Research Staff in Drosophila Symbiosis and Reproduction

Open Rank Positions on Functional Genetics of Fly Reproductive Microbiology:

We are recruiting at all ranks (tech, staff scientist, postdoc, research prof, etc) to optimize and accelerate knowledge and applications on the genes and molecular mechanisms used in the battles between insect reproduction and selfish bacterial symbionts the manipulate gametogenesis, chromatin, and embryogenesis. The key focal symbiont is Wolbachia and its bacteriophage WO which lie at the hart of mayor evolutionary changes in flies and vector control strategies to curb the transmission of Zika and dengue viruses to humans. 


Send to in a single pdf a (i) a cover letter that summarizes the relevant experience and specific reasons for interest in the research topics; with start date (ii) a CV that includes contact information for three+ references (name, position, mailing address, telephone number, and e-mail address) and (iii) 1st authored publications, posters, or seminar slides (include these materials as whole files in the single pdf so the research portfolio can be reviewed).


The Bordenstein laboratory ( seeks several staff members (postdoc, staff scientist, technician, research professor) to work as part of an experienced, diverse team focused on the rules of animal-microbe endosymbiosis in Drosophila flies and Nasonia wasps. Open projects include:

· Genetics and mechanisms of symbiont-induced male killing using Drosophila melanogaster transgenics, cell biology, reproductive biology, microscopy, and multi-omics (PLOS Pathogens 2019, eLife 2021). The project seeks to determine the genetic and molecular bases by which Wolbachia symbionts target male-specific pathways to kill males that ultimately help spread the symbiont through host populations. Experience in biochemistry, microscopy, enzyme assays, ChIP-Seq, Drosophila genetics, and reproductive biology are well suited for the goals of this project.

· Genomics and lytic functions of bacteriophages in animal endosymbionts using protein purifications, enzyme assays, cell culture, and transgenics in D. melanogaster (Nature Communications 2016, PLOS Genetics 2022). This project will determine a novel mechanism by which phages in endosymbionts lyse bacteria and animal cell membranes using a combination of approaches spanning biochemistry, enzyme assays, antibody development, microscopy, quantitative PCR, Drosophila transgenics, E. coli protein expression, and evolutionary analyses of selection and divergence.

· Functional genetics and cell biology of how animal hosts keep symbiont densities in check (Current Biology 2018). The goal of this project is to determine the number and types of genes and their mechanisms of action that keep Wolbachia symbiont densities low inside the reproductive tissues of animal ovaries and testes in the Nasonia parasitoid wasp model. These animal genes may be novel and unannotated and afford an opportunity to complete the first forward-genetics analysis of variation in host suppression of symbionts. Experience in entomology, reproductive biology, genetics, molecular biology, microscopy, immunofluorescence, etc. are well suited for this position. 


Applicants will have demonstrated ability to plan, execute, interpret, document, and troubleshoot multi-faceted independent research, and to operate effectively alone and with members of a research team, multiple departments, and the campus-wide Microbiome Center. The successful candidate will importantly have a sense of urgency in their projects and high professionalism to accomplish new tasks that may be unfamiliar to them. Please detail evidence of these characters in your cover letter. There will be opportunities to mentor junior members of the lab and campus community, write manuscripts and grants to grow and fund research, and join a vibrant symbiosis and microbiome community at Penn State. Excellent organizational, presentation, scheduling, and verbal communication skills are required. A strong interest in professional development is ideal.