Research Officer (Genomics of Lice)

LL57 2DG, Bangor
Starting Salary: £33,199 (Grade 7) p.a. (in pound sterling)
November 21 2018
Life Sciences, Genomics
Position Type
Full Time
Organization Type


Applications are invited for the above 11 month, full-time post on genomics of lice working in the School of Natural Sciences. 

Duties will include the bioinformatics, the assembly and analyses, of genomes of lice (mites, humans/primates) and endosymbionts, and the evolutionary interpretation in relation to their human and primate hosts.  The research involves a collaboration with the University of Reading (Perotti) and Oxford University Museum of Natural History (Mann).  It focuses on the peopling of South America and involves work on lice from mummies (ancient DNA).   

Candidates should be educated to PhD standard (or near completion or equivalent),  in biology, bioinformatics or related field  and have previous experience in genome analyses. 

The successful candidate will be expected to commence 1st January 2019, or as soon as possible thereafter.

Applications will only be accepted via our on-line recruitment website, However, in cases of access issues due to disability, paper application forms are available by telephoning 01248 383865.

Closing date for applications: 20th December 2018.

Committed To Equal Opportunities

Bangor University was established in 1884 and currently has over 11,000 students. It comprises 14 Academic Schools grouped in to 3 colleges. The College of Environmental Sciences and Engineering at Bangor University is one of the leading centres in the UK for teaching and research in biology, environmental sciences, geography, ocean sciences, chemistry, computer science and electronic engineering. The University was awarded a Gold rating in the recent UK Teaching Excellence Framework. 

The College of Environmental Sciences and Engineering has over 2300 students and 350 teaching and support staff, and consists of three academic schools and the BioComposites Centre. The School of Natural Science (SNS) is a school within this College. SNS has a world-class reputation in research, with particular expertise in the biological sciences in molecular ecology, fisheries genetics, ancient DNA, evolutionary and conservation biology, biogeochemistry, biohydrometallurgy, plant product biochemistry and (plant) stress physiology, wetland biogeochemistry, neurophysiology of crustaceans, animal responses to stress and applied microbiology. In a broader environmental context our research interests include forest ecology and management; environmental studies and soil science; agricultural systems; agroforestry; biodiversity conservation; and tropical ecosystems. Internationally excellent research in Chemistry covers the areas of materials chemistry, chemistry at the life Sciences interface and computational and theoretical chemistry.

The University itself owns two important facilities with high relevance for our research and teaching in conservation science and ecology: Treborth Botanic Garden, and Henfaes research Farm. The university’s botanic garden at Treborth was founded more than 50 years ago and maintains collections of more than 2000 species of plants across seven glasshouses replicating tropical and subtropical habitats. The gardens cover 30 acres of high canopy forest including ancient woodland, as well as species-rich natural grasslands. An attractive teaching laboratory allows students and researchers to study the collections in detail. The gardens are also home to Europe’s largest below-ground laboratory (rhizotron), recently fully refurbished and equipped to enable sampling for research on below-ground processes below replicated experimental vegetation plots. The gardens are open to the public (and attract 35,000 visitors a year) and play an important role in the University’s public engagement mission. Unusually for any British botanic garden, university students play a vital role in the running and development of the garden, working in collaboration with a charitable group ‘the Friends of Treborth Botanic Garden’ who have more than 400 local members. Treborth is therefore a highly successful amalgam of town and gown, mutually beneficial to the University and the community. The University’s research farm Henfaes totals 252 hectares. It is unique in that its land goes from the sea to amongst the highest mountains in Wales, giving great diversity of habitats, land uses, climates, and geology on one farm. It hosts the Centre for Hill and Upland Management and the internationally important Coedydd Aber woodland National Nature Reserve (an EU Special Area of Conservation), as well as a range of tree-based field experiments including the UK silvopastoral national network experiment. The field research centre includes two modern laboratories, an automatic weather station with telemetry data transfer and a range of other infrastructure for research and teaching. The CEH solardome facility is co-located at Henfaes and is currently being used for research on the effects of ozone exposure on vegetation.

The Project:

This BBSRC-funded project aims to unravel early human migration in southern South America using Darwin's Fuegian lice. Lice cannot survive for more than a few hours off their host, so archaic and modern human lineages or species had to overlap in time and space to physically exchange their lice. This physical contact to exchange living head lice is a unique feature. Evidence about contact with no interbreeding, and the time of contact cannot be retrieved from any human sequencing, ancient or modern, only from lice. This project focuses on describing the diversity of human and primate lice and using genome analyses of modern and up to 180-year old lice specimens to identify with which archaic human lineage or species we had physical contact in the past and when.

Purpose of the Job:

The post is part of a collaboration with the University of Reading (MA Pertotti), the Natural History Museum of Oxford University (D Mann), and the Centre for Geogenetics (E Willerslev). The project involves the genome sequencing of modern and museum specimens. The interrogation of potential hybridisation events and the dating of lineage and species splits will be essential parts of the analyses.

The post holder will be responsible for planning, analysing and publishing a series of experimental studies while liaising with external and internal partners.

Main Duties and Responsibilities:

• Gathering and analysis of data, development of quantitative models and acquire and maintain a thorough and up to date knowledge of the scientific literature related to the research aims of the project and actively support the principal investigator. 
• Delivering research outcomes, to write up the results in scientific articles and discussing and sharing results with grant holders.
• Administration of the research project, to participate in project meetings and coordinate project to meet aims and objectives.
• Other duties and responsibilities specific to the role include advise and collaborate with Masters and PhD students within the research programme.

Other Duties and Responsibilities:

• The post holder will be expected to participate in performance review and developmental activities. 
• The post holder will be expected to comply with the University’s equality policies and statements, Dignity at Work and Study Policy and the University’s Welsh Language Scheme.
• The post holder has a general and legal duty of care in relation to health, safety and well-being and must take all reasonable steps to ensure a safe and healthy working environment for him/her self and for other members of staff, students and visitors affected by his/her actions or inactions. The post holder is also required to comply with all applicable health and safety policies, procedures and risk assessments. 
• The post holder must comply with relevant legal and financial policies and procedures and be aware of their responsibilities in terms of the legal requirements of their post.

Person Specification:

• A PhD (or near completion or equivalent),  in biology, bioinformatics or related field.  
• Research background in genome analysis.


• Experience in assembling whole eukaryotic genomes.
• Experience in analysing in depth whole eukaryotic genomes.
• Experience in writing manuscripts for publications in quality journals.

• Experience with ancient DNA.
• Experience with molecular clock analyses of genomic data.
• Experience with hybridisation analyses of genomic data.


• Demonstrate good verbal and written skills.
• Demonstrate good analytical skills, ability to analyse numerical data and present results appropriately.
• Demonstrate good computer skills, including MS Office, Powerpoint, Excel. This also includes knowledge of genome-related bioinformatics software including UNIX-based software.
• Demonstrate the ability to prioritise work load and work to deadlines.
• No specific Welsh language requirement. Candidates will be expected to work positively in a bilingual environment.

• Demonstrate proven project management skills.
• Demonstrate ability to work as part of a team. 
• Any other skills / abilities relevant to the duties and responsibilities.
• Demonstrate interpersonal skills.

All members of staff have a duty to ensure their actions are in line with the overall environmental aims of the University and minimise their environmental impact.

All offers are made subject to proof of eligibility to work in the UK and receipt of satisfactory references

All candidates must meet the requirements of UK ‘right to work’ requirements*

** If you require Home Office permission to work in the UK, or need to switch your visa status in order to take this job, please note that following the introduction by the Government of immigration limits on skilled workers we recommend you use the following link to information about the routes into employment and to check eligibility requirements: