception, as female humans contain two X chromosomes, while males have only one X and one Y chromosome. To account for these differences in copy number, the production of X-linked genes is corrected by dosage compensation. This epigenetic mechanism orchestrated by chromatin-modifying activities and noncoding RNAs ensures a collective finetuning of hundreds of genes on the X chromosome.
Sex differences are highly relevant in mosquitos, as only female mosquitoes feed on blood and are thereby able to transmit infectious diseases. Understanding sex differences and sex chromosomes has major implications for opening up new ways to control e.g. malaria by controlling its vector. However, our current knowledge of the molecular mechanisms regulating sex chromosomes and dosage compensation is utterly limited to only three model organisms (fruit flies, nematodes, and mice). Excitingly, our group has recently discovered the first component of the X chromosome dosage compensation pathway in the malaria mosquito Anopheles gambiae (Kalita et al., in press)..

PhD project: “Characterization of a novel dosage compensation mechanism”

The PhD student will work on the molecular mechanisms underlying this entirely new form of gene dosage control. We will use next-generation sequencing and mass spectrometry to characterize the downstream effectors responsible for this compensatory mechanism. We will then explore the cellular and genomic regulation of these pathways using molecular biology, screening and microscopy approaches.
We are looking for a PhD student with a strong interest in mechanisms of gene regulation, genomics, evolutionary biology and/or biochemistry. Our ideal candidate would like to combine wet lab and computational approaches. If you are a team player and have a high level of motivation and enthusiasm for science, you are the right person for our group.

If you are interested in this project, please select Keller Valsecchi as your group preference in the IPP application platform.

Qualification profile

Are you an ambitious, dynamic scientist looking to push the boundaries of research while interacting with colleagues from multiple disciplines and cultures? Then joining the IPP is your opportunity to give your scientific career a flying start!
All you need is:

  • Master or equivalent
  • Interactive personality & good command of English
  • 2 letters of reference

We offer

  • Exciting, interdisciplinary projects in a lively international environment, with English as our working language
  • Advanced training in scientific techniques and professional skills
  • Access to our state-of-the-art Core Facilities and their technical expertise
  • Fully funded positions with financing until the completion of your thesis
  • A lively community of more than 190 PhD students from 44 different countries

For more details on the projects offered please visit .

The deadline for applications is 8 November 2023. Interviews will take place at IMB in Mainz on 22-24 January.
Starting date: 1 March 2024 – 1 August 2024

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