HFSP Funded Postdoctoral Position in Transgenerational Epigenetics

Fully funded postdoc position in the lab of Mihail Sarov at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics as part of a HFSP funded project to explore the mechanisms of transgenerational epigenetic inheritance (TEI) in C. elegans.

Epigenetics adds a fundamentally important layer of gene expression plasticity that can improve the ability of cells and organisms to adapt to the constant changes in their environment. Importantly, studies in multiple systems have demonstrated that epigenetically encoded states of gene activity can be maintained and transferred across generations. When C. elegans is exposed to exogenous double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) genome loci of cognate sequence are silenced by RNA interference (RNAi). If selective pressure is applied for a few generations the silenced state of targeted genes becomes stable without further selection, a process accompanied by heritable changes in the local chromatin structure. Hence, an animal can acquire stably inheritable phenotypic traits by exposure to RNAi triggers. This research program will probe the extent of TEI impact in animal epigenetic plasticity and environmental response, define its underlying mechanisms, and generate a predictive and quantitative model for RNAi-mediated TEI.

You will have the freedom to develop your own research direction within the framework of this project. The project is a close collaboration with 2 other labs - Eric Miska (Cambridge, UK) and Thomas Duchaine (McGill University, Canada) and will provide ample opportunity for exchange of ideas and techniques, including short-term visits to the partner labs.

To apply please click on the “Apply Through Website” button. Please send your CV including the contacts of 3 researchers who can be approached for reference letters and one page motivation letter outlining your prior experience and future plans

The position is available immediately. There is no deadline for this application.


We are looking for an ambitious and highly motivated scientist with experience in the fields of epigenetics, nuclear organisation, and/or RNA mediated gene silencing mechanisms. Experience with Chromatin IP, ATAC-seq, single cell genomics methods or Genome Engineering will be highly beneficial.


The Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics in Dresden, Germany, is a highly visible and international research institute focused on cell and developmental biology. Currently about 500 employees are working at the institute, where half are from abroad with 53 nations represented. MPI-CBG has twice been awarded the title “Best Place to Work” (Academia and postdocs) by the journal “The Scientist”. It tops the list of the top ten research institutions outside the United States in 2009, and is the only German institution listed. The MPI-CBG provides highly competent and well-organized services and facilities and excellent mentoring and career development opportunities.

We especially encourage women to apply. The Max Planck Society is committed to employ more people with disabilities and actively seek their applications.

Further information on the research environment at MPI-CBG Dresden can be found at our website www.mpi-cbg.de.

Please apply through our online application system: https://recruitingapp-2443.umantis.com/Vacancies/356/Application/New/1
Reference number: 2015-PostDoc-4181

Disciplines: Cell Biology, Genetics, Molecular Biology