Post-doctoral Research Associate Talbot Group - Computational Biologist NT03/2022

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Investigating septin-mediated plant infection by the rice blast fungus

The Sainsbury Laboratory is seeking to recruit a Post-doctoral Research Associate to join a UKRI-funded project in the laboratory of Prof Nick Talbot FRS. The project will explore the biology of septin-dependent infection by the rice blast fungus Magnaporthe oryzae. Rice blast disease is the most serious disease of cultivated rice and a significant constraint on global rice production.

The ideal candidate will have strong skills in bioinformatics, comparative and evolutionary genomics, and gene functional analysis. Strong computational skills, extensive experience with data analysis pipelines, a willingness to work within a multi-disciplinary team of informatics specialists, and a keen interest in functional genomics, transcriptional profile analysis and microbial pathogenesis are essential. Experience with fungi would be very valuable.

The aim of this interdisciplinary research project is to understand how morphogenetic proteins called septins condition the ability of a pathogenic fungus to cause disease within a plant. The rice blast fungus uses a pressurised infection cell called an appressorium to breach the tough outer layer of plants. Once inside plant tissue, the fungus then develops a second type of infection structure, called a transpressorium, which it uses to move from one rice cell to the next. Recent evidence has shown that heteromeric septin complexes are necessary for the function of both appressoria and transpressoria. This ambitious research project will define the molecular basis of septin recruitment, organisation and function within these infection structures. The new postdoctoral research associate will join an existing team of specialists studying the biology of septins and infection-related development in M. oryzae.

Candidates should have a willingness and enthusiasm to work in a multi-disciplinary team and interact fully in the TSL research community. They should have good writing and presentational skills and a strong interest in plant-microbe interactions.

Candidates will be educated to PhD level or working towards completing a PhD.

The post is offered on a 3 year basis subject to successful completion of a 6 month probationary term. Commencement date February 2023 onwards.

Salary will be within the UEA Research and Analogous Salary Scale, Grade 7 at between £35,333 to £42,155. Appointment level will depend on qualifications, knowledge and skills.

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. TSL has expanded its scientific mission not only to continue providing fundamental biological insights into plant-pathogen interactions, but also to deliver novel, genomics-based solutions that will significantly reduce losses from major crop diseases, especially in developing countries.

We offer 30 days annual leave, a generous pension scheme and the opportunity to develop skills and knowledge. We are located on an attractive campus offering cultural and recreational activities. We are committed to creating and promoting a diverse and inclusive workforce and we provide a supportive working environment for all colleagues.

Please send formal applications, quoting the relevant reference. Applicants should provide a CV, including the names and contact details of two or more referees, and a covering letter of no more than one A4 addressing the selection criteria.