[Coral-List] Postdoctoral Position of Potential Interest to Coral Biologists

Matthew Nicotra matthew.nicotra at gmail.com
Tue Apr 30 12:57:33 EDT 2013

*Postdoctoral position available to work on **self/non-self recognition*

Join an *exciting project* at the interface of molecular genetics, protein
biochemistry, comparative immunology, and marine biology.

*The Nicotra Lab* seeks a postdoctoral associate to work on the molecular
basis of invertebrate allorecognition. Allorecognition is the ability to
distinguish between one’s own tissues and those of other members of one’s
species via cell-cell contact. Colonial invertebrates like corals, marine
sponges, and sea anemones use allorecognition to determine whether they
will coexist or compete with each other. In all species studied to date,
allorecognition is controlled by genetic systems with levels of allelic
polymorphism equal to or exceeding that found at the vertebrate MHC and
plant self-incompatibility loci.

The significance of allorecognition spans multiple fields. The
protein-protein interactions that enable allorecognition specificity are an
intriguing puzzle to cell biologists.  The mechanisms that generate and
maintain extreme allelic polymorphism are of interest to population
geneticists and molecular evolutionists.  And, finally, comparative
immunologists and transplant biologists have long wondered whether
invertebrate allorecognition systems are homologous to elements of the
vertebrate immune system.

Our lab is poised to answer these questions.  We have discovered two genes
controlling allorecognition in a cnidarian, the hydroid *Hydractinia*. We
are now working to understand how the proteins they encode create
specificity and signal to regulate the allorecognition response. Successful
candidates need a solid background in molecular biology. Previous
experience working with proteins is a plus. The work will involve the
production of recombinant proteins, in vitro cell culture experiments, and
in vivo work with transgenic animals. You do not need to have worked with
hydroids before—we will teach you what you need to know. The position is
available immediately. Salary support is available for up to three years on
a newly funded NSF grant. Pay is commensurate with experience and will
follow NIH guidelines.

Our lab is part of the Thomas E. Starzl Transplant Institute in the *University
of Pittsburgh* School of Medicine. We are broadly interested in recognition
phenomena, and specifically focused on invertebrate allorecognition and
vertebrate transplant biology. We interact routinely with faculty in the
departments across the biological sciences.

Prospective candidates can contact Matt Nicotra via email (
nicotraml at upmc.edu<https://mail.upmc.edu/owa/redir.aspx?C=fB8eIhGHtECfMZ_0vuwd5AKTxc9ZGdAI_TTYpo33KZbLiTcV_YKzhUUh-mwdIxXwv5LnjUzXajQ.&URL=mailto%3anicotraml%40upmc.edu>)
with a cover letter, CV, and the names of at least two references. More
details on the lab and our projects can be found

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