Several postdoctoral positions are opened at the Institut Pasteur (Paris, France) to visualize the topological and functional dynamics of small regulatory pieces of DNA, called enhancers, in the animal genome. Successful candidates will join a collaborative and interdisciplinary venture in the newly formed unit Physics of Biological Function of biophysicist Thomas Gregor.

Presentation of the unit and its research topics:

The Unit for the Physics of Biological Function at Institut Pasteur studies the basic physical principles that govern the existence of multicellular life. A core focus of the lab is to understand biological development–the complex process through which an organism grows from a single cell into a differentiated, multicellular organism–from a physics perspective. As such, we formulate and experimentally validate quantitative models that describe how individual cells interact and organize in order to generate complex life forms. Our main interests lie in:

  • multicellular pattern formation
  • transcriptional regulation in the context of development
  • molecular limits to biochemical sensing
  • emergence of collective behaviors in multicellular system
Description of a representative project:

The dynamic organization of the genome in time and space plays a crucial role in the functional specification of a cell. In particular the interplay between multiple distant enhancers and their target gene promoters has critical mechanistic consequences on gene activity patterns during cell differentiation and development. We are developing state-of-the- art high-resolution live imaging techniques to resolve multiple enhancers in space and time to correlate the 3D motion of the DNA polymer with gene activity. The challenge is to develop the right imaging modalities that optimize our need for high temporal and spatial resolution, and to image a large field of view with multiple (≥ 4) colors simultaneously. [For more information see: Chen et al. (2016). Direct visualization of transcriptional activation by physical enhancer-promoter proximity. bioRxiv 099523; doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/099523.]

Expected profile of the candidate:

Candidates will have a strong interest for collaborative and interdisciplinary research. They should have a proven successful track record equipped with a combination of the following skills:

  • live-cell microscopy, single molecule imaging
  • microscope design and implementation
  • hard- and software design for microscope control
  • computational image analysis

Ability to work independently and in collaboration with members of the lab and international collaborators in a dynamic, diverse and multinational group is essential. English is the working language.

Contact: thomas.gregor@pasteur.fr Applications should include a statement of research interests and motivation, a CV, and contact information for three references. Applications will be reviewed as soon as they are received. Funding is available for multiple positions but candidates will be encouraged to apply for independent competitive grants. Long-term funding is possible upon mutual agreement. Alternative projects that match with the overall goals of the unit can be discussed at the interview stage.

The newly founded unit Physics of Biological Function of biophysicist Thomas Gregor at Institut Pasteur is seeking to fill two open position at the engineer level to perform microscopy and imaging related research. Candidates with strong interest in interdisciplinary optical microscopy and biophysics research will be expected to build microscopes, run live imaging experiments and execute image processing and analysis routines.

Presentation of the unit and its research topics:

The Unit for the Physics of Biological Function at Institut Pasteur studies the basic physical principles that govern the existence of multicellular life. A core focus of the lab is to understand biological development–the complex process through which an organism grows from a single cell into a differentiated, multicellular organism–from a physics perspective. As such, we formulate and experimentally validate quantitative models that describe how individual cells interact and organize in order to generate complex life forms. Our main interests lie in:

  • multicellular pattern formation
  • transcriptional regulation in the context of development
  • molecular limits to biochemical sensing
  • emergence of collective behaviors in multicellular system
Description of a representative project:

The dynamic organization of the genome in time and space plays a crucial role in the functional specification of a cell. In particular the interplay between multiple distant enhancers and their target gene promoters has critical mechanistic consequences on gene activity patterns during cell differentiation and development. We are developing state-of-the- art high-resolution live imaging techniques to resolve multiple enhancers in space and time to correlate the 3D motion of the DNA polymer with gene activity. The challenge is to develop the right imaging modalities that optimize our need for high temporal and spatial resolution, and to image a large field of view with multiple (≥ 4) colors simultaneously.

Expected profile of the candidate:

Candidates will have a strong interest for collaborative and interdisciplinary research. They should have a proven successful track record equipped with a combination of the following skills:

  • live-cell microscopy, single molecule imaging
  • microscope design and implementation
  • hard- and software design for microscope control
  • computational image analysis

Ability to work independently and in collaboration with members of the lab and international collaborators in a dynamic, diverse and multinational group is essential. English is the working language.

Contact: thomas.gregor@pasteur.fr Applications should include a statement of research interests and motivation, a CV, and contact information for three references. Applications will be reviewed as soon as they are received. Funding is available for multiple positions; long-term funding is possible upon mutual agreement.

To identify genes regulating the assembly and the disassembly of RNA/protein complexes, the group of F. Besse (iBV, Nice) has started a genome-wide screen relying on high throughput imaging of cultured cells. The goal of this screen is to identify mutant conditions in which the properties (number, size, distribution…) of RNA/protein particles labeled with a fluorescent protein are altered. Automatic image analysis methods are required to quantitatively and statistically analyze the millions of images generated by the screen, and to identify classes of mutants.

The candidate will develop a statistical and classification framework to identify and characterize different populations of genes having an impact on the population of RNA/protein particles. This includes (i) the definition of a diffeomorphism that maps any individual cell into a common space (mean shape or model), (ii) the definition of a spatial statistical framework to define a notion of configuration of particles as an additional characterization of a cell (mean configuration, covariance), and (iii) the development of an unsupervised classification scheme.

The candidate will work under the supervision of Xavier Descombes and Eric Debreuve (Centre INRIA Sophia Antipolis/I3S; http://www-sop.inria.fr/morpheme/), in close collaboration with biologists from F. Besse’s team (Fabienne de Graeve and Florence Besse). The position is funded for 12 months and should start on the 1st of March 2018 at the latest.

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