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School of Biological and Chemical Sciences

Postdoctoral Research Assistant Ref: QMUL10825

The Department of Biological and Experimental Psychology at Queen Mary University of London is seeking to recruit a (Postdoctoral) Research Assistant to support a new Leverhulme Trust (https://www.leverhulme.ac.uk/) funded project to investigate the genetics of numeracy and the evolutionary basis of number.

We are inviting applications for an opportunity to work on a project at the interface between cognitive neuroscience and human genetics using zebrafish as a model organism.

It has long been recognized that non-human animals can discriminate collections of objects on the basis their numerousness. This ability is thought to be based on the existence of an evolutionarily conserved system for approximating numerical magnitude. However, there is currently no evidence that the same neural mechanisms underlie representation of numerousness among vertebrates nor that the same genes are involved. Here we use behavioural and genetic analysis of wildtype and mutant zebrafish, coupled with analysis of human genome data, to test the hypotheses that the ability to represent numerousness is genetically controlled and has an evolutionarily conserved neural basis.

As shoaling animals, zebrafish use numerosity to guide behaviour and decisions. Using automated operant conditioning we train zebrafish to perform numerical tasks and identify genetic variants influencing performance. Our general hypothesis predicts that genes found to influence human performance of exact numerical tasks will influence zebrafish performance of approximate tasks and vice versa.

The ideal candidate will have previous experience in methodologies in molecular genetics and behavioural tasks and a strong interest in neurodevelopmental traits. Analytical and computational skills are desirable.

The project is a collaboration between human geneticists (Silvia Paracchini, Brian Butterworth) and fish behavioural scientists (Caroline Brennan, Giorgio Vallortigara). The successful applicant will work closely with, and under the supervision, of Dr Caroline Brennan (PI). He/she will be working in close association with other scientists involved in the project both in the UK and Italy

We are looking for highly motivated and experienced post-doctoral candidates with demonstrable experience in behavioural or molecular genetics.

The position is full time and for a fixed 3 year period. The starting salary is £36,064 per annum. Benefits include 30 days annual leave, defined benefit pension scheme and interest-free season ticket loan.

For further information about the School and Department, please see http://www.sbcs.qmul.ac.uk

For informal enquiries, please contact: Caroline Brennan, via c.h.brennan@qmul.ac.uk

To apply, please visit the Human Resources website on http://www.jobs.qmul.ac.uk and search for reference QMUL10825 Enquiries about the application process should be directed to recruitment@qmul.ac.uk

The closing date for applications is 21st March 2017. Interviews will be held as soon as possible following the closing date. The successful candidate must be able to start by 1st June or as soon as possible thereafter.

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