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Postdoc offer : HoBiS (Hominin BipedalismS) : Anatomical and Functional Exploration of bipedal gaits in non-human primates.

par ROMAIN Odile - publié le

Postdoctoral Research Position in Biological Sciences :

Comparative anatomical and gait analysis of non-human primates : Research on anatomical and biomechanical bases of bipedal gait in non-human primate models by means of integrative experiments in relation with anatomical modelling and gait simulation, in the frame of the multidisciplinary project « HoBiS ».

Duration : 18 months postdoctoral position
Starting date : March 2019.

- Context
This Postdoc position is funded by the French ANR agency within the framework of the national collaborative project entitled “HoBiS (Hominin BipedalismS) : Exploration of bipedal gaits in Hominins” (Projet-ANR-18-CE27-0010-01) led by Gilles Berillon (UMR7194 CNRS-MNHN-UPVD). HoBiS is a fundamental and multidisciplinary research project, centered on paleoanthropological questions : the habitual bipedalism, one of the most striking features of the human lineage, and its various past forms. It will integrate and improve the fundamental and technical knowledge of different scientific domains : Hominin’s anatomy, functional anatomy and comparative biomechanics, as well as anatomical modeling and motion simulation, in order to develop a computer-assisted modelling of plausible musculo-skeletal models and bipedal gait simulations of primates, including fossil hominines based on available anatomical knowledge. Its challenges include (1) inferring plausible complete anatomies from partial fossil remains and (2) linking these reconstructed anatomies to plausible bipedal gaits thanks to simulation. This requests to gather a large database of comparative anatomy and gait biomechanics.

- The postdoctoral position
The tasks of the recruited person will be :

  • 1) to gather the largest comparative anatomical and gait database for a variety of non-human primate (NHP) species of varied morphology and size, including data available among partners of HoBiS ;
  • 2) to drive an integrative experimental analysis of bipedal gait in captive cercopithecines (baboons and macacas), from the training tasks in case of individual analysis (olive baboons) to the lab-based anatomical and gait analyses using imaging and motion technical platforms of partners.

This unique fundamental knowledge will be used to train and validate the computer-assisted modelling of plausible musculo-skeletal models and gait simulation.

The home laboratory of the postdoctoral position is the Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle (MNHN partner), that is acknowledged for its strong expertise in evolutionary anthropology, hominin locomotor anatomy, comparative anatomy, and functional exploration of NHPs, its collections and technical platforms. The successful applicant will be geographically assigned into two research units of the MNHN partner under the co-supervision of Gilles Berillon and François Marchal :

  • The Laboratory ADES, UMR 7268 (Marseille) in the Bioarchéologie et Paléoanthropologie team, for the experimental component of the project on captive cercopithecines housed at the CNRS Primatology Station ;
  • The Laboratory HNHP, UMR7194 (Paris), in the PaleoFED : Palaeoanthropology : Functions, Evolution and Diversity team to enlarge the comparative database to a large variety of non-human primate species and to train and validate the computer assisted modelling ;
    in close collaboration with the FunEVOL team of the Laboratory MECADEV, UMR7179 (Paris).

The recruited postdoc will spend a significant part of her/his time at the Primatology Station of the CNRS and the technical platform Motion Analysis of Primates that it houses, for the primate training tasks and the experimental component of HoBiS.

The recruited postdoc will collaborate with the 3 other partners of the HoBiS project : the MimeTIC INRIA team (Rennes), the CNRS Laboratory for Analysis and Architecture of Systems, LAAS (Toulouse) and the FunMorph Lab, Department of Biology at the Antwerp University (Belgium).

The recruited postdoc will write scientific papers and present his/her work in international conferences, write reports/documentation for the HoBiS project, will participate in the meetings and joint works of the HoBiS project. A budget is dedicated to travels and publication fees to encourage scientific publications all along the PhD.

The recruited postdoc will have a laptop and an office, with all the facilities proposed by these laboratory and their technical platforms.

- Technical skills

Technical skills concern the integrative anatomo-functional analysis of gaits in NHP which combines classical comparative anatomical exploration, anatomical modelling, morphometrics as well as lab-based gait analysis. In addition, the individual integrative analysis require skills in animal training, especially primates, so that these primates tolerate an experimental dispositive in their close environment.

- Qualifications and job requirements

Requirements include a Ph.D. in Biology and a record of achievement in both anatomical and biomechanical comparative analysis, especially in non-human primates.

Requested diploma :

  • PhD in Biology

Required :

  • Training and experience with locomotion analysis in NHP and non-dolorous laboratory based functional exploration (Integrative Motion analysis, anatomical and morphological modelling)
  • Training and experience with primate behavior
  • Habilitation to drive experiments on animal models and knowledge in rules of animal experimentation as well as animal welfare
  • The ability to work independently on her/his own tasks and in collaboration within an interdisciplinary research group
  • Skills in time management and ability to coordinate research through to publication

Recommended :

  • Strong knowledge in evolutionary biology and evolutionary anthropology
  • Strong knowledge in primate anatomy
  • Experience in anatomical exploration, both dissection and virtual reconstruction
  • Knowledge in methods in animal training

- To apply :

  • Submit, by January 11th, 2019 :
  • A cover letter expressing the candidate’s experience and interest in the topic of the project
  • CV including the full list of publications and a summary of main experiences related to the topics of the postdoc.
  • A selection of 3 publications
  • Names of 2 references – They may be requested to send us a supporting letter

- Contacts for further information about the position :

  • Gilles Berillon (gilles.berillon@mnhn.fr)
  • François Marchal (francois.marchal@univ-amu.fr)

Application must be sent by email to gilles.berillon@mnhn.fr and francois.marchal@univ-amu.fr