Home | J.W. Jenkinson Laboratory for Evolution and Development


* TWO POSTDOC POSITIONS AVAILABLE * (click here tinyurl.com/WythamDToL1 and here tinyurl.com/WythamDToL2)

The principal focus of our laboratory is the interplay between genes, embryos and evolution. We research the links between these areas for two reasons: to understand the genetic basis of morphological diversity, and to illuminate human biology. Homeobox genes are a particular focus of our research group. Currently, we are addressing the role of homeobox genes in early development of the embryo and in the biology of the gut and pancreas, and using comparisons between species to understand how homeobox genes gain new roles. We are also partners in a £9.4M Wellcome Trust-funded collaboration with the Sanger Institute and several other organisations to sequence, assemble and annotate complete genomes from 2000 UK species. This new 'Darwin Tree of Life' project has been described as the foundation of a new platform for biology.

In earlier work, we used homeobox genes to provide the first clear evidence for genome duplications in early vertebrate evolution, provided new insights into the evolution of the vertebrate head, discovered and named the ParaHox gene cluster, provided a robust classification of all animal homeobox genes, and traced the evolution of the ANTP gene class including the Hox, ParaHox and NK gene clusters that play pivotal roles in patterning the body plan. We were also involved in the genome consortia for amphioxus, oyster, tapeworms, gar, butterfly and opisthokont protists. For information on the members of the laboratory, for publications, or for information on joining our research laboratory, please follow the links from this page.

A thousand animal genomes: Update 21 January 2020: We are seeking to recruit TWO POSTDOCTORAL POSITIONS to become involved in the Darwin Tree of Life project, funded by the Wellcome Trust. Our focus is primarily the genomes of arthropods and other invertebrates from Wytham Woods. We are looking to recruit people with expertise in some or all of the following: identification and taxonomy of insects or other invertebrates, genome analysis and bioinformatics. For information click here tinyurl.com/WythamDToL1 and here tinyurl.com/WythamDToL2 or email peter.holland@zoo.ox.ac.uk or owen.lewis@zoo.ox.ac.uk.

Research fellowships: I always welcome enquiries at any time from potential research fellows who wish to write their own fellowship application to join the research group. 

PhD opportunities: If you are interested in doing a PhD in the research group, please first send an email (peter.holland@zoo.ox.ac.uk). The University of Oxford has a large number of fully-funded scholarship opportunities for 3-year 'Direct' or 4-year 'DTP' PhD programmes (see http://www.zoo.ox.ac.uk/graduates/applying), or you may have access to scholarships from other sources. Possible projects include focus on the relation between genome evolution and animal evolution, especially in mammals, insects and marine invertebrates; see these webpages for details. Projects can be lab-based or computer-based (or both). We can also suggest mathematical/statistical projects in collaboration with others e.g. https://www.stats.ox.ac.uk/research/genome/projects/currentprojects. For most lab- or computer-based projects, however, the most appropriate route of entry is likely to be the 4-year DTP in Interdisciplinary Bioscience (http://www.biodtp.ox.ac.uk/) because this entry route offers many scholarships.