University of Dundee

Postdoctoral Research Assistant

Plant Sciences
Job Reference: 
Closing Date: 
Monday, November 12, 2018
Grade 7 (£32,236 - £39,609)
The School of Life Sciences at the University of Dundee is a world-class academic institution with a reputation for the excellence of its research, its high quality teaching and student experience, and the strong impact of its activities outside academia. With 900 staff from over 60 countries worldwide the School provides a dynamic, multi-national, collegiate and diverse environment with state-of-the-art laboratory, technology and teaching facilities.

A BBSRC-funded Post-doctoral position to unravel the barley genetic control of the rhizosphere microbiota is now available in the group of Dr Davide Bulgarelli

Over the last years our lab demonstrated that the barley genome is a determinant of host-bacteria interactions in the rhizosphere. Here we want to extend our investigations with the ultimate aim of resolving the causal genetic variants that underpin differential microbiota recruitment. We want to address three fundamental questions: what kind of plant genes shape the rhizosphere microbiota? How do these genes influence root phenotypes? Are specific configurations of the rhizosphere microbiota, driven by these plant genes, causally related to yield? To address these questions will pursue three interconnected objectives. In particular the appointed PDRA will:


(1) identify barley genes shaping the rhizosphere bacterial microbiota. The PDRA will use 16S rRNA gene profiles as quantitative traits and we will search for molecular markers co-segregating with bacterial abundances. We will then interrogate barley genetic resources to identify candidate genes at the given locus and asses their distribution in cultivated and wild germplasm;
(2) determine whether allelic composition at the loci shaping the microbiota correlates with patterns in the exudation profiles and root morphology, since these traits have been shown to affect the assembly of the rhizosphere microbiota. In parallel, s/he will identify root genes differentially regulated between lines harbouring contrasting alleles at the locus of interest;

(3) determine the impact of microbiota recruitment on crop yield by growing plants hosting contrasting microbiota in soils under sufficient and limiting nitrogen supplies.

Applicants must have a PhD in molecular biology, microbiology or plant sciences. Previous experience with host-microbe interactions in plants will be an advantage. Ideally, applicants should have published research in a high-ranking scientific journal as first author. Experience in data analysis using open access tools, e.g., R, is desirable but not essential. Applicants should have excellent written and spoken English communication skills and should be able to work both independently and as part of a team. Willingness to take part of outreach initiatives of the University is also a requirement.

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, £31,302).

Full-Time, Fixed-Term for 3 years.

For further information and informal enquiries please contact Dr Davide Bulgarelli (

The project is a collaboration between the Bulgarelli’s lab and the labs of Prof Robbie Waugh and Prof Geoff Barton

We are one of the UK’s leading universities – internationally recognised for our expertise across a range of disciplines and research breakthroughs in multiple areas, including science, medicine and engineering, amongst many others. Conveniently located on the banks of River Tay, our main city-centre campus is at the heart of Dundee - an up-and-coming, friendly, compact and affordable city with a rich heritage in design and technology. Just a short walk from the V&A Museum of Design Dundee, we’re close to both the train and bus stations. We also have campuses at Ninewells Hospital and in Kirkcaldy which are easily accessible via local transport links.

Applications: Candidates should submit a single document containing a cover letter, brief description of relevant research experience, a CV with publication list, and email addresses of three referees.

Apply Here

The diversity of our staff and students helps to make the University of Dundee one of the top universities in the UK. Family friendly policies, staff support networks for BME and LGBT staff, membership of Athena SWAN and Stonewall, as well a full range of disability services, create an enjoyable and inclusive place to work.