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[Computational-biology] Two-year post-doctoral fellow in mathematical biology

WANG Juhui juhui.wang at jouy.inra.fr
Tue Jun 13 02:54:30 EST 2006

A two-years post-doctoral fellow position is available at the Laboratory 
of Applied Mathematics and Computer Science (_http://www.jouy.inra.fr/ 
at the French National Institute for Agricultural Research 

The successful candidate will be expected to work on a funded project 
developing a computational model of the bovine trophoblast morphogenesis 
which is capable of explaining the growth and pattern formation observed 
in the developmental processes.

The trophoblast is the first epithelium which appears at the beginning 
of embryogenesis in mammals. It forms the wall of the blastocyst, and 
aids implantation in the uterine wall. We are interested in the early 
development of the trophoblast: a temporal window of 15 days from the 
blastocyst stage to the uterine implantation, during which the 
trophoblast floats in the uterine liquid, and undertakes extremely fast 
growth and elongation. This period of early morphogenesis is fundamental 
for the harmonious development of the embryo. Disturbances would lead to 
many embryonic losses and contribute, after birth, to the formation of 
chronic diseases of metabolic origins such as obesity, diabetes, 
arterial hypertension, etc. Research engaged on the dynamics of 
molecular, cellular and tissue interactions during this period enabled 
us to propose some assumptions about the origins of these disturbances. 
However, the complexity of the organization and the multiplicity of the 
interactions between different compartments make the research extremely 
difficult if only carried out in experimental ways. Data obtained are 
usually partial, static and descriptive. We thus seek to develop an 
integrative approach, with which the system can be apprehended in a 
global way: with taking into account of components interactions, with 
integration of various levels of observation (molecular, cellular and 
tissue), and according to various points of view (physical, biochemical, 
genetic). The method will be based on models studied in population 
dynamics to represent cellular migration and proliferation, from 
continium physics to determine chemical substance production, transport 
and consummation. Basic optimization techniques may be explored to 
identify the parameters of the obtained models, and sensitivity analysis 
will be considered to analyze their singular behaviors. Our development 
will be based on a spiral process with frequent swing between 
computational modeling and experimental verification: a) start from a 
spherical blastocyst, and determine the form genesis sequentially 
observed during the elongation: ovoid, tubular and filamentous; b) 
integrate embryonic and uterine components as possible sources of 
control and physical constraints leading to the observed forms; c) 
incorporate the available genetic knowledge; The results obtained will 
be validated with /in vivo/ data, and will be used as support to 
formulate new hypotheses on precise and experimentally verifiable 
biological questions such as, i) test the role of embryonic tissues to 
regulate the morphogenesis by deleting these tissues at various stages 
of the developmental process; ii) exploit the role of the uterus to 
control the elongation by targeted analysis of the gene networks 
observed at the same times in the embryonic and uterine compartments.

The post-doctoral fellow will also play an integral role in ongoing 
collaborations with leading scientists on embryonic development and 
biomedical engineering.

Applicants should have a PhD degree relevant to mathematical, physical, 
or biomedical modeling. The applicant must be highly motivated. 
Technical skills in applied mathematics (PDE, Numerical Analysis) and 
programming are required. A background in biology is a plus, but not 
required. The base salary is 2150 euros per month. Further information 
including the research context may be obtained from : 
Juhui.Wang at jouy.inra.fr. Applications close 31st July 2006, but the 
effective start date for this position can be negotiated. To apply, 
please fill the application form 
and send it par email to: mia at toulouse.inra.fr with cc: 
Juhui.Wang at jouy.inra.fr

Juhui WANG						Email:	juhui.wang at jouy.inra.fr	
INRA - Mathématiques et Informatique Appliquées		Tel:	+(33) 01 34 65 22 29	
Domaine de Vilvert					Fax: 	+(33) 01 34 65 22 17	
F-78352 Jouy-en-Josas		

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