Postdoctoral Position | Fly Dosage Compensation

Max Planck Institute of Immunobiology and Epigenetics, Freiburg

Type of Job


Developmental and Evolutionary Biology & Genetics Immunobiology and Infection Biology & Medicine

Job Code: 647

Job offer from June 08, 2021

We are offering a Postdoctoral Position working on fly dosage compensation.

A Postdoctoral Position is available in the lab of Dr. Asifa Akhtar (Department of Chromatin Regulation) at the Max Planck Institute of Immunobiology and Epigenetics in Freiburg. The Akhtar lab uses a combination of Drosophila and mouse models to investigate regulation by histone acetylation and non-coding RNA. The position is open immediately and initially funded for two years.

The Max Planck Institute of Immunobiology and Epigenetics (MPI-IE) in Freiburg, Germany is an interdisciplinary research institution that conducts basic research in two key areas of modern biology: Immunobiology and Epigenetics. Central questions address the molecular basis of cell type identities, as they are regulated during immune cell differentiation, metabolic response and epigenetic chromatin adaptation. 

Your tasks

Sex-chromosome dosage compensation is one of the most fascinating problems in biology. Females carry two X chromosomes, while males only have one. Despite this imbalance, males and females express X-linked genes at roughly equal levels. How is the correct dosage of X-linked genes achieved? In flies, the single X chromosome is coated by the male-specific lethal (MSL) complex harbouring the histone acetyltransferase MOF which specifically hyperacetylates histone H4 al lysine 16 (H4K16ac), thereby triggering transcriptional upregulation of X-linked genes by approximately two-fold. Our latest research revealed that the long non-coding RNA component roX2 helps the MSL complex to achieve its exquisite specificity for the X chromosome by forming a stable phase-separated hydrogel with the protein component MSL2 (Keller Valsecchi et al 2021 Nature PMID: 3320894). In a separate study we found that the maternal deposition of H4K16ac provides oocytes with instructive information which is indispensable for the onset of dosage compensation during embryonic development. Loss of maternal MOF leads to compromised nucleosome accessibility, 3D genome organization and transcription, and these defects cannot be rescued by zygotic expression of MOF (Samata et al 2020 Cell PMID: 32502394). The recruited postdoc will work on advancing our mechanistic understanding of the dosage compensation mechanism, including factors driving its initiation and maintenance.

The recruited postdoc will work on advancing our mechanistic understanding of the dosage compensation mechanism, including factors driving its initiation in embryos and its maintenance in later developmental stages. The recruited scientist will apply a combination of methodologies, which may include bulk and single-cell transcriptomics, chromatin immunoprecipitation, Hi-C, live-cell imaging, proteomics, metabolomics or other techniques, as appropriate.

Your qualifications

We are looking for an independent, creative and highly motivated post-doctoral scientist interested in exploring the dosage compensation mechanism in flies. For this we seek applicants with a strong background in experimental work in flies.

  • Applicants should have a PhD in molecular biology, biochemistry, genetics, bioinformatics or a related discipline
  • Several years of experience working with Drosophila melanogaster is required
  • Candidates should have a strong publication record
  • Experience in generation and/or analysis of high-throughput sequencing datasets would be an advantage
  • The ability to work effectively in a team, possess good communication skills and have prior experience in the supervision of graduate students would be favourable

We offer

Located in a region that connects Germany, France and Switzerland, our institute offers an international research environment with outstanding infrastructure facilities and a positive working atmosphere that places a high value on work-life balance.

  • Salary according to your qualification and professional experience according to TVöD
  • Social benefits in line with public service
  • Professional training and development opportunities
  • Challenging work in a modern working environment
  • Family-friendly offers (affiliated day care center at the institute, parent-child room, breastfeeding room, pme family service)

We value and promote diversity, inclusion and equal opportunities, so we welcome applications from all backgrounds. We particularly welcome applications from severely disabled people. We would also like to increase the proportion of women in areas where they are underrepresented and therefore expressly encourage women to apply.

Application deadline

Have we sparked your interest? Please apply with your complete application documents (letter of motivation, curriculum vitae) including a statement of research interests via our online applicant portal by 6th of July 2021. At the same time, please ask three of your referees to send recommendation letters to .

Max Planck Institute of Immunobiology and Epigenetics
Stübeweg 51
79108 Freiburg

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