Host  institution and PhD Awarding institution: Uppsala University (UU), SE

Primary Supervisor:  Dr. Graham Budd

Co- Supervisor: Dr. Ralf Janssen

Project duration: 36 months

Project description: The priapulid worms are a particularly interesting group as they are large and very poorly studied; furthermore, they bear a close resemblance to worms present in the Cambrian fossil record. In order to elucidate the origin of derived ecdysozoan anterior systems, DC8 will therefore study the detailed cellular morphology of the anterior of the priapulid worm Priapulus caudatus, using electron microscopy (array tomography SEM, TEM, DESEM). DC8 will also generate a single-cell transcriptomic dataset for Priapulus. The data on its cellular morphology thus obtained will then be compared to EM data on other ecdysozoans, notably the worm C. elegans, and the onychophoran Euperipatoides. In particular, the structure of the nervous system and any sensory structures, essentially unknown up to now, will be characterised and compared in a phylogenetic context. This project will be placed within an evolutionary framework informed by the excellent fossil record of ecdysozoan evolution in the Cambrian.

Required applicant profile: Applicants should have a Masters degree in science, preferably in Biology. Practical experience in microscopy and/or image analysis will be an advantage. Strongly motivated students from other disciplines (e.g. palaeobiology) are also encouraged to apply. Applicants should be able to communicate fluently in English.

Application deadline: 5th March 2024

How to apply: Interested candidates in the first place should contact Graham Budd ( who will direct them to the appropriate link when it is available.