Postdoctoral Research Associate: Genetic Basis for Cyanogen Chemistry in Butterflies (Fixed Term)

University of Cambridge - Department of Zoology

A post-doctoral research associate position in Department of Zoology, located in Central Cambridge on Downing Street, is available from 1 November 2017 for 18 months, in the first instance, to work with Professor Chris Jiggins on the genetic basis for variation in chemical defences among Heliconius butterflies. The project will involve genetic analysis of chemical defence variability among Heliconius butterflies and in particular between H. melpomene and H. cydno, and CRISPR experiments to study the function of genes that are responsible for synthesising cyanogens. There is considerable scope for the focus of the biological analyses to reflect the interests of the candidate.

The successful applicant must have a Ph.D in evolutionary biology, chemical ecology or a related field, with a strong interest in speciation. Candidates should have experience with Gas Chromatography and chemical analysis of butterfly defensive toxins, as well as an understanding of the genetic basis for chemical defence in Heliconius. Candidates should have a good collaborative spirit, as the work will involve close collaboration with researchers in Cambridge and Panama as well as coordination with different labs working on Heliconius biology. Enthusiasm, determination and the capacity to work independently are also essential.

Duties will include:

  • Gas chromatography analysis of specimens collected in the wild;
  • CRISPR experiments to study the effects of candidate genes on chemical defence;
  • Designing and carrying out genetic experiments to investigate the genetic basis for chemical defence in Heliconius;
  • Analysing and writing up the results.

There will be opportunities for the successful applicant to apply for fellowship funding to continue this work independently in Cambridge.

Fixed-term: The funds for this post are available for 18 months in the first instance.

To apply online for this vacancy and to view further information about the role, please visit:

www.jobs.cam.ac.uk/job/14986. This will take you to the role on the University’s Job Opportunities pages. There you will need to click on the 'Apply online' button and register an account with the University's Web Recruitment System (if you have not already) and log in before completing the online application form.

Please quote reference PF13313 on your application and in any correspondence about this vacancy.

The University values diversity and is committed to equality of opportunity.

The University has a responsibility to ensure that all employees are eligible to live and work in the UK.

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South East England