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postdoctoral position available

Michael S.Roy michael.roy at stonebow.otago.ac.nz
Tue Dec 21 15:44:44 EST 1999

Te Whare Wananga o Otago

Dunedin, New Zealand

Postdoctoral Fellow (Fixed Term)


Applications are invited from suitably qualified persons for the position of Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Zoology, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand.  This position, in the laboratory of Dr Michael S. Roy, is funded by the Marsden Fund and is available for two years and nine months.  Associate investigators on the project are Prof. Philip Mladenov of the Department Marine Science, University of Otago and Dr. Daniel Janies of the American Museum of Natural History.

The research project entitled "Using unique New Zealand starfish fauna to examine the evolution of animal development" will involve reconstructing phylogenetic relationships amongst all starfish families by combining molecular characters with other datasets obtained from a variety of life history and morphological characters. These data will be used to assess the order and tempo of evolutionary events relating to changes in body plans and life history traits and whether the development of basic body plans remained labile late in starfish evolution. 

The appointee will have experience in molecular systematics and a good knowledge of developmental biology. Experience with working with echinoderms, although not essential, will be preferred.  We wish to fill this position by June 2000 or soon thereafter.

Applicants must have been awarded the degree of Doctor of Philosophy before taking up this position.  The salary for Postdoctoral Fellows is NZ$45,000 per annum.

Specific enquiries may be made to Dr Michael S. Roy, Tel 64 3 479 5456, Fax 64 3 479 7584 or email michael.roy at stonebow.otago.ac.nz

Reference Number: AG99/86			Closing Date: April 14th 2000


Further details regarding this position, the University and the application procedure are available from the Deputy Director, Personnel Services, University of Otago, PO Box 56, Dunedin, New Zealand (Tel 64 3 479 8269, Fax 64 3 474 1607 or email shannon.oliver at stonebow.otago.ac.nz).  Further information about the University of Otago can be found at our homepage at http://www.otago.ac.nz

Applicants should send two copies of their curriculum vitae together with the names, addresses, e-mail addreses or fax numbers of three referees, to the Deputy Director of Personnel Services by the specified closing date, quoting the appropriate reference number.  

If an applicant is shortlisted for interview, whanau support will be welcome. 
Equal opportunity in employment is University policy.

E tautoko ana Te Whare Wananga o Otago i te kaupapa 
whakaorite whiwhinga mahi


for appointment as  Postdoctoral Fellow (Fixed Term)


1.	General Information

A statement of general information and conditions of appointment for all academic posts within the University is attached.

2.	Summary of the Research Project

Echinoderms, although morphologically diverse, are fundamentally pentaradial. The discovery of a circular echinoderm, Xyloplax in the 1980's off New Zealand forced the creation of a sixth extant class of echinoderm Concentrycycloidea and has reinvigorated the debate over the evolution of the echinoderms and the origin of pentaradialism. Furthermore a recent preliminary molecular analysis of Xyloplax suggests that rather than belonging to a separate class of echinoderms, it actually belongs within the Asteriodea (starfish). This interpretation has major biological implications.  Many argue that new animal body plans have not evolved since the Cambrian [circa 530 million years ago (mya)] because the fundamental biochemical circuits of animal development had become "hardwired" to a restricted set of canonical pathways.  However, if Xyloplax is confirmed to have evolved from the crown group of post-Paleozoic (circa 225 mya) starfish, compelling evidence exists that fundamental fea!
tures of the echinoderm body plan remained labile, at least until the recent radiation of the group. Some authors have used examples of recent animal radiations such as Hawaiian fruit flies and birds to argue that although a slew of adaptations (e.g., physiological, behavioral, small anatomical features) occur in recent radiations, new body plans do not evolve.  The study of an ancient radiation such as starfish with examples of major changes in form (e.g. Xyloplax) or bizarre life cycle adaptations may provide compelling evidence that body plans have continued to change throughout evolutionary time.

We intend to study the evolution of body plans and life history traits amongst a diversity of starfish families including the highly controversial concentracycloidea (Xyloplax sp.). We will construct a robust starfish phylogeny by combining a battery of datasets using novel computational methods. These data will be used to assess the order and tempo of evolutionary events relating to changes in body plans and life history traits and whether the development of basic body plans remained labile late in starfish evolution. We intend to use data on a variety of body patterning genes to assess if changes in their expression have provided the mechanism for the evolution of new body plans and life history strategies in starfish. 

Although the main project will be undertaken in New Zealand, the project is in collaboration with the Dr. Daniel Janies at the American Museum of Natural History (New York) and opportunities exist for visiting Dr. Janies and working with him as appropriate.

We are looking for a well qualified person in the disciplines of phylogeny reconstruction and developmental biology. Previous experience of working with starfish or other echinoderms would be welcomed. The position is funded for two years and nine months, with an annual salary of NZ$45,000. We are anticipating a start date of June 1st 2000.
3.	Additional tasks of the Postdoctoral Fellow

o	to assist in the supervision of postgraduate students.

o	to keep up-to-date with relevant, recently published scientific papers.

o	to write scientific papers and present talks at scientific conferences about the results of the research.

The appointee will be directly responsible to Dr Michael S. Roy, and have a good working relationship with technical staff and postgraduate students.  Some administrative assistance is available. 

The postdoctoral fellow must be self-motivated, be able to work independently and should be committed to a research career in the biological sciences.

4.	Salary

The salary for a Postdoctoral Fellow is NZ$45,000 per annum 

5.	Contact Person

Specific enquiries may be directed to Dr Michael S. Roy, Tel 64 3 479 5456, Fax 64 3 479 7584 or email michael.roy at stonebow.otago.ac.nz

6.	Offer of the Position

Should the University wish to offer you the position, a formal, written letter of offer will follow any verbal discussions that might be held with you.  It is recommended that you do not resign from your current employment until you have received our written offer.  The contents of this formal letter of offer and its attachments will constitute the entire agreement between the employee and the employer, and will supersede all previous representations, negotiations, commitments and communications, either written or oral between the parties.  Any agreements will only be binding on the employer where they have been formally offered by the Personnel Services office and accepted by the employee.

7.	Applications

The application procedure is set out in the accompanying General Information Statement. Applications quoting reference number AG99/86 close with the Deputy Director of Personnel Services on Friday 14th April 2000.

University of Otago
PO Box 56

Tel	 64 3 479 8269
Fax	 64 3 474 1607

Dr. Michael S. Roy
Lecturer in Genetics and Conservation Genetics
Dept. of Zoology & Centre for Gene Research
Otago University
P.O. Box  56
Aotearoa-New Zealand

phone: +643-479 5456 (w)
fax:   +643-479 7584

email: michael.roy at stonebow.otago.ac.nz
WWW:  http://www.otago.ac.nz/Zoology/staff/mr.html


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