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Molecular Microbiologist

Agriculture, Health and Environment

Location:  Medway Campus
Salary:  £27,924 to £33,309
Contract Type:  Fixed Term
Release Date:  Thursday 04 November 2021
Closing Date:  Saturday 18 December 2021
Interview Date:  To be confirmed
Reference:  2921-E

The Award-winning Natural Resources Institute (NRI) (www.nri.org) is an internationally renowned multi-disciplinary centre of the University of Greenwich that undertakes research, consultancy and training to support sustainable development and food security in the UK and globally. An opportunity has arisen for a post-doctoral research assistant to join the Agriculture, Health and Environment Department to support a new research project “Future Rodent Management for Pig and Poultry Health (RodentGate)”, which is part of a new European ERA-NET consortium fund for International Coordination of Research on Infectious Animal Diseases (www.icrad.eu). RodentGate aims to investigate how rodents spread diseases on livestock farms and generate new knowledge to develop future strategies to protect farm animals from rodent pest problems. The consortium includes partners from Belgium (University of Antwerp), the Netherlands (Dutch Pest & Wildlife Expertise Centre), Germany (Julius Kühn Institute) and Poland (National Veterinary Research Institute) where NRI’s funding comes directly through UKRI (BBSRC). More about the project can be found here RodentGate | Evolutionary Ecology Group - EVECO | University of Antwerp (uantwerpen.be)

NRI is recruiting a researcher in molecular biology to help identify potential diseases circulating in rodents, pigs and poultry in order to understand the role of rodents as reservoirs, vectors and mechanical spreaders of disease to livestock populations.  Samples from all countries involved will be screened at NRI’s  state of art molecular biology laboratories. Molecular identification of viral and bacterial pathogens will be initially undertaken through metagenomic screening of samples; repeated sampling of units will utilise more targeted testing for pathogens, tailored to individual farm concerns. The molecular diagnostics will be supported by serological work carried out by colleagues in Poland, and the outcomes of the molecular work will assist in other project research activities on farms to understand transmission dynamics among animals using novel Bluetooth tracking technology and to develop more sustainable rodent control technologies and practices.

The successful candidate will have a strong publication record and proven experience in molecular diagnostic of bacterial and/or viral diseases. Previous experience with multi-host or multi-pathogen systems would be beneficial. Specifically, the candidate will be involved in:

  1. Sample preparation
  2. Extraction of DNA and RNA from different types of tissue from rodents, pigs and poultry. 
  3. Testing samples using polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based methods.
  4. Using high-throughput sequencing technologies to detect and characterise viral and/or bacterial pathogens present in samples.
  5. Developing and optimizing diagnostic tests for viral and bacterial pathogens.
  6. Analyse the results and present the findings to rest of the project partners.
  7. Working as part of a multidisciplinary team of molecular biologists, veterinarians, ecologists and European research colleagues based in Germany, Poland, Belgium and the Netherlands.

The candidate will be based at NRI’s laboratories located in the historic University of Greenwich Medway Campus in Chatham, Kent. The Medway Campus has a rich naval history where its red-brick buildings were previously a Royal Navy base. Nelson's flagship HMS Victory was built at Chatham's Historic Dockyard. The campus also has amazing cafés and bars, an attractive piazza-style area with outdoor seating and plenty of green spaces, with a tennis court and on-site gym.

For more information about the post:, contact: Dr Sophie Bouvaine S.Bouvaine@greenwich.ac.uk and Dr Goncalo Ramalho E Silva G.Silva@greenwich.ac.uk

We are looking for people who can help us deliver our mission of transforming lives through inspired teaching and research, through our values.

The university welcomes people from diverse and underrepresented communities who can help the university to achieve its mission. 

We do this through taking positive action such as encouraging applications from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic, disabled and LGBT+ people. As part of our commitment to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, Time to Change Employer Pledge/Mentally Healthy Universities, we are committed to promoting and supporting the physical and mental health of all our staff, and removing barriers to improve inclusion. 

We encourage applicants to disclose experience of mental health problems so we can support them fully during our recruitment process and make any necessary reasonable adjustments. Any information disclosed will be kept confidential and separate from the job application form. 

We are making significant strides to understand and continuously improve our employees’ experience and we are committed to implementing progressive diversity talent management.

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Further details:    Job Description & Person Specification    

We aim to be an equal opportunities employer and welcome applications from all sections of the community. 


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