We are currently looking motivated graduate students having finished their university studies with a high academic mark, to apply for a FPU grant.

The PhD project is to study the function of piRNAs (Piwi-interacting RNAs) in the regulation of insect oogenesis, using the cockroach Blattella germanica as a model, a species with panoistic ovaries, the most basal ovarian type. The piRNAs are small non-coding RNAs (sncRNAs) that were first described in male germ cells of Drosophila melanogaster. They are involved in the control of transposable elements (TEs), as part of an evolutionarily conserved mechanism that protects the genome, preserving the fertility of the individual by ensuring the development of gametes. However, the role of piRNAs as regulators of mRNA expression is clearly emerging, which opens a new avenue for functional studies. 
Our objective is to study the piRNAs function in insect oogenesis using different approaches. We will prepare small RNAs libraries covering key moments of insect oogenesis in order to identify the functional piRNAs in insect ovaries. We will examine the functions of selected piRNAs using antagonists to deplete them or modified RNA oligonucleotides to increase their levels. The phenotypes will be analyzed using real-time PCR, immunofluorescence, and in situ hybridization. 

The proposed project will be carried out with the infrastructure and research experience of the groups of the “Functional Genomics and Evolution”, belonging to the Institute of Evolutionary Biology (IBE), a joint institute between the CSIC and the Pompeu Fabra University (UPF). The IBE is integrated into the Biomedical Research Park of Barcelona (PRBB), one of the largest research institutions in southern Europe, which provides its members with access to the most powerful and innovative equipment and infrastructures.

Please contact by sending a message to: mdolors.piulachs (see domain below), explaining the reasons (why, when), and accompanying a brief CV, including the academic marks.