Postdoctoral Research Associate in Biology at University of Edinburgh

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Дедлайн: 17.05.2019



A postdoctoral position is available to join the group of Peter Keightley to work on the evolutionary impact of spontaneous mutations. As the ultimate source of genetic variation, new mutations play a central role in evolutionary biology. The rate of spontaneous mutation and the genetic basis of variation from mutations are key to many unresolved questions, including the fate of small populations, the evolution of ageing and the genetic basis of quantitative trait variation.

We aim to study two unique resources developed in our lab, in which mutations are expected to accumulate at radically different rates. The first is a highly replicated set of spontaneous mutation accumulation (MA) lines in mice, the first such set of lines in any mammalian species. Each MA line is bred for many generations in the near-absence of natural selection, leading to molecular and phenotypic divergence among lines. The second is a set of replicated MA lines (maintained for ~1,000 generations) in different strains and species of the single-celled green alga Chlamydomonas. We will address questions concerning the nature of the new mutational variation affecting the genome, gene expression and quantitative traits.

Applicants should have or shortly obtain a PhD in a relevant subject, e.g., evolutionary genetics or genomics. Experience in bioinformatics will be an advantage. Candidates should have an outstanding academic track record commensurate with their career stage and experience. She/he is expected to be active in developing the project and to contribute to an enthusiastic working atmosphere. Candidates will benefit from training in a vibrant intellectual and collaborative environment in the UK's largest evolutionary biology institute. The project is funded by an ERC Advanced Grant to Peter Keightley and Diethard Tautz (MPI Ploen, Germany) and has substantial funds for computing, sequencing and travel.

The position is offered on a full time, fixed term basis until 31st December 2021.

Salary: £33,199 - £39,609 per annum.

Closing date for applications is Friday 17 May 2019 at 5pm.

1. Job Details

Job title: Postdoctoral Research Associate 
School/Support Department: School of Biological Sciences 
Unit (if applicable): Institute of Evolutionary Biology 
Line manager: Peter Keightley

2. Job Purpose

To contribute to the development of a programme of high quality research in the field of evolutionary genetics on the nature of variation from new mutations in mice and/or Chlamydomonas. The post-holder will conduct original research, produce material for publication and dissemination and suggest future avenues of investigation.

3. Main Responsibilities

  • Responsible for the planning and execution of specific elements of the research project, acting under general guidance from the PI. Conduct work a part of a team on the nature of variation from new mutations using techniques including next generation genome sequencing and associated bioinformatics analysis, statistical analysis of quantitative trait analysis, and RNA-seq. Ensure all data production and recording is handled with integrity and that records and documentation are maintained correctly (Approx 60% of time)
  • The post-holder will maintain accurate and up-to-date records to document the research progress and take a lead role in writing up data for publication. Data will be presented at lab meetings to make data available for other research staff. Presentation of research findings at national and international level is also required. (Approx 25% of time)
  • To provide guidance and supervision to junior staff and students on the project as required. (Approx 5% of time)
  • Keep up to date with relevant scientific developments through literature review, seminar attendance etc. (Approx 5% of time)
  • Contribute to laboratory maintenance, ordering of supplies, maintenance of equipment, complete COSSH and other safety forms to ensure the smooth functioning of the laboratory. (Approx 5% of time)

  • 4. Planning and Organising

    • The post-holder will plan and manage own programme of research activity on an ongoing basis, to ensure that the research is conducted in accordance with the research timetable. 
    • Assist more junior members of the research team in planning and scheduling of their workload, in accordance with the demands of the overall project.

    5. Problem Solving

    • The post holder is expected to resolve most problems using accumulated experience, with only the most serious non-standard issues reported to the line manager for assistance. 
    • To use creativity and initiative to identify areas for research, develop new research methods, diversify the research parameters. 
    • Use initiative to analyse and interpret research data, and draw conclusions from it. 
    • Use initiative to help other researchers in the team to resolve project problems and develop new techniques and methods, as appropriate.

    6. Decision Making

    • Taken independently: Organise own workload according to priority and adapt as necessary, setting of short-term time-lines, design experimental set-up to address specific research aims 
    • In collaboration with others: Problem solving and data interpretation, experimental design and discussion of short-term research aims and potential new research strategies 
    • Referred to manager: Overall timelines, changes of direction, response to serious and unexpected events, identification of the best way forward and interpretation of complex data (although input to these areas is expected). 
    • Level of Direction Given: Line manager will offer general orientation and advice, in addition to support in developing and implementation of research strategy, there will be an appropriate degree of independence

    7. Key Contacts/Relationships

    Internal: Line Manager and members of the immediate research team, members of other labs, and students, School Professional Services staff (Staffing, Health and Safety, Building Manager) 
    External: Collaborating researchers in the UK and others as appropriate

    8. Knowledge, Skills and Experience Needed for the Job



    A PhD (or shortly to obtain a PhD) in evolutionary genetics or other closely related field.



    Attention to detail. 
    Ability to work independently. 
    Good record-keeping. 
    Data analysis appropriate to experimental evolution. 
    Effective project and time management skills 
    A proven track record in delivering high quality data suitable for publication


    Expertise in bioinformatics. 
    Expertise in code writing in the Linux environment. 
    Expertise in handling next generation sequencing data. 
    Expertise in quantitative genetics. 
    At least one first-author publication in a respected peer-reviewed journal

    Knowledge, Skills and Competencies


    High degree of self-motivation and ability to work under pressure while maintaining a high degree of accuracy 
    Ability to work independently 
    Ability to communicate effectively both orally and in writing 
    Effective project and time management skills 
    Good interpersonal skills

    Personal Attributes


    Enthusiasm and commitment to research 
    Motivation and initiative to drive a project forward successfully


    Creativity and adaptability to identify and develop new lines of enquiry

    9. Dimensions

    To work as part of Peter Keightley's group comprising approximately 4 research staff and students.

    10. Job Context and any other relevant information

    This is a demanding but exciting opportunity for an ambitious, driven individual to develop their research skills

    Application Procedure

    All applicants should apply online by clicking the apply link at the bottom of this page and submitting an up to date CV. The application process is quick and easy to follow, and you will receive email confirmation of safe receipt of your application. The online system allows you to submit a CV and other attachments.

    You will be notified by email whether you have been shortlisted for interview or not.

    Closing date for applications is Friday 17 May 2019 at 5pm.

    Eligibility to Work

    In accordance with the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006 and Immigration Act 2016 the University of Edinburgh, as an employer, has a legal responsibility to prevent illegal working and therefore must check that all employees are entitled to work in the United Kingdom (UK). 
    To do so, the University requires to see original documents evidencing right to work in the UK before commencement of employment and this is normally carried out at interview. Details will be provided in any letter of invitation to interview.

    For further information on eligibility to work please visit our eligibility to work webpage 

    If you are from outside the EEA and not currently eligible to work in the UK, there are visa routes that may be available to you, for example:

  • Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent): If you are an academic in the field of sciences; humanities; engineering; medicine; digital technology; or the arts, it may be possible for you to apply for a Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa. This route requires you to apply to be endorsed as an internationally recognised leader or emerging leader in your particular field by a designated competent body (Arts Council England, British Academy, Royal Academy of Engineering, Royal Society, Tech City UK). However, if you are applying for a senior academic role, e.g. Professor/Reader there is an accelerated route to endorsement. Further information can be found on the UKVI website
  • Tier 2: The University is a UKVI licensed sponsor and is able to issue a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) to successful candidates who are offered highly skilled roles and meet the eligibility criteria. The CoS enables candidates to apply for a Tier 2 (general visa).

  • Further information about whether you require a visa and other visa routes can be found at: 

    Conditions of Employment

    Pension Scheme

    This role is grade UE07 and therefore the post holder is automatically included in membership of the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS), subject to the USS membership criteria, unless they indicate that they choose not to join the Scheme.

    For further information please visit our Pensions website .


    The role is grade UE07 and attracts an annual salary of £33,199 to £39,609 for 35 hours, each week. Salary is paid monthly by direct transfer to your Bank or Building Society account, normally on the 28th of the month. Salaries for part-time staff are calculated on the full-time scales, pro-rata to the Standard Working Week.

    The University reserves the right to vary the candidate information or make no appointment at all. Neither in part, nor in whole does this information form part of any contract between the University and any individual. 
    var links = document.querySelectorAll(".targetLink"), i, j, aTags, string; for(i=0; i The Institute of Evolutionary Biology (IEB) At the Institute of Evolutionary Biology we study evolution in the broadest possible sense, from virtually every angle and using a great range of organisms and techniques.

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