Are you a versatile modeller who likes to address deep fundamental questions in biology and think about them from multiple perspectives? Are you keen to strengthen your models through interaction with expert biologists and enjoy communicating theoretical concepts in a non-technical way? Then this could be the inspiring position you are looking for!
Left/right symmetry breaking is a very fundamental issue in the early development of multicellular organisms. In most cases, the early events of left/right specification are not experimentally accessible, because any failure will be lethal - imagine, for example, having two hearts, or none. In mirror-image flowers, however, the process is exceptionally accessible.
In this project, you will combine multiple computational and theoretical models of plant cytoskeleton, cell wall and tissues, to address two fundamental questions:
- How can apparently non-chiral changes in the dynamics of the plant cytoskeleton result in consistent twisting of plant organs?
- How is left/right symmetry breaking established in the relevant flowers?
Throughout, you will closely interact with experimentalists from various labs within the PI's network and use their data to parametrize and challenge your models.
This position is part of an international HFSP funded project on the fundamentals of left/right symmetry breaking, using the genetically controlled left/right bending of style and pollinating anther in mirror-image flowers as a model system. This unique system allows us to address the fundamental question of left/right symmetry breaking in a very holistic way, from molecular/biophysical mechanism to ecological and evolutionary impact in a single context. This makes the project very attractive for candidates with a broad interest in biology.
More information on the consortium can be found https://lenhardlab.wordpress.com/eine-seite/opportunities/.