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PhD Positions in Fish Evolutionary Developmental Genomics at Michigan State University


The Fish Evo Devo Geno Lab (PI Ingo Braasch) at Michigan State University is recruiting highly motivated PhD students interested in working on the genomic basis of vertebrate evolution and development to start in Fall 2018.


The Braasch Lab focuses on genomic and developmental changes that contribute to major transitions during the course of vertebrate evolution and studies evolutionary novelties at the levels of genome structure, gene family evolution, and gene regulation. We combine comparative genomics with analyses of molecular evolution and functional genetic and developmental approaches using a variety of fishes as our model systems (spotted gar, zebrafish, medaka and others).


Possible projects fall within the following broader research areas of the group:


1. Genomic and morphological evolution of fishes:

How do changes in gene regulation contribute to evolutionary novelties and key innovations? How do morphological differences among fish lineages arise from diversification of gene repertoires? What is the role of gen(om)e duplications and gene losses in generating phenotypic diversity?


2. Conquest of land and ‘fish-out-of-water’:

We are studying genomic changes and their functional consequences leading to the evolution of tetrapods from fishes and other ‘fish-out-of-water’ scenarios, including the evolutionary loss of genes at the water-to-land transition and the gene regulatory basis of hatching.


3. Evolutionary analyses of biomedical fish genomes:

Combining genomic sequence comparisons, gene expression analyses and epigenomic profiling, we aim to improve connectivity of teleost biomedical fish models such as zebrafish and medaka to human biology and disease. This work is support by the NIH (

For additional information on our research, see also Braasch et al. 2016, Nature Genetics (doi:10.1038/ng.3526) and Braasch et al. 2015, JEZB (doi:10.1002/jez.b.22589).


Our group is part of the Department of Integrative Biology (IBIO;, the Ecology, Evolutionary, and Behavior Program (EEBB;, and the Genetics Graduate Program ( at Michigan State.


MSU IBIO has a strong research commitment to vertebrate biology with a highly collaborative community of groups working on fish evolution, genomics, development, population genetics, neuroscience, behavior, ecology, and conservation, allowing for vibrant exchange among fields, methods and model systems.


Qualifications: Applicants should hold a bachelor’s degree in biology, genetics, molecular biology, bioinformatics, zoology or related fields. Suitable candidates should be enthusiastic about fish biology and excited about working in an interdisciplinary manner. Previous research experience in a relevant area is desired.


Admission: Students will be admitted through the MSU IBIO Graduate Program ( and the MSU Ecology, Evolutionary Biology, and Behavior Group ( Another possible route of admission is through the MSU Genetics Graduate Program within the MSU BioMolecular Science Gateway (


Application deadlines for both the MSU IBIO and Genetics Graduate Programs are December 1, 2017.    


Funding: Financial support is provided through research and teaching assistantships and the PI’s external funding. Competitive applicants will be eligible for university fellowships and supported in applying for graduate fellowships from NSF, NIH, and other agencies. 


Interested candidates should email Ingo Braasch ( in advance of the application deadlines on December 1.


Please include the following in your email:


1. Description of your research interests and how they align with pursuing a PhD in vertebrate Evo-Devo and genomics


2. Curriculum Vitae


3. Names and email contacts of three references



We are looking forward to your application!



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