We are hiring!

Postdoctoral position in the Unckless Lab at the University of Kansas

We invites applications for a postdoctoral position that will focus on the evolution of immune peptides. We recently found that several Drosophila antimicrobial peptides show signatures of balancing selection (the adaptive maintenance of multiple alleles). This position would involve dissecting the mechanisms of balancing selection on these peptides using a combination of approaches including population genetics (examining signatures of balancing selection on immune genes), genetics (allele replacement using CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing with subsequent fitness and infection assays), microbiology (minimum inhibitory concentrations, zone of inhibition assays) and biochemistry (structural and functional studies using circular dichroism, NMR, etc.). The goal is to understand how balancing selection maintains alleles from the ecological to the biochemical level.

Please see the Opportunities page for more information.

Several new papers and preprints from the lab

Members of the lab have published or posted preprints for several papers in the last month or two…


  • Hill, T, BS Koseva and RL Unckless. 2019. The genome of Drosophila innubila reveals lineage-specific patterns of selection in immune genes. Molecular Biology and Evolution Advanced access. doi: 10.1093/molbev/msz059 (link to MBE)

  • Zanders, SE and RL Unckless. 2019. Fertility costs of meiotic drivers. Current Biology 29:R512-R520. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2019.03.046. (link to Current Biology)

  • Duxbury, EML, JP Day, DM Vespasiani, Y Thüringer, I Tolosana, SCL Smith, L Tagliaferri, A Kamacioglu, I Lindsley, L Love, RL Unckless, FM Jiggins, B Longdon. 2019. Host-pathogen coevolution increases genetic variation in susceptibility to infection. eLife. 8:e46440. doi: 10.7554/eLife.46440. (link to eLife)


  • Hill, T, and RL Unckless. 2019. A Simple Deep Learning Approach for Detecting Duplications and Deletions in Next-Generation Sequencing Data. bioRXiV 657361. doi: 10.1101/657361. (link to bioRXiV)

  • Hill, T. 2019. Transposable element dynamics are consistent across the Drosophila phylogeny, despite drastically differing content. bioRXiV 651059. doi: 10.1101/651059. (link to bioRXiV)

Congratulations to Mariaelena Nabors for being named a KINBRE Star Trainee!

The K-INBRE “Star Trainee Program” is designed to identify outstanding prospective biomedical researchers during their junior year in college, and provide financial support during the senior year. This capstone program will support students with extensive research experience (minimum of 3 semesters of research experience). Star Trainees are expected to present their research (poster or oral presentation) at the annual K-INBRE Symposium.

Mariaelena was earned this award for her proposal to study the evolution of immune defense in Drosophila. She’s off to UCSF for an REU program this summer and then she will start thinking about graduate schools. We are so proud of her!