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[ccp4bb] Postdoc in evolutionary biochemistry, Thornton Lab, University of Chicago

Postdoc position in evolutionary biochemistry, Thornton Lab, University of Chicago

We have an opening for a postdoc in protein evolution and functional molecular evolution.  The lab’s goal is to characterize the evolutionary, genetic and biochemical mechanisms by which biological molecules acquired their present-day functions, structures, and biochemical properties.  Most projects have combined computational approaches to reconstruct the historical trajectory of molecular evolution – particularly phylogenetics and ancestral sequence reconstruction – with detailed bench experiments to test hypotheses concerning the causes and consequences of those events.   We also use high-throughput library-based methods and experimental evolution to characterize large ensembles of “might-have-been” histories from ancestral starting-points to better understand why evolution followed the path it took.  

A variety of projects are available, depending on the candidate’s interests, and we encourage creativity in developing new projects.  We have studied the evolution of transcription factors, enzymes, ligand-binding and scaffolding proteins, and molecular machines.  We have been particularly interested in the evolution of molecular specificity, complexity, catalysis, multimerization, and allostery, and in the causes and consequences of epistasis and the distribution of effect-sizes in shaping proteins’ evolutionary processes.

We are a highly collegial group that draws scientists and students from a variety of disciplines – evolution, biochemistry, molecular biology, computational biology, genetics, biophysics, and more. The University of Chicago is a fantastic place to do science, especially at the interface of evolution and the molecular biosciences. Chicago is a great city rich in high and low culture; it is a hipster heaven and, in the summer, a fun beach town.  People in the lab are fun, funny, interesting, mutually supportive, and humane.

More information about the lab is at http://www.thorntonlab.org.  We strongly encourage applications from scientists who are women and members of groups underrepresented in science. 

To apply, please email a single PDF containing a CV and brief research statement, including why you are interested in our lab, to me at joet1@uchicago.edu.   The start date is flexible.

Joe Thornton
Professor, Departments of Ecology and Evolution and Human Genetics
University of Chicago

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