Research Scientist – Arthropod Genetics Group

The Pirbright Institute

The Pirbright Institute delivers world-leading research to understand, predict, detect and respond to viral disease outbreaks. We study viruses of livestock that are endemic and exotic to the UK, including zoonotic viruses, by using the most advanced tools and technologies to understand host-pathogen interactions in animals and arthropod vectors. Our major strength in understanding the immune systems of livestock provides a platform to control current diseases and respond to emerging threats.

This is an exciting opportunity to join a new team developing gene drive systems in mosquitoes, specifically the “daisy drive” concept for locally-acting, safe, reversible gene drive systems (see  No daisy drive has yet been developed.  We aim to extend the current state of the art by engineering such systems, taking a synthetic biology approach.  Several related designs share various components, e.g. RNA-guided nucleases such as CRISPR/Cas9, and will be developed in parallel.  This is an iterative approach guided by mathematical models; conversely the models will be continuously refined by incorporating empirical data as it becomes available.  This is part of an international project that will develop daisy drive components and systems in several species including nematodes and mosquitoes, addressing ethical and legal issues, for example, as well as technical ones.  The Pirbright component will focus on mosquitoes, specifically Aedes aegypti, the primary vector of dengue, chikungunya and yellow fever viruses and Culex quinquefasciatus, the key vector of avian malaria in Hawaii and a vector of West Nile virus and filariasis elsewhere.

Personal behaviours

Enthusiastic, energetic, intellectually engaged, results-oriented, time management skills, reliability under pressure, decision-making and problem-solving skills, ability to delegate, negotiation and conciliation skills, business planning skills

Specific requirements


  • A bachelor’s or Master’s degree or equivalent in a relevant branch of biosciences (s)
  • Significant bench experience in a recognised R&D environment (s)
  • An excellent record of research productivity, relative to experience (s,i)
  • Evidence of experience and vision in scientific research (i)
  • Experience of insect research (i)
  • Evidence of good oral and written communication skills including the ability to communicate effectively within a team (i)


  • Experience of plasmid design and construction (s)
  • Evidence of leadership qualities in innovation in a multi-disciplinary environment (s)
  • Evidence of networking skills with the ability to build effective collaborative relationships (s)
  • Capacity to travel within UK and overseas, with long hours and occasional overnight or longer stays (s)

What we offer

  • Generous Group Personal Pension Scheme and life cover (subject to age and earnings)
  • 25 days annual leave per annum, pro rata, plus 10.5 public and privilege days
  • Pirbright gym with subsidised membership
  • Pirbright social club
  • Pirbright Lifestyle Hub (employee discount site)
  • Cycle to work
  • Subsidised staff restaurant
  • Childcare vouchers and a subsidised childcare allowance
  • Free onsite parking

Band C; from £27,355 with higher numeration considered depending on experience and qualifications

To apply for this vacancy please quote job reference number and send a copy of your CV with an optional cover letter to

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South East England