PhD on comparative genomics and genome architecture in holocentric plants (m/f/div)

The research group Evolution of Meiosis (Marques lab), belonging to the Department of Chromosome Biology at the MPIPZ - Cologne, is interested in the study of meiotic adaptations and recombination mechanisms taking place in holocentric plants. Here, we address these questions using as model plant species from the genus Rhynchospora, which have species with both chiasmatic and achiasmatic inverted meiosis. Project summary: Holocentric chromosomes differ from monocentric chromosomes by the absence of a primary constriction (known as centromere) due to a diffuse kinetic activity along the entire chromosome arms. This specialized type of chromosome structure is found in several lineages of plants and animals, with multiple independent origins. Recent studies have shown that, in fact, holocentric chromosomes are composed by multiple centromere-like domains distributed genome-wide (holocentromeres). Position and distribution of chromosome compartments (i.e. topological association domains) and meiotic recombination are strongly influenced by the presence of centromeres. In principle, holocentric organisms show chromosomal adaptations related to chromosome segregation and functioning, such as inverted meiosis. However, lack of detailed genomic studies on holocentric plants hampers the elucidation of the impact of such chromosome structure in a comprehensive evolutionary and functional perspective. Understanding how the genome architecture and how recombination are regulated in holocentric genomes will potentially unveil new molecular mechanisms of great interest for the scientific community. In the framework of this research project, which aims to elucidate the genome organization and architecture, meiotic adaptations and recombination frequencies in the holocentric plants of Rhynchospora, we are looking for a highly motivated PhD candidate.

Please find below the description of the available position:

Your tasks:

● You are going to work on the genome assembly as well as on the development of recombination maps and estimation of recombination frequencies in holocentric plants

● You are going to perform comparative 3D genome analysis using genome-wide detection of chromatin contacts

● You will perform several bioinformatic tasks regarding comparative genomics and recombination analysis based on single cell sequencing

You fit to us:

● You are bright, highly motivated, and enthusiastic person

● You are interested in evolutionary genomics, meiosis, genome architecture

● You have good communication skills

● You have the ability to work independently, as well as part of a team

Your qualification and skills:

● You are about to finish* or own a Master degree in Bioinformatics or related field

● You have a background in genomics, recombination analysis, meiosis, evolution

● You do have solid English skills, which are a prerequisite for an effective work in our multicultural working environment

Please send your application including CV and a motivation letter through the online system, by latest August 31, 2021

For the PhD position a project based limited position for 36 months will be offered, starting at the earliest on October 1th 2021. Salary and working hours are in accordance with the funding guidelines of the Max Planck Society for junior scientists. Payment (65 % E 13) and benefits are according to the German TVöD-Bund.

If you need further information on the position offered, please feel free to contact André Marques (

*We encourage students that are on their last year of obtaining their Master degree to apply for this position
The Max Planck Society is one of Europe's leading research organizations. In its research laboratories, workshops, libraries, and administration, scientists and researchers perform demanding tasks with a high degree of autonomy and creativity.
The Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research carries out fundamental research on plants using a wide range of methods including molecular genetics, genomics, imaging, computational biology and biochemistry. 

The Max-Planck society is committed to increasing the number of individuals with disabilities in its workforce and therefore encourages applications from such qualified individuals.

Furthermore, the Max Planck Society seeks to increase the number of women in those areas where they are underrepresented and therefore explicitly encourages women to apply.
Little Pumpkins is the child care facility at the MPIPZ providing daycare for children up until 3 years of age.

If you would like to work in a dedicated team, please convince us now by sending us your complete application documents together with your earliest possible date of joining the institute.

Have we sparked your interest ?

Please apply. We are looking forward to getting your complete application documents.


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