University of Dundee

Postdoctoral Research Assistant

Plant Sciences
Job Reference: 
Closing Date: 
Friday, June 22, 2018
Grade 7 (£31,604 - £38,833)

Exploring barley yield-associated gene networks

Applications are invited for a 36 month post-doctoral position funded by the BBSRC through the ERA-CAPs program for a collaborative project involving three top crop research institutes in Europe and the US. We are seeking to appoint an enthusiastic and motivated scientist to explore transcriptional networks underpinning yield components in cultivated barley.

Yield is determined by many interacting genetic and environmental factors. The goal of this project is to identify genes and regulatory networks that control morphological and developmental components of yield in barley, and to begin to understand how they interact to contribute to this complex phenotype. The three partners will separately focus on one of the three yield components: seed morphology, spike morphology, and productive tiller number. We will produce and use stage specific transcript abundance data from a total of six tissues collected individually from a population of barley plants, quantify the extent of natural variation for specific morphological and developmental yield-related traits, produce and use tissue specific transcript abundance data for genetical genomics (associative transcriptomics), construct regulatory networks underlying the target traits, identify trait specific candidate genes, and time permitting evaluate lines carrying mutations in a small number of these prioritised candidates.


Summary of Skills, Experience and Qualifications:

Applicants should have, or be about to obtain, a PhD, and have a solid background in genetics, bioinformatics/statistics and computational biology, preferably with research experiences of analyzing large and complex RNAseq datasets and carrying out regulatory network inferences using transcriptional data. Proficiency in R and capability to code for customized analysis is a must. Strong interest and prior evidence of developing and applying computational approaches to genetic data analysis would be advantageous.


College / Division Information:

The position is in the laboratory of Prof. Robbie Waugh at the University of Dundee (School of Life Sciences; Division of Plant Sciences - and will interact closely Dr. Runxuan Zhang and Micha Bayer at the James Hutton Institute. Dundee ( is currently ranked as the #1 University in the UK for life science research by the UK government research assessment (REF 2014) with world leading expertise in cell signalling and proteomics and outstanding laboratory and technology facilities for fundamental research and translation. With more than 900 staff from over 60 countries worldwide, the School of Life Sciences enjoys an international reputation as one of the most vibrant and productive research centres in Europe and is frequently voted “the best place to work in Europe” by readers of The Scientist magazine. The James Hutton Institute is the largest plant breeding and research institute in Scotland with particular expertise in translational plant science.


Appointment as a Postdoctoral Research Assistant on the Grade 7 salary scale is dependent upon you having been awarded a PhD. An appointment may be considered if you are shortly expected to be awarded a PhD. The initial appointment will be made as a Research Assistant on the Training Grade 7 salary scale (Spinal Point 28, £30,688).

This post is available for 36 months, Full Time, start date from July 1.


Informal enquiries are welcome: Prof Robbie Waugh,

                                              Dr. Runxuan Zhang, e-mail:

                                              Dr. Micha Bayer, e-mail;

Apply Here

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