Predoctoral Internships

Predoctoral internships are aimed at individuals who want to gain practical experience in advance of starting a PhD. An internship is where an individual works to strengthen their professional experience before embarking on a PhD. Interns will be trained in a wide variety of techniques and skills, including but not limited to molecular biology, plant pathology, plant biology, bioinformatics, biochemistry/proteomics, and cell biology. Candidates are expected to have a BSc or MSc degree and are looking at this as an experience to enrich their training and experience prior to entering a PhD program.

Predoctoral interns are not guaranteed to enter the PhD programme but the experience should strengthen their application for PhD studies at TSL or elsewhere. At the end of the internship, the Group Leader will conduct a formal performance review and a reference letter will be provided accordingly.



The duration of the internship can vary dependent on the Group Leader from at least 6 weeks to no longer than 12 months, but will typically last for 6-12 months.


To apply

If you are interested in a Predoctoral Internship in one of our Scientific or Support Groups, please contact the group leader directly.


Internships currently available

Pre-doctoral Internship on the Effector Biology of Phakopsora pachyrhizi, the Causal Agent of Asian Soybean Rust

A pre-doctoral internship is available in the 2Blades group of Peter van Esse at the Sainsbury Laboratory. The current project is designed to investigate the biological role of soybean rust effectors and to identify the putative host targets of these effectors. The intern will deploy state-of-the-art methods to functionally characterize P. pachyrhizi effectors. The intern will get professional training on wide variety of techniques and skills including transient expression systems, proteomics, cell biology, and molecular plant pathology. Candidates are expected to have BSc or MSc degree. A strong interest in plant immunity and fungal biology is required. This internship offers invaluable work experience in a world leading laboratory in advance of starting a PhD program. We offer a salary within the technical staff Grade scale grade 3 £16,654 PA. The internship will be up to a 12 months appointment and will be available in the first instance from 15th of March 2018.

The Sainsbury Laboratory (TSL) is a world leader in plant and microbial science that is dedicated to making fundamental discoveries in the science of plant-microbe interactions. For more information please visit The 2Blades Foundation is a U.S. nonprofit organization that discovers and advances technologies that significantly reduce, or entirely prevent, crop disease in order to improve agricultural output and the lives of people around the world. For more information please visit

The position is open until filled, but we will begin selecting applicants for interview from January  15th 2018.

Applicants should provide a CV, including the names and contact details of two or more referees, and a cover letter of no more than one A4 addressing the selection criteria. Applications may be submitted online using the ‘Apply’ button on the vacancy page which can be found at this link – Alternatively applications may be sent, quoting the reference PvE04/2017, either by e-mail to or by post to Lynda Barnes, HR Administrator, The Sainsbury Laboratory, Norwich Research Park, Colney, Norwich, NR4 7UH, UK


Pre-doctoral Intern in the Krasileva Group

Our comparative genomics analysis of plant immune genes across flowering plants, including crops, highlighted candidate genes with distinct evolutionary patterns across both monocot and dicot species. To test the hypothesis that these genes are involved in disease resistance, we have devised a project to validate their role in disease resistance using the model plant species, Arabidopsis thaliana. The project will include genotyping of multiple A. thaliana T-DNA mutants using PCR, phenotyping mutants in a range of conditions including with pathogens, cloning and agro-infiltration among other skills. Confirmed functional genes will then be targeted for CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing in both Arabidopsis and crop species, such as wheat and tomato.

Students will be encouraged and supported to expand the project using their own initiative following discussion with mentors in the group. The expected involvement in current group’s research is summarized below. An experienced candidate will be encouraged to enhance research in the group with their previously acquired techniques.

Expected role:

  • Genotyping mutant Arabidopsis lines using PCR
  • Crossing Arabidopsis lines
  • Performing pathogen inoculations and other disease resistance assays
  • Observing developmental and/or conditional phenotypes of Arabidopsis T-DNA mutants
  • Molecular cloning of plant immunity genes for Agroinfiltrations to observe immune response in Nicotiana benthamiana system
  • CRISPR/Cas9 design
  • Data analyses and contributions to manuscript preparation
  • Contributing to scientific discussions within the group
  • Interactions with other groups at TSL and Earlham and a wider scientific community

The duration of the internship is initially for 6 months.

Salary will be within the UEA Technical Staff Grade at £16,654 per annum (pro-rata)

Applicants should provide a CV, including the names and contact details of two referees, and a covering letter. Applications may be submitted online using the ‘Apply’ button on the vacancy page at this link – Alternatively applications may be sent by e-mail to or by post to HR Manager, The Sainsbury Laboratory, Norwich Research Park, Norwich NR4 7UH, UK. 

Informal enquiries should be directed to