Postdoctoral Training Fellow
This is a full-time, fixed term (4 years) position on Crick terms and conditions of employment.
The research group
We seek a talented and passionate scientist to join the lab of Lucia Prieto-Godino (https://prietogodinolab.org/) on a project funded by the Human Frontiers Science Programme. The topic of the project is how viral infection can manipulate animal behaviours by altering neuronal function, using moths as a model. The project is a collaboration between the Prieto-Godino lab, and the labs of Cristina Crava at the Univeristy of Valencia (Spain), Jordi Gamir at the University Jaume I of Castellon (Spain), and Felipe Yon at the Univeristy Peruana Cayetano Heredia (Peru). The selected candidate will mostly work on the neuroscience aspects of the work, while expected to keep close collaborations on the other aspects of this multidisciplinary project involving viral manipulation, environmental chemical analysis and semi-field behavioural experiments.
The Prieto-Godino lab employs a multidisciplinary approach to understand how neural circuits function and evolve, combining techniques that range from in vivo calcium imaging, electrophysiology, connectomics, single-cell RNA sequencing, genome editing, behavioural analysis, field work and environmental chemical analysis. We are part of the Crick Neurophysiology group, a cluster of neuroscience research groups from the Crick and partner universities UCL, Kings and Imperial College.
The title of the project is Cellular and molecular basis of behavioural manipulation by viral infection.
The goal of the project is to explore how viruses can manipulate animal behaviour, and how this in turn leads to increased viral success. We will do so by using as a model a three component ecological system composed of a specialist baculovirus (BV) that specifically infects the caterpillars of the moth Spodoptera exigua and the tomato plant where these later feed. Core to understanding how virus manipulate behaviour are three questions that will guide the project. Q1 - What is the cellular substrate manipulated by viruses? Q2 - What are the molecular mechanisms mediating those changes? Q3 - How do these changes interact with ecological factors to culminate in a behavioural manipulation that ensures maximal viral spread? Our model system has key features that will enable us to address these questions, including the ability to genetically manipulate all three ends; the virus (BV), the host (S. exigua) and the ecological setting (tomato plants). The selected candidate will investigate the neuroscience aspects of the project, namely how does the virus alter caterpillar behaviour upon infection. This will involve understanding how odour-guided behaviours are altered upon infection, how gene expression changes and in turns how this affects neuronal physiology.
Key experience and competencies
The post holder should embody and demonstrate our core Crick values: bold, imaginative, open, dynamic and collegial, in addition to the following:
A successful candidate will need to be an independent thinker, motivated to do science and able to work in a highly collaborative environment. In addition, they should be an expert in at least one of the following techniques: molecular biology and cloning, RNAseq acquisition and data analysis and/or neurophysiological studies in insects.
- PhD in Neuroscience (or related disciplines) or in the final stages of PhD submission
- Track record of writing papers as evidenced by publications or pre-prints
- Ability to work independently and also capable of interacting within a group
- Experience with molecular biology work
- Knowledge of Matlab, R, Python, Igor or similar programming languages
- Experience acquiring and analysing RNA-seq data
- Experience performing neurophysiological studies in insects