University of Dundee

Postdoctoral Assistant (in Plant Molecular Biology)

Plant Sciences
Job Reference: 
Closing Date: 
Sunday, March 10, 2019
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.

Day to Day Reporting to: Dr Davide Bulgarelli

Reporting Line Manager: Dr Davide Bulgarelli

Duration of employment: 6 months from March 2018.

Role Purpose

• The post is supported by a Horizon 2020 Innovation Action supported by the European Commission (‘CIRCLES’). The position will be integrated into DB’s lab long-term efforts to gain novel insights into the microbiota populating the root-soil interface, and determine its presumed contributions to plant growth and health, in different crop plants;

• This is part of a multinational consortium. The post holder will be based and will be executing the experiments in Dundee. However, at least a short trip to Southern Europe is expected to gather the initial samples.

• The post holder will optimise a protocol to quantify the microbial communities thriving in association with field-grown crop plants using a next-generation sequencing approach.

• The post-holder will gather the data from these experimental lines and will report directly to Dr Bulgarelli and other members of the CIRCLES consortium. In addition, the post holder will discuss and fine-tune experiments with other members of the lab at scheduled lab meetings.

Principal Duties:

•Advising local partners in collecting rhizosphere and plant specimens;

•Analysis of next-generation sequencing data (i.e., 16S rRNA gene sequencing library);

•Presentation of data in verbal and written form, keeping high quality record (written and electronic);

•Manuscript writing and editing;

•Following health and safety guidelines;

•To make sure that the tight deadlines of the project are adhered to;

•Co-ordinate own work with others to avoid conflict or duplication of effort.

Decision Making, Planning and Problem Solving

•The planning of the project would be done by Dr Bulgarelli in conjunction the post holder and other members of the CIRCLES;

•Results would be collated and analysed by the post-holder and discussed with other members of the Bulgarelli’ s lab and CIRCLES consortium.

Knowledge and Experience

•Experience in analysing amplicon sequencing libraries using open source tools (e.g., QIIME, R…) is essential;

•Previous experience in assisting with the supervision of undergraduate students as well as participation in outreach initiatives will be an advantage.


•Essential PhD in Plant Molecular Biology or related disciplines;

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). 

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.


•The post holder will be based at the James Hutton Institute in Invergowrie, on the outskirts of Dundee.

For Informal Enquires contact: Dr Davide Bulgarelli, University of Dundee at the James Hutton Institute,,

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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.