Postdoctoral fellowship in the evolution of multicellularity

Thompson lab

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The Thompson lab at University College London is looking for a postdoctoral researcher to study the evolution of multicellularity:

The Thompson lab, based at University College London, is seeking a Research Fellow to work on understanding how gene network heterogeneity affects the evolution of multicellular development.

Recently, we found that cell-cell variation in cell cycle position facilitates symmetry breaking during development, as it primes cells to respond to different differentiation cues (Gruenheit et al, Developmental Cell, 2018).

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Ph.D. position on evolution of multicellularity

Go to Sweden. Learn about multicellularity. Taste dank saké.

Eric Libby is looking for a Ph.D. student to model the evolution of multicellularity at Umeå University in Sweden. Here’s the project description:

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Postdoc opportunity studying Volvox!

If I were a graduate student nearing graduation, I would apply for this: an NSF-funded postdoc opportunity in the Umen lab at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in St. Louis.

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A further comment on “Don’t ask for letters of recommendation up front”

I recently argued that asking for letters of reference to be submitted with applications for tenure-track positions devalues the time of highly productive scientists:

Letters of recommendation should be requested by the committee, and they should be requested after the first cut.

A senior researcher who’s a friend and colleague recently told me that for the last few years, she has simply not applied for any position that asked for letters of reference up front. It’s not hard to understand why. After a while, you start to feel that you’re imposing on your references (in reality, it’s the search committees who are imposing). In my case, I’ve submitted well over a hundred such applications, which means that each of my three references has supplied over a hundred letters (and thank you for that).

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Don’t ask for letters of recommendation up front

I’ve been sitting on this for a while, not wanting to piss off hiring committees who might evaluate my own applications. I have applied for over a hundred tenure-track faculty positions, and I’ve had over a dozen in-person interviews. One of the things that has always struck me is the incredible degree to which the time of anyone not on the hiring committee is devalued. This is true of the applicants’ time, but today I’m mainly talking about the time of their references.

It’s typical to request three letters of recommendation with an application, but some departments will request four or (rarely) five. In most cases, the application is considered incomplete and will not be considered until all of the letters are submitted. If one of your references has a hard time with deadlines, tough.

In most cases, your references will be fairly senior scientists, Associate Professor or above. It would be nearly impossible, for example, for your Ph.D. advisor to be an Assistant Professor, since that position typically lasts about as long as a Ph.D. In my case, all three of my references were full Professors, one a department head. In nearly every case, all three references will be highly productive scientists. Their time is valuable, not just in terms of salary but in terms of advancing science. Requiring letters of recommendation up front wastes it.

Letters of recommendation should be requested by the committee, and they should be requested after the first cut.

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Chlamy postdoc at NASA Ames


Oana Marcu — you might remember her from the First Volvox Meeting — is looking for a postdoc to do research on Chlamydomonas at NASA Ames Research Center:

This position is for a postdoctoral fellow with experience in Chlamydomonas. The project is part of a larger DOE collaboration focused on approaches to improve biomass and lipid production in microalgae. The work will take place at the NASA Ames Research Center in California and is centered on the molecular and biochemical aspects at the core of the project.

Qualifications: strong experience with Chlamydomonas growth, mutants, biochemistry/molecular biology assays and bioinformatics experience in genomics/transcriptomics. Experience with ICP-MS is desirable. The candidate should be able to pursue independent research while interacting with a large team of scientists of various expertise. The laboratory is at NASA Ames, with local collaborations at Stanford U. and Lawrence Livermore National Labs.

Instructions for applicants are here.