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Research Fellow (BIFoR)

University of Birmingham - School of Biosciences

Location: Birmingham
Salary: £30,395 to £39,609
Hours: Full Time
Contract Type: Fixed-Term/Contract
Placed On: 17th April 2019
Closes: 31st May 2019
Job Ref: 81150

FTC for up to 3 years

Grade   7

Full time starting salary is normally in the range £30,395 to £39,609. With potential progression once in post to £42,036 a year.

The Birmingham Institute of Forest Research (BIFoR) was established in 2013, thanks to a private donation, in order to address the fundamental issues that are challenging forests. The Institute works to address two major challenges: the impact of climate and environmental change on woodlands, and the resilience of trees to invasive pests and pathogens. 

As part of the BIFoR initiative, the University of Birmingham seeks to appoint Postdoctoral Research Fellows (posts 81150, 81151) to work in a JABBS-funded project under the umbrella of the Action Oak initiative. Reporting to group leaders Dr Kettles, Dr Luna-Diez and BIFoR director Prof Nicola Spence, the post-holders will work towards maximising oak tree defence capacity to provide broad-spectrum protection from pathogens.

This section of the JABBS-funded project aims to understand the role of immune sensors of the receptor-like protein (RLP), receptor-like kinase (RLK) and nucleotide-binding and leucine-rich repeat (NLR) classes to oak tree resistance against the bacterial complex associated with acute oak decline (AOD) and the oak powdery mildew (OPM) fungus. A significant part of the work will involve computational and statistical analysis of transcriptomic datasets generated from both mature oak trees and seedlings. The postholder will have access to resources and support of the BIFoR network and the BIFoR-FACE climate change experiment.

Main duties

The responsibilities may include some but not all of the responsibilities outlined below.

  • Conduct laboratory and glasshouse-based tree pathology research with occasional field visits to the BIFoR-FACE site.
  • Generation, analysis and interpretation of omics datasets, primarily RNAseq.
  • Take lead role in the production of research manuscripts and future grant applications.
  • Present research at departmental seminars, national and international conferences.
  • Assist with supervision of PhD, MSci and undergraduate students.
  • Contribute to developing innovative models, techniques and methodology for tree pathology research.

Person Specification

  • The candidate will have a strong background in plant biology, pathology, forestry, molecular biology or bioinformatics with a PhD in a related discipline. Experience with computational and statistical analysis of RNAseq datasets is highly desirable.
  • Experience of handling and manipulation of bacterial or fungal pathogens.
  • Evidence of a publication record in high-quality, peer-reviewed international journals.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills.
  • Ability to self-motivate and work well as part of a growing team.
  • Enthusiasm to mentor junior lab members at all levels. The successful candidate will be senior lab member in the PIs absence.
  • Understanding of and ability to contribute to broader management/administration processes within the university.

Closing date:     31.5.2019

Informal enquiries should be directed to

To download the details and submit an electronic application online please click on the Apply Online button below; please quote Job Reference in all enquiries. Alternatively information can be obtained from 0121 415 9000 or visit

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