Postdoctoral Research Associate

  • Salary:
  • Location: Edinburgh
  • Date: 1 week ago
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We are looking for a postdoctoral researcher to apply computational analyses to the study of cross-species communication mediated by small RNAs. The project involves comparative analysis of small RNA-producing loci in closely related gastrointestinal nematode parasites and analysis of changes in small RNA populations in response to variable environmental conditions (nutrient availability/co-infections).

This is a demanding but exciting opportunity for an ambitious, driven individual to develop expertise in small RNA biology and cross-species communication in a host-parasite context.

A PhD (or near completion) in evolutionary biology, computational biology, genomics, RNA biology, parasitology, ecology or related field is required . The ideal candidate will have previous experience in transposable elements and/or small RNA biology and experience in using/developing imaginative or innovative approaches to solving bioinformatic problems and/or evolutionary biology problems.

This project is funded by the Leverhulme Trust and involves a cross-disciplinary team of collaborators/advisors including Amy Buck (small RNA biochemistry), Amy Pedersen (ecology of host-parasite interactions in the wild), Darren Obbard (population genetics and small RNAs), Cei Abreu-Goodger (small RNA analyses and targets) and Mark Blaxter (nematode genomics). Please get in touch with Amy Buck or others for questions,

This is a full time post, available until 30th June 2022.

Salary:£33,797 to £40,322 per annum

Closing date: 18th June 2020 at 5pm

1. Job Details
Job title: Postdoctoral Research Associate
School/Support Department: School of Biological Sciences
Unit: Institute of Immunology & Infection Research
Line manager: Amy Buck

2. Job Purpose
To contribute to a multi-disciplinary research program on the role of small RNAs and transposable elements in cross-species communication. The post-holder will apply computational analyses to understand the evolution of small RNA-producing loci in closely related nematode parasites and build a framework for small RNA evolution and transmission between parasites and co-inhabiting organisms in the gut.

3. Main Responsibilities
(Approx % of time)

  1. Carry out comparative genomics to annotate small RNA producing loci in closely related nematode genomes and use computational analyses to classify extracellular sRNA populations under different environmental conditions. (70%)
  2. The post-holder will maintain accurate and up-to-date records to document the research progress and take a lead role in writing up data for publication. Data will be presented at lab meetings to make data available for other research staff. Presentation of research findings at national and international level is also required. (10%)
  3. To provide guidance and supervision to junior staff and students on related sRNA projects requiring computational analyses (15%)
  4. Keep up to date with relevant scientific developments through literature review, seminar attendance etc. (5%)

4. Planning and Organising
• The post-holder will plan and manage own programme of research activity on an ongoing basis, to ensure that the research is conducted in accordance with the research timetable.
• Assist more junior members of the research team in planning and scheduling of their workload, in accordance with the demands of the overall project.

5. Problem Solving
• The post holder is expected to resolve most general problems using accumulated experience, with the most serious non-standard issues reported to the line manager or collaborators for support.
• To use creativity and initiative to identify areas for research, develop new research/computational methods, diversify the research parameters.
• Use initiative to analyse and interpret research data, and draw conclusions from it.
• Use initiative to help other researchers in the team to resolve project problems and develop new techniques and methods, as appropriate.

6. Decision Making
• Taken independently: Organise own workload according to priority and adapt as necessary, setting of short-term time-lines, design experimental set-up to address specific research aims
• In collaboration with others: Problem solving and data interpretation, experimental design and discussion of short-term research aims and potential new research strategies
• Referred to manager: Overall timelines, changes of direction, response to serious and unexpected events, identification of the best way forward and interpretation of complex data (although input to these areas is expected).
• Level of Direction Given: Line manager and collaborators will offer general orientation and advice, in addition to support in developing and implementation of research strategy, there will be an appropriate degree of independence

7. Key Contacts/Relationships
Internal: Line Manager and members of the immediate research teams, members of other labs (Dr. Pedersen, Dr. Obbard), and students. School Professional Services staff (Staffing, Health and Safety, Building Manager). External: Collaborating researchers in Mexico (Prof. Abreu-Goodger) or Sanger (Prof. Mark Blaxter) and others as appropriate.

8. Knowledge, Skills and Experience Needed for the Job
• PhD (or near completion) in evolutionary biology, computational biology, genomics, RNA biology, parasitology, ecology or related field
• Expertise in computational analyses, gene regulation, or comparative genomics
• Experience in transposable elements and/or small RNAs
• Publications in peer reviewed journals
• Ability to communicate complex information clearly, orally and in writing

• Previous experience in bioinformatic analyses of small RNAs
• Wet lab experience in small RNA approaches
• Desire to seek future external support to develop the research area.

9. Dimensions
To work as part of the Buck lab comprising approximately 7 research staff and students and to also liase closely with Research Assistants in the Pedersen lab, as well as collaborators on the Leverhulme Award.

10. Job Context and any other relevant information
This is a demanding but exciting opportunity for an ambitious, driven individual to develop new expertise in small RNA biology and cross-species communication in a host-parasite context. Beyond the Buck lab, this research involves a dynamic cross-disciplinary team of collaborators/advisors including Amy Pedersen (ecology of host-parasite interactions in the wild), Darren Obbard (population genetics and small RNAs), Cei Abreu-Goodger (small RNA analyses and targets) and Mark Blaxter (nematode genomics).

Application Procedure
All applicants should apply online by clicking the apply link at the bottom of this page and submitting an up to date CV. The application process is quick and easy to follow, and you will receive email confirmation of safe receipt of your application. The online system allows you to submit a CV and other attachments.
You will be notified by email whether you have been shortlisted for interview or not.

The closing date is 5pm on Thursday 18th June 2020.

Right to Work
In accordance with the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006 and Immigration Act 2016 the University of Edinburgh, as an employer, has a legal responsibility to prevent illegal working and therefore must check that all employees are entitled to work in the United Kingdom (UK).
To do so, the University requires to see original documents evidencing right to work in the UK before commencement of employment and this is normally carried out at interview. Details will be provided in any letter of invitation to interview.
For further information on right to work please visit our right to work webpage
If you are from outside the EEA and not currently eligible to work in the UK, there are visa routes that may be available to you, for example:
  1. Global Talent: If you are an academic, researcher or technical specialist in the field of sciences; humanities; engineering; medicine; digital technology; or the arts, it may be possible for you to apply for a Global Talent visa. This route requires you to apply to be endorsed as an internationally recognised leader or emerging leader in your particular field by an endorsing body (Arts Council England, British Academy, Royal Academy of Engineering, Royal Society, Tech Nation, UK Research and Innovation (UKRI)). However, if you are applying for a senior academic role, e.g. Professor/Reader there is an accelerated route to endorsement. Further information can be found on the UKVI website
  2. Tier 2: The University is a UKVI licensed sponsor and is able to issue a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) to successful candidates who are offered highly skilled roles and meet the eligibility criteria. The CoS enables candidates to apply for a Tier 2 (general visa).

Please note if you were last granted leave to stay in the UK in any Tier 2 category in the 12 months immediately preceding an application and the leave has
• ended or expired.
• the CoS which led to that grant of leave was issued for more than 3 months, and
• you are either:
o applying for entry clearance from outside the UK, or
o you are in the UK and had a previous period of Tier 2 leave, but then changed ('switched') into a different immigration category and now wishes to apply again under Tier 2.
You must wait 12 months before applying again.

Further information about whether you require a visa and other visa routes can be found at:

Conditions of Employment

Pension Scheme
This role is grade UE07 and therefore the post holder is automatically included in membership of the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS), subject to the USS membership criteria, unless they indicate that they choose not to join the Scheme.
For further information please visit our Pensions website .

The role is grade UE07 and attracts an annual salary of £33,797 to £40,322 for 35 hours, each week. Salary is paid monthly by direct transfer to your Bank or Building Society account, normally on the 28th of the month. Salaries for part-time staff are calculated on the full-time scales, pro-rata to the Standard Working Week.

The University reserves the right to vary the candidate information or make no appointment at all. Neither in part, nor in whole does this information form part of any contract between the University and any individual.
var links = document.querySelectorAll(".targetLink"), i, j, aTags, string; for(i=0; i The Institute for Immunology and Infection Research (IIIR) IIIR conducts fundamental research across the areas of immunology, infection, genetics and epidemiology, in order to develop new interventions to control human and animal diseases. The Institute encompasses an exceptional breadth of pathogen research, from viruses to helminth parasites, on a wide platform of scientific approaches from functional genomics to mathematical biology. IIIR's environment and facilities offer outstanding opportunities for interdisciplinary research into immunology and infection. Our four main themes are: fundamental immunology; immune regulation of disease; molecular biology and genetics of parasites; and host-pathogen population biology. Research is funded by a wide range of sponsors including MRC, the Wellcome Trust, other charities, industry and the European Union.

IIIR has strong links with the Institute for Evolutionary Biology, in particular through the Centre for Immunity, Infection and Evolution ( (supported by the Wellcome Trust)), which promotes collaborations between basic and clinical scientists (through joint projects with the College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine), between empirical and mathematical scientists, and between immunological and evolutionary biologists.

School of Biological Sciences As the modern inheritors of our 400-year-old reputation for excellence, our staff and students contribute to a vibrant academic community whose visions are shaping tomorrow's world.

The School of Biological Sciences is at the leading edge in teaching, research and innovation. Independent rankings such as the Times Higher Education consistently place us amongst the top 25 universities in the world for biological sciences.

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Our research is wide-ranging in scope and is structured around themes which build links from fundamental science to research that addresses global problems. We are investing in growth and expanding our facilities to accommodate new research directions. Our aim is to create innovation and impact from our research by integrating expertise across our research themes to generate transformational new knowledge.

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The School of Biological Sciences holds a Silver Athena SWAN award in recognition of our commitment to advance the representation of women in science, mathematics, engineering and technology.

Our website contains more information about the School.
College of Science and Engineering ( ) The College of Science and Engineering (CSE) is one of the largest and highest-ranked science and engineering groupings in the UK. Headed by Professor David Robertson, CSE comprises seven Schools (Biological Sciences, Chemistry, Engineering, GeoSciences, Informatics, Mathematics, and Physics and Astronomy) as well as a national supercomputing centre (the Edinburgh Parallel Computing Centre) and the Bayes Centre for interdisciplinary data science and innovation. We extend beyond the University through many joint activities - for example we host the cross-Scotland DataLab innovation Centre, we are a founding partner in the Scottish Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre, and we are a partner in UK-wide collaborations including the Alan Turing Institute and the Rosalind Franklin Institute. Most Schools are located 2 miles south of the city centre at the King's Buildings whilst Informatics, EPCC and Bayes are located in the University's Central Area near George Square. The College has over 3,000 academic and support staff, and educates some 6,000 undergraduates, over 1000 taught postgraduates and more than 2,000 research students. It is in the front rank of UK university science and engineering groupings for research quality and income, and is a key player in many European and international research consortia.

Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014

In the 2014 REF over 95% of our staff were submitted. Of our seven submissions, four of which were as a joint research school in combination with a strategic research university partner through pooling, 3 were ranked top in the UK and all 7 were in the top 5 in their discipline in the Times Higher Power rankings.
The University of Edinburgh For more than four centuries, our people and their achievements have rewritten history time and again. They've explored space, revolutionised surgery, published era-defining books, paved the way for life-saving medical breakthroughs and introduced to the world many inventions, discoveries and ideas from penicillin to Dolly the sheep. We have believed that anything is possible, we still do.
The latest Research Excellence Framework highlighted our place at the forefront of international research. This adds to our international reputation for the quality of our teaching and our student experience excellence. The University is proud of its success with online teaching initiatives, with 2550 students currently studying its online distance learning postgraduate programmes, and a total to date of more than 2 million enrolments for Edinburgh MOOCs.

As a member of staff, you will be part of one of the world's leading universities, with 20 Schools spread over 3 Colleges that offer more than 1600 undergraduate and 600 postgraduate programmes to over 41,000 students each year. Professional services are critical to this success as well as our world-class teaching, research and student facilities. In fact, we are one of the top employers in Edinburgh, with over 14,500 people spread across a wide range of academic and supporting roles.

As a world-changing, world-leading university, we offer an exciting, positive, creative, challenging and rewarding place to work. We give you support, nurture your talent, develop and reward success and integrate academic, professional and personal career goals, as well as give your career the benefit of a great and distinguished reputation. In addition, our employees benefit from a competitive reward package and a wide range of staff benefits, which include generous holiday entitlement, a defined benefits pension scheme, staff discounts and much more. Access our staff benefits page for further information and use our reward calculator to find out the total value of pay and benefits provided.

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