Postdoctoral position in molecular genetics of recognition of effectors from late blight (Phytophthora infestans) by Rpi genes

Closing Date: 28.02.2018 Reference ID: JJ01/2018 Salary: £32,548 - £38,833

Applications are invited for a Postdoctoral Researcher with skills in plant pathogen biology, molecular biology and genomics to join the Laboratory of Prof. Jonathan Jones at the Sainsbury Laboratory (TSL) with the goal of identifying effectors from Phytophthora infestans that are recognized by the potato blight resistance genes Rpi-amr3 and Rpi-amr1E (and its multiple alleles), isolated from Solanum americanum. The project is a collaboration with Paul Birch and Ingo Hein at JHI, Dundee, and the Kamoun lab at TSL.

Plant immunity is triggered upon pathogen effector detection by immune receptors. We have been using RenSeq sequence capture to accelerate cloning of Rpi- genes from S. americanum that act against P. infestans and have isolated several (see Witek et al (2016); To evaluate prospects for Rpi- gene durability it is essential to understand genetic variation in P. infestans races for presence/absence and allelic variation in the recognized effectors. We are using Pathogen Enrichment Sequencing, new PacBio assemblies and transcriptomics to identify gaps in the P. infestans effector inventory, and transient assays to identify recognized effectors. Rpi-amr1E alleles exhibit 85-90% identity, consistent with the possibility that they recognize sequence-unrelated effectors.

This position would suit researchers interested in the molecular mechanisms that underpin innate immunity signalling in plants and animals, with a strong focus on genomics. Once recognized effectors are identified, their distribution in world-wide P. infestans races will be assessed. The post-holder will work closely with senior researcher Dr Kamil Witek (

The Sainsbury Laboratory is a world-class centre for plant/microbe interactions and is looking to appoint an exceptional candidate who is educated to PhD level or working towards completing a PhD in genomics of host-pathogen interactions. The post-holder will have opportunities to develop their technical and transferable skills during the duration of the appointment through training programmes, coaching and mentoring.

The post-holder will have a keen enthusiasm for research and have long-term career aspirations in science. As well as the ability to carry out independent work they must also be a strong team player and have excellent communication skills. The successful candidate will join a multidisciplinary group with wide interests in molecular plant pathology.

Salary will be within the UEA Research and Analogous Staff Grade 7 scale at between £32,548 and £38,833 pa; the appointment level will reflect qualifications, skills, knowledge and achievements. The position is offered for 3 years.

Applicants should provide a CV, including the names and contact details of two referees, and a covering letter addressing the selection criteria. Applications may be submitted online using the ‘Apply’ button below. Alternatively applications may be sent, quoting the reference JJ01/2018, either by e-mail to or by post to Kim Wood, HR Manager, The Sainsbury Laboratory, Norwich Research Park, Norwich, NR4 7UH, UK.