Postdoctoral Researchers

Postdoctoral position in the Unckless Lab at the University of Kansas

The Unckless lab at the University of Kansas 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.
The successful candidate should have experience in some of the approaches listed above and would be able to develop skills in some of the other approaches. The position is ideal for someone with a broad background in evolution who would like to get more experience with molecular techniques or someone with experience using molecular techniques but would like to incorporate an evolutionary perspective into their scientific thinking.
The Unckless Lab studies evolutionary genetics in general with a focus on the evolution of immunity and selfish genetic elements (meiotic drive). The University of Kansas is home to both the Department of Molecular Biosciences and the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and members of the lab interact directly with other labs spanning biochemistry, microbiology, genetics, genomics, evolution and ecology. Lawrence, Kansas is a vibrant college town with plenty of good food, cultural events and a wonderful downtown area. The cost of living is very reasonable. We are about 45 minutes from Kansas City.
For more details including required and preferred qualifications and directions about how to apply, please visit and/or inquire directly with Rob Unckless ( The start date is flexible but could be as soon as Fall 2019.
The University of Kansas prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, religion, sex, national origin, age, ancestry, disability, status as a veteran, sexual orientation, marital status, parental status, retaliation, gender identity, gender expression and genetic information in the University’s programs and activities. The following persons has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies and are the Title IX  Coordinators for their respective campuses:  Director of the Office of Institutional Opportunity and Access, , Room 1082, Dole Human Development Center, 1000 Sunnyside Avenue, Lawrence, KS, 66045, 785-864-6414, 711 TTY (for the Lawrence, Edwards, Parsons, Yoder, and Topeka campuses; Director, Equal Opportunity Office, Mail Stop 7004, 4330 Shawnee Mission Parkway, Fairway, KS  66205, 913-588-8011, 711 TTY (for the Wichita, Salina, and Kansas City, Kansas medical center campuses).

Graduate students

KU has an active group in evolutionary genetics spanning both the Molecular Biosciences and Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Departments.  My primary appointment is in Molecular Biosciences, but I can take graduate students from either department.  This allows for the flexibility to follow either a MB program or an EEB program.  Deadlines are December 1st for EEB and December 15th for MB each year, so contact me ahead of time if you are interested. Also, please see the KU Drosophila group recruiting website

Undergraduate students

We are always looking for bright, hard working undergraduate students interested in learning the ropes in a scientific laboratory.  Contact me for more information.