Text Postdoc add interdisciplinary project
Polymorphisms of pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC) polymorphisms as well as alteration of POMC maturation by the proprotein convertase (PC)-1/3 are crucial determinants for physiology and behavior in humans and animals, including feeding behavior, skin pigmentation, stress response, the immune system, and sexual functions. Barn and tawny owls are a powerful system to study the role of POMC in this context. Our extensive studies over the past years acquired a unique and comprehensive set of phenotypic and genetic data for over 4’000 individual birds. These studies revealed striking correlations between genetic polymorphisms in POMC precursors and specific alterations in PC1/3. Undetectable PC1/3 expression and mutant PC1/3, in barn owl growing feathers and brain respectively, coincides with a unique POMC polymorphism characterized by poly-serine insertions. In the present project, we will undertake an in-depth molecular characterization of the system to establish a link between the observed POMC polymorphisms and PC1/3 variants. Using state-of the-art biochemical and cell biology techniques, we will characterize the physiological importance of POMC polymorphism found in barn owls and link these mechanistic data to the available physiological and behavioral observations. This interdisciplinary project directed by Prof. Alexandre Roulin (Department of Ecology and Evolution, UNIL) will for the first time illuminate the molecular basis underlying the role of POMC in complex behavioral patterns of a highly relevant species. For this exciting project, we are looking for a post-doctoral candidate with a strong background in biochemistry and molecular biology. Financial support is guaranteed for one year according to the salary levels of Swiss national Science Foundation with the option of prolongation.
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