A postdoctoral training position is currently available in the Computational and Statistical Genomics Branch (CSGB) of the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI). The position is located in the laboratory of Andy Baxevanis, Ph.D., whose research group uses comparative genomics approaches to better-understand the molecular innovations that drove the surge of diversity in early animal evolution. The overarching theme of Dr. Baxevanis’ research program is focused on how non-traditional animal models convey critical insights into human disease research.
With this translational context in mind, Dr. Baxevanis’ group is currently leading an international effort to sequence two cnidarian species: Hydractinia echinata and Hydractinia symbiolongicarpus. The regenerative abilities of these colonial hydrozoans make them excellent models for the study of key questions related to pluripotency, allorecognition, and stem cell biology, work that will be significantly advanced by the availability of high-quality whole-genome sequencing data from these organisms. In addition, and in collaboration with colleagues at the Whitney Marine Laboratory of the University of Florida, the group has now begun sequencing Chaetopterus, a polychaete worm that exhibits exceptional regenerative abilities; this organism also shows particular promise for advancing our understanding of early developmental processes and bioluminescence. The successful applicant will have the opportunity to develop and apply bioinformatics approaches to these and other large-scale genomic data sets, focusing on the evolution of specific protein families, with an emphasis on examining their putative roles in disease causation.