Postdoctoral Positions - The limb as a model for developmental regulation and evolution of vertebrate form

Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health

Frederick, MD

Posted 8/29/2023

Fully-funded NIH intramural postdoctoral fellowship positions in developmental morphogenesis to study the role of Shh and downstream signaling centers in vertebrate limb patterning (formation of different digit types and adaptations), using molecular-genetic and genomic approaches. 

Our long-term focus is on understanding how regulatory networks instruct the formation of structures with distinct shapes, such as the varying bony segments and joint numbers in different digits arising from the same tissues/cell types, and consequently aren't based in cell fate changes.

Current interests include genome-wide approaches to identify key Shh relay signals and their relation to late signaling centers, comparative evolutionary analyses to reveal regulatory mechanisms underlying morphology-based adaptations, and combined genetic/genomic strategies to explore the dynamic nature and robustness of Shh-producing cells, which we think arise from a renewing progenitor population in the limb.

Applicants should have a strong background in developmental and/or evo-devo biology, and prior experience with cutting-edge genomic approaches is desirable. Degree requirement: Ph.D. For more information, please contact Susan Mackem ([email protected]) directly.

Recent lab publications:

Zhu et al. (2022)  Sonic hedgehog is not a limb morphogen but acts as a trigger to specify all digits in mice. Dev Cell 57: 2048-62.

Trofka et al. (2021) Genetic basis for an evolutionary shift from ancestral preaxial to postaxial limb polarity in non-urodele vertebrates. Current Biology 31: 4923-34.

Huang et al. (2016).  An interdigit signalling centre instructs coordinate phalanx-joint formation governed by 5'Hoxd-Gli3 antagonism. Nature Commun.  7:12903.

Huang et al. (2022) Rethinking positional information and digit identity: The role of late interdigit signaling. Dev. Dynamics  251:1414–1422  (invited perspective).

Zhu et al. (2017)  John Saunders' ZPA, Sonic hedgehog and digit identity - How does it really all work?  Dev. Biology  429:391-400.   (invited perspective).

Last Updated 08/29/2023