Research Associate

University of York - Centre for Novel Agricultural Products

The McQueen-Mason research laboratory uses an in-depth knowledge of plant cell walls to improve the valorisation of plant biomass for biorenewables. The open air burning of rice straw represents a serious source of air pollution in Asia. Improving the quality of this straw will enable the biomass to be used for biorenewables and animal feed instead.

As a Research Associate you will use genome wide association studies (GWAS) to identify key genes that are involved in biomass quality, before employing a range of genetic tools to investigate the biochemical changes in cell walls resulting from alterations in the expression of candidate genes. You will apply molecular genetic approaches, including the use of insertion lines or CRISPR/CAS approaches for knocking out gene function, and the production and characterisation of recombinant proteins. Analytical studies of the plant cell wall will include a range of methodologies to study polysaccharide and lignin composition. You will have the opportunity to apply your experience and gain knowledge in one or more of the following: HPLC, MS and NMR.

The position will require you to work as part of a team and to be able to present scientific work clearly and precisely. You will be required to plan and prioritise your own work in order to meet deadlines, and will demonstrate initiative to plan research programmes. The successful applicant will demonstrate that they are able to conduct research, analyse and interpret research data, and will have experience of writing up research work for publication.

The successful applicant will have a PhD in plant science and a knowledge of plant cell walls, sufficient to enable them to engage in high quality research. A knowledge of plant genetics and statistics is desirable. They will be able to show evidence if their use of plant molecular biology techniques and plant cell wall analytical methods.  Experience in applying plant genetics and using mass spectrometry, nuclear magnetic resonance, and polysaccharide /lignin analysis techniques are also desirable.

The role is full time (37 hours a week) and is offered on a fixed term contract for 18 months. Salary will be in the range £31,076- £38,183 a year. The closing date for applications is 17 August 2017 and interviews will take place on 7 September 2017. Please send informal queries about the position to Simon McQueen-Mason ( or Leonardo Gomez (

For further information and to apply on-line, please click on the ‘Apply’ button below.

The University of York is committed to promoting equality and diversity.

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Northern England