Senior Postdoctoral Scientist

Band E; circ £40,000 with higher remuneration considered depending on experience and qualifications
October 02 2018
18P - 98
Position Type
Full Time
Organization Type

The Pirbright Institute

The Pirbright Institute delivers world-leading research to understand, predict, detect and respond to viral disease outbreaks. We study viruses of livestock that are endemic and exotic to the UK, including zoonotic viruses, by using the most advanced tools and technologies to understand host-pathogen interactions in animals and arthropod vectors. Our major strength in understanding the immune systems of livestock provides a platform to control current diseases and respond to emerging threats.

Our Institute is made up of a dynamic and vibrant community of staff covering a diverse set of chosen fields, backgrounds and experience. We all play a crucial role in furthering the Institute’s aspirations, advancing the frontiers of science and knowledge through our excellent scientific research, knowledge sharing and contribution; with a real focus in improving the world in which we live. Our outlook is always balanced by our strong sense of purpose, values and behaviours and an unwavering commitment to a ‘one Institute’ approach.

Organisation position and purpose:

The successful candidate will join the Vector Molecular Biology Group at The Pirbright Institute. Our group focuses on the analysis of the function of genes involved in mosquito development, and routinely uses transgenesis technologies, with the purpose of identifying targets for novel mosquito control approaches. We are looking for a highly motivated, ambitious and experienced postdoctoral researcher with a range of complementary skills in molecular biology, genetics and bioinformatics to assume a major role in a project to understand regulation and function of genes in Aedes aegypti and to implement that information to create gene drive systems in mosquitoes. He/she will be using state-of-the-art methods, including next-generation sequencing analysis and mosquito genome engineering to test selected target sequences in vivo in transgenic Aedes aegypti. Therefore, the ideal applicant would have experience in successful insect transgenesis.

Main duties and responsibility:

  • Carry out innovative, impactful research that will lead to novel and important scientific outcomes: be responsible for driving the project, contributing to experimental design and data analysis.
  • Conduct, with the help of a member of The Pirbright Institute’s bioinformatics group, next generation sequencing data analysis to identify mosquito target genes (training in the analysis of next-generation sequencing data will be provided if necessary).
  • Design and create complex plasmid constructs to assess the function of target genes and the activity of tissue- and developmental stage-specific promoters.
  • Generate, keep track of, and supervise maintenance of multiple transgenic mosquito lines.
  • Evaluate the phenotypes of the newly generated transgenic lines.
  • Work independently and effectively collaborate with the members of the group and with international project partners.
  • Actively engage in national and international conferences and seminars.
  • Publish research findings in scientific journals.

This job description is only an outline of the tasks, responsibilities and outcomes required of the role. The jobholder will carry out any other duties as may be reasonably required by his/her line manager. The job description and personal specification may be reviewed on an ongoing basis in accordance with the changing needs of The Pirbright Institute.

All employees shall actively participate in the Institute-wide quality assurance system in conjunction with the Institute’s Quality Manager. Employees are also expected to safeguard their own health and safety and security by following policies and all employees are responsible for the Health and Safety and security of staff under their management.

Personal behaviours:

Time management, reliability under pressure, action-oriented, ethical/credible, inspiring, creative, collaborative, diplomatic, results-driven.

Specific requirements:


  • PhD in molecular biology, genetics, or related discipline
  • Demonstrated ability to conduct innovative research
  • Demonstrated high level of relevant technical skill
  • A track record of publications in quality peer-reviewed international journals
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills
  • Enthusiasm and willingness to learn new skills
  • Strong self-motivation, ability to work effectively independently, as well as cooperatively in a team
  • Meticulous attention to details
  • Excellent organizational skills and ability to multi-task
  • Flexibility and adaptability to respond quickly to priorities
  • Ability to work to targets and tight deadlines


  • Research experience in insect transgenesis
  • Research experience of working with mosquito colonies
  • Research experience in transcriptomics and/or genetic engineering
  • Bioinformatics skills in next-generation sequencing analysis

What we offer:

  • Generous Group Personal Pension Scheme and life cover (subject to age and earnings)
  • 25 days annual leave per annum, plus 10.5 public and privilege days
  • Pirbright gym with subsidised membership
  • Pirbright social club
  • Pirbright Lifestyle Hub (employee discount site)
  • Cycle to work
  • Subsidised staff restaurant
  • Childcare allowance
  • Free onsite parking

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