Open positions for post-docs and PhDs (experimentalists)
A central question in the origin of life is how evolution could have emerged in physical-chemical systems. RNA is a model for the prebiotic world because RNA is both an information carrier and a catalyst. However, a system purely made of RNA and capable of evolution remains to be discovered. RNAs derived from group I introns have been shown to self-reproduce from smaller fragments, recombine other RNAs, and produce novel ribozymes. Therefore, RNA is a highly promising model to build an artificial reactions networks capable of evolution. Two projects are proposed:
1. Build reaction networks made of RNA and capable of evolution. The challenge is to implement Darwinian properties of variation, reproduction with heredity and selection, and combine them.
2. Determine the range of RNA sequences capable of self-reproduction, to estimate the probability of appearance of evolving RNA systems, their viability and ability for open-ended evolution.
These projects closely combine experiments (RNA biochemistry, molecular biology, microfluidics) and theory (bioinformatics, evolutionary theory, dynamical systems).
The projects are funded by a European grant (ERC) and an international HSFP grant (with USA, India and Germany).
Given the highly interdisciplinary nature of these projects, candidates from diverse backgrounds will be considered: Molecular biology, RNA biochemistry, Experimental evolution, Systems biology, experimental physics (notably at the interface with biology), complex systems. Candidates should have a strong motivation to learn novel techniques and concepts and team work in an interdisciplinary environment.
Send a CV with publication list (for post-docs) and recommendation letters to philippe ‘dot’ nghe ‘at’ espci ‘dot’ psl ‘dot’.eu