Mapping cell type diversity in the arthropod leg

Marie Curie PhD fellowship

Deadline for applications:   15 March 2024
Expected starting date:        1 October 2024
A 3-year PhD fellowship is available at the Institut de Génomique Fonctionnelle de Lyon (IGFL) in France, to characterise the microanatomy, molecular profiles and functions of diverse cell types – including unknown cell types – present in the arthropod leg. The fellowship is funded by the Marie Curie doctoral network ZooCell.

Research topic

Arthropod legs are multi-purpose organs, containing diverse cell types involved in sensing (e.g. sensory organ neurons, glia and accessory cells), locomotion (muscles, tendons, joints), protection and immunity (epidermis, blood cells), as well as numerous cell types with unknown functions. The recruited PhD student will generate a multimodal cell atlas, integrating the molecular profiles of more than 15 distinct cell types that make up the arthropod leg with ultrastructural data, and will identify the functions and evolutionary relationships of these diverse cells.

The student will accomplish this in the crustacean Parhyale hawaiensis, which we have already started to explore using scanning electron microscopy and single-cell transcriptomics. Parhyale legs contain more than 15 cell clusters discovered by single-nucleus RNAseq, corresponding to epidermal, neuronal, muscle and blood cells, as well as several yet unknown/uncharacterized cell types. The student will study the Parhyale leg at subcellular resolution using multi-beam SEM, to identify cell types based on ultrastructure, and will associate each of these with the corresponding transcriptional signatures using correlative light and electron microscopy approaches. Microanatomy and transcriptional profiles will provide a rich set of features for exploring the identities of these cells, their functions, and their relationships to the cells of other animals. Genetic tools such as transgene-mediated cell ablation or CRISPR-mediated gene knock-outs (already established in Parhyale) will be used to test the functions of selected cell types and the role of key regulators that define them.
Our experimental model, the crustacean Parhyale
UMAP of transcriptionally-distinct cell types identified by snRNseq in Parhyale legs

Work environment

The recruited  fellow will join the Comparative Developmental Biology and Regeneration team of the Institut de Génomique Fonctionnelle de Lyon (IGFL), located at the campus of the École Normale Supérieure de Lyon in the south of Lyon, France. The IGFL provides a stimulating environment focusing on the interfaces of animal development, physiology and evolution. The research team is international and the working language is English (speaking French is not a requirement).

The fellow will also be part of the wider community of fellows in the ZooCell doctoral network, comprising 12 laboratories across Europe. Fellows will participate in the training activities organised by the network, including practical courses and research/training visits in a partner laboratory.

The fellow will be enrolled as a PhD student in the École Normale Supérieure de Lyon, and will be co-supervised by Michalis Averof and Mathilde Paris.

Training, meetings and research exchanges

The fellow will receive training in molecular genetics and microscopy in the host lab, and training in electron microscopy and image analysis by the ZooCell doctoral network. The training will be adapted to the needs of the fellow.

This fellowship will involve periods of training/research in the laboratories of other ZooCell partners and participation in yearly meetings and summer schools organised by the network, to take full advantage of the wide range of expertise available in the network. The fellow will have opportunities to develop presentation, writing and other transferable skills, and to participate in outreach activities.

Eligibility / Qualifications

Applicants should have a Masters degree in science, preferably in Biology. Practical experience in molecular, cell or developmental biology, microscopy and/or image analysis will be an advantage. Strongly motivated students from other disciplines are also encouraged to apply.

Applicants should be able to communicate fluently in English.

Candidates of all nationalities may apply, but they must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in France for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to their appointment (short stays such as holidays are not taken into account).

Applicants should submit a motivation letter and a CV in english.
IGFL, the host institute, located in the south of Lyon
Lyon is a vibrant historic city of ~1 million
View from IGFL's 3rd floor, where our lab is located
Marie Curie doctoral network meeting
Join our team!

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