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If our research, this website and/or our publications caught your attention and/or raised your interest in our research and you are passionate about hypothesis-driven basic research, then we really would like to hear from you!!

We are always interested in receiving applications from talented students and researchers at the Master, PhD and/or postdoctoral level. Please send a single PDF containing your letter of motivation, CV with publication list, short summary of research experience and interests plus the names and addresses of 3 referees on your behalf to Rolf Zeller and/or Aimee Zuniga by email. We look very much forward to hear from you and will get back to you at our earliest convenience. Thank you for taking your time to consider our research.

PhD Position “Molecular Evolution of Transcriptional Regulation”

A 4-year fully funded PhD position is available from October 1, 2015 or as agreed in the Developmental Genetics group, Department Biomedicine at the University of Basel. The PhD student will join the postgraduate life science programme with excellent trans-faculty teaching and carrier development activities.

One of the main driving forces of molecular evolution are the changes in the cis-regulatory modules (CRMs) that control gene expression. It is now key to understand how such changes caused the rewiring of transcriptional networks and how this relates to the evolution of morphology. One paradigm to study evolutionary diversification is the developing limb skeleton. The basic pentadactylous bauplan of modern vertebrate limbs evolved from fins and was extensively adapted to specialized uses including flying, swimming, digging and many others such as playing the piano.


The proposed PhD project centres around this fascinating question and focuses on analysing how the signaling network controlled by Gremlin1 and Shh, essential for proliferative expansion and patterning of the limb bud mesenchymal progenitors, diversified in modern vertebrates. The functional and genetic analysis will focus on studying how the CRMs in the Grem1 genomic landscape evolved and how this altered the underlying transcriptional networks. State-of-the art mouse molecular genetics will be combined with biochemical analysis of chromatin complexity and function to get insight into the evolutionary changes. This molecular and biochemical Evo-Devo approach is exemplified by our recent articles in Nature and Developmental Cell.

We are seeking a highly motivated student that is eager to tackle this fascinating and competitive project as part of his PhD studies. The successful applicant will join a dynamic and international research team and enjoy cutting edge life science research in a highly collaborative environment. Please note that only applicants that have completed their undergraduate studies and/or Master thesis at a Swiss or EU research institution will be considered. A PDF application with a motivation letter, CV incl. all grades and the contact information for 2-3 referees should be sent ASAP to Prof. Rolf Zeller.