Research Fellow - School of Biosciences

United Kingdom
£30,942.00 - £33,797.00
Aug 30, 2020
Sep 29, 2020
Organization Type
University and College
Full Time
Research Fellow, School of Biosciences

College of Life and Environmental Sciences

Grade 7

As this vacancy has limited funding the maximum salary that can be offered is Grade 7.30, salary £33,797

Full time/FTC until 30th December 2023

Closing Date: 27th September 2020

Applications are invited for a full-time Postdoctoral Research Fellow position (start date January 1st 2021) to work with Dr Philippa Borrill at the School of Biosciences, University of Birmingham. The successful candidate will work on a 3-year project, funded by BBSRC, to explore how gene expression is controlled and inherited in polyploid wheat.

Polyploid genomes contain multiple gene copies, known as homoeologs, which have been proposed to confer adaptive advantages for example through tissue specific expression. However, we lack fundamental knowledge about how homoeologs are regulated which will be needed to leverage the flexibility of polyploid genomes to increase food production and adapt our crops to cope with climate change. This project will explore the genetic and epigenetic factors that influence the inheritance of homoeolog expression patterns in wheat. This will provide a first step towards being able to manipulate homoeolog expression patterns for crop improvement.

The successful candidate will design, execute and analyse genomics experiments, although there is scope for molecular biology work. The candidate will be expected to have expertise in experimental design and statistical analysis; analyse large datasets of next generation sequencing data; develop reproducible pipelines for genomic analyses; prepare the results for and contribute to high quality academic publications; present at national and international academic conferences, and participate in public engagement activities. Furthermore, the candidate will be expected to play a central role in working with other research group members.

Role Summary
  • Work within the specified research project
  • Design and carry out experiments in wheat biology, genetics and epigenetics
  • Analyse and interpret research findings and results by use a range of bioinformatics and statistical approaches
  • Contribute to broader areas of project management and supervision of technicians/students in related research activities

Main Duties
  • Contribute to design of experiments
  • Develop research objectives and proposals
  • Analyse and interpret data
  • An ability to work independently and deal with problems that may affect the attainment of research objectives and deadlines
  • An ability to demonstrate good teamwork skills working with others on the project
  • Assist in supervision and training of students/technicians working on related projects
  • Disseminate research findings for publication and research seminars
  • Contribute to writing research funding applications
  • Participate and contribute to lab meetings and seminars
  • Present research findings, for example at seminars and as posters/talks at conferences
  • Undertake management or administration duties arising from research

Person Specification

  • A PhD (or near completion) in a relevant subject (e.g. genomics, plant biology, crop science, bioinformatics or similar)
  • Strong knowledge of genetics and genomics
  • Strong understanding of biology
  • Experience of working with next generation sequencing data
  • Experience of carrying out data analysis and developing analysis pipelines in a programming language e.g. R/python
  • Experience of working with plants or polyploid organisms or data from these species
  • Ability to conduct and manage original research
  • Ability to work both independently and as part of a team
  • Ability to communicate complex information clearly
  • Excellent academic writing skills for publication of research in high quality journals
  • Excellent academic presentation skills
  • Excellent organisation and time-management skills


  • Experience of plant or polyploid species genomics
  • Experience of version control (e.g. Git) and examples of previous work (e.g. through GitHub repository)
  • Experience in molecular biology
  • Supervision experience (undergraduates, masters, research assistants

For informal enquires, please contact Dr Philippa Borrill,

We value diversity at The University of Birmingham and welcome applications from all sections of the community '

Valuing excellence; sustaining investment

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