Postdoctoral Researcher

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John Innes Centre

The John Innes Centre is an independent, international centre of excellence in plant science and microbiology, carrying out fundamental and strategic research, to train scientists and making our findings available to society.

Our research makes use of a wide range of disciplines in the biological and chemical sciences including; cell biology, biochemistry, chemistry, genetics and molecular biology.

We pride ourselves on being a welcoming and inclusive working environment for all. We have a diverse and multicultural scientific community and thrive on our European and international links. We are proud to hold a prestigious Athena SWAN Gold award, recognising the impact of our work in promoting gender equality in science. We are also a proud member of the Stonewall Diversity Champion’s programme and, as a Disability Confident employer, guarantee to offer an interview to all disabled applicants who meet the essential criteria for the post.

The John Innes Centre is a registered charity (No. 223852), limited by guarantee (registered in England No. 511709) and is an Equal Opportunities Employer.

Post Details

Job Title
Postdoctoral Researcher
Post Number
1003496
Closing Date
31 Jul 2018
Grade
SC6
Starting Salary
£31,250 - £38,100
Hours per week
37
Project Title
Applying genomics-driven surveillance to the wheat yellow rust pathogen
Expected/Ideal Start Date
07 Jan 2019
Months Duration
24

Main Purpose of the Job

Apply a "field pathogenomics" approach to undertake comprehensive global population genetic analyses of the wheat yellow rust pathogen. This pathogen possesses a significant threat to wheat production in all major wheat-growing areas of the world and has recently re-emerged as a major constraint on UK agriculture. The appointee will generate next-generation sequencing datasets from infected field samples and explore associations and track dispersal on a national and international scale. This is a very exciting opportunity for the applicant to join a multi-national and multi-institutional project to address key questions in pathogen evolution, dispersal and adaptation.

Department

Crop Genetics

The Department of Crop Genetics undertakes fundamental research on the biology of cereals, brassicas and legumes to understand the genetic and molecular basis of phenotypic variation. A major goal is to develop the technologies and knowledge base to provide a predictive framework that will underpin conventional and novel plant breeding strategies. This will enable high-yielding, stress and disease resistant varieties, with a particular end-use quality, suitable for an efficient but benign agriculture.

Group Details

The Saunders group focuses on studying (re-)emerging plant pathogens that pose significant threats to UK agriculture. We use an array of different approaches, integrating molecular genetics, microbiology, plant pathology, population genetics, genomics and data mining to improve our understanding of how pathogens cause disease. For instance, we have numerous projects studying the wheat yellow rust pathogen, Puccinia striiformis f. sp tritici that is a substantial threat to wheat production worldwide and more recently re-emerged as a major constraint on UK agriculture.

Advert Text

Applications are invited for a Postdoctoral Researcher to join the Laboratory of Dr Diane Saunders at the John Innes Centre, Norwich, UK.

The Saunders Group:

The Saunders group focuses on studying (re-)emerging plant pathogens that pose significant threats to UK agriculture. We use an array of different approaches, integrating molecular genetics, microbiology, plant pathology, population genetics, genomics and data mining to improve our understanding of how pathogens cause disease. For instance, we have numerous projects studying the wheat yellow rust pathogen, Puccinia striiformis f. sp tritici that is a substantial threat to wheat production worldwide and more recently re-emerged as a major constraint on UK agriculture.

The role:

The appointee will apply a "field pathogenomics" approach, which was developed in the Saunders group, to undertake comprehensive global population genetic analyses of the wheat yellow rust pathogen (Hubbard et al., Genome Biology 2015, 16:23). This pathogen possesses a significant threat to wheat production in all major wheat-growing areas of the world and has recently re-emerged as a major constraint on UK agriculture.

The appointee will generate next-generation sequencing datasets from infected field samples and explore associations and track dispersal on a national and international scale. The work will involve an array of techniques in population genetics, evolutionary biology and next-generation sequencing technologies.

This is a very exciting opportunity for the applicant to join a multi-national and multi-institutional project to address key questions in pathogen evolution, dispersal and adaptation.

The ideal candidate:

Candidates should possess a PhD in population genomics or similar subject. They should have experience of population genetic analysis on large complex data sets, and strong bioinformatic skills. Experience of giving oral research presentations is essential, and experience of supervising and mentoring students is desirable.

Additional information:

Salary on appointment will be within the range £31,250 to £38,100 per annum depending on qualifications and experience. This is a fulltime contract for a period of two years.

For further information and details of how to apply, please visit our web site http://jobs.jic.ac.uk or contact the Human Resources team on 01603 450462 or nbi.recruitment@nbi.ac.uk quoting reference 1003496.

We are an equal opportunities employer, actively supporting inclusivity and diversity. As a Disability Confident organisation, we guarantee to offer an interview to all disabled applicants who meet the essential criteria for this vacancy. The John Innes Centre is also proud to hold a Gold Award from Athena SWAN and is a member of Stonewall’s Diversity Champions programme.

Key Relationships

The appointee will join a large research group at the John Innes Centre and be expected to interact with other members of the Saunders group, whilst also interacting with other researchers working on wheat rust diseases at the John Innes Centre. They will also be required to liase with international project partners. They will be expected to work relatively independantly with oversight from the group leader.

Main Activities & Responsibilities

Percentage
Plan and execute bioinformatic and population genetic analyses that are relevant to the project
80
Prepare results, reports and manuscripts for publication in leading scientific journals and other relevant media
10
Disseminate research findings though presentations to various audiences at internal, national and international meetings
5
Contribute to the smooth running of the group, including the effective use of resources, supervision of visitors to the laboratory and assisting with training others, encouraging scientific excellence
5
As agreed with line manager, any other duties commensurate with the nature of the role

Education & Qualifications

Requirement
Importance
PhD (full award or expected within 6 months) or equivalent in population genetics or related discipline
Essential
BSc or equivalent in Biology or a relevant subject
Essential

Specialist Knowledge & Skills

Requirement
Importance
Experience of population genetic analysis on large complex datasets
Essential
Experience of working with next-generation sequencing datasets
Essential
Skills in bioinformatics relevant to the post
Essential

Relevant Experience

Requirement
Importance
Demonstrated ability to perform research and develop novel ideas
Essential
Experience of oral research presentations
Essential
Experience of supervising, training and mentoring visitors and students
Desirable

Interpersonal & Communication Skills

Requirement
Importance
Excellent communication skills, both written and oral, including the ability to present complex information with clarity
Essential
Good interpersonal skills, with the ability to work as part of a team
Essential
Demonstrated ability to work independently, using initiative and applying problem solving skills
Essential
Excellent time management and organisational skills
Essential
Ability to collaborate with internal and external stakeholders
Essential
Promotes and strives for continuous improvement
Essential

Additional Requirements

Requirement
Importance
Promotes equality and values diversity
Essential
Attention to detail
Essential
Ability to organise and prioritise multiple tasks
Essential
Ability to maintain confidentiality and security of information where appropriate
Essential
Willingness to work outside standard working hours when required
Essential
Ability to undertake occasional travel (national and international) related to collaborations and/or seminars
Essential