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Postdoctoral Fellow & PhD Researchers in Evolutionary Neurobiology, University of Toronto Mississauga

The Senatore lab @ the University of Toronto is currently recruiting postdoctoral and Ph.D. researchers (start date of spring or fall 2017).

Genome sequencing has revealed that even our most distant animal relatives, including those that lack nervous systems, have most genes considered crucial for the specialized physiology of neurons and muscle. We know little, however, about the mechanisms by which primordial “nervous system” genes were adapted during evolution of the nervous system, nor about the molecular neurophysiology of the most early-diverging animal lineages.

In the Senatore lab, we seek to address these questions by integrating molecular biology, electrophysiology, pharmacology, transcriptome sequencing, bioinformatics, proteomics and behavioral analysis to compare the structure-function and physiology of nervous system genes from the most early-diverging animals, with homologues from humans and more closely related animals. Indeed, technological advances in recent years have opened up new opportunities for exploring the biology of non-model species, reinvigorating the advantages of broad comparative research for gaining general biological insights.

One emerging project involves elucidating cell-cell GPCR signaling in the basal invertebrate Trichoplax adhaerens, which lacks synapses and only bears six cells types. Five of these cell types appear homologous to either neuron, muscle, digestive, or endodermal/ectodermal epithelial cells. We are seeking to understand how these cells utilize secreted neuropeptides and neurotransmitters to activate GPCRs on other cells, in order to coordinate motile behavior such as feeding, chemotaxis, and phototaxis without the use of a nervous system. Thus, we seek to evaluate the evolution of ligand-GPCR communication streams between core metazoan cell types, including neuron-neuron, neuron-muscle and neuron-digestive. Such communication systems likely predate the nervous system, and helped shape the evolution of fast synaptic cell-cell communication.

Candidates should be highly motivated and have exemplified research success in the form of a strong publication record.

The postdoc position is available for one year, and is extendable on a one or two year basis upon mutual agreement.

Applicants should email a CV, the names and contact information of two academic references, and a brief description of how your research interests align with the described research to

Formal Ph.D. applications should be submitted to the University of Toronto, Department of Cell & Systems Biology (see

Additional Salary Information: Postdoctoral researchers will receive an annual stipend of $43,000 guaranteed for 2 years with possibility of extension. Ph.D. students are guaranteed an annual stipend of approximately $18,500 plus tuition and fees. For Canadian citizens or permanent residents, this amounts to an annual income of $26,992. International students receive elevated stipends of $41,104 to offset higher tuition fees. Note that stipends will be subject to small adjustments dependent on tuition rates for next year.

CUPE 3902 Unit 1

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