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Research Associate

University of Sheffield - Faculty of Science - Department of Animal and Plant Sciences

Location: Sheffield
Salary: £31,866 to £33,797 per annum (Grade 7)
Hours: Full Time
Contract Type: Fixed-Term/Contract
Placed On: 22nd July 2021
Closes: 18th August 2021
Job Ref: UOS029345

You will join the NERC-funded project “The role of epigenetics in evolution”. This project takes a genomics approach to understand whether DNA methylation can be used as an accurate measure of individual age and ageing rate; this question is currently one of the hottest in evolutionary genetics research. The project will combine long-term life history data from one of the best-known long-term studies of a wild mammal, the Soay Sheep Project, with state of the-art whole-methylome sequence data. You will work alongside a second postdoctoral RA who will use the same data to study whether methylation status explains genetic and phenotypic variation. You will jointly lead the collection of methylome sequence data by preparing DNA samples and libraries which will then be sent for next-generation bisulphite sequencing at the NERC Environmental Omics Facility in Liverpool. You will be jointly responsible for bioinformatically analysing the data to identify and quantify methylated sites in the methylomes of 1000 Soay sheep. You will then take the lead in analysing the methylome data to understand how methylation can be used to build epigenetic clocks. You will identify sites that systematically change across individual lifetimes (chronological ageing) as well as sites that are sensitive to the conditions and life history events that an individual experiences (biological ageing). These analyses will require expertise in molecular quantitative genomics and the analysis of sequence data. Although the two postdoctoral research associates will work closely together, you will each have individual projects and research opportunities within the project. 

This is an exciting opportunity to undertake high-quality, international research on a novel, multi-disciplinary project that integrates cutting edge genomics techniques with one of the richest individual-based life history datasets of any mammal in the world. It is anticipated that at the end of the project the research associate would be competitive if applying for research-council funded fellowships.

Applicants must have a PhD in evolutionary quantitative genetics or population genomics (or equivalent experience), along with previous experience of analysing genomic data to understand phenotypic data. Experience using R to analyse phenotypic and/or genetic data e.g. running mixed models such as the 'animal model' is also essential.

The University of Sheffield is one of the best not-for-profit organizations to work for in the UK. The University’s Total Reward Package includes a competitive salary, a generous Pension Scheme and annual leave entitlement, as well as access to a range of learning and development courses to support your personal and professional development. We are committed to exploring flexible working opportunities which benefit the individual and University.

We build teams of people from different heritages and lifestyles from across the world, whose talent and contributions complement each other to greatest effect. We believe diversity in all its forms delivers greater impact through research, teaching and student experience.

To find out what makes the University of Sheffield a remarkable place to work, watch this short film:, and follow @sheffielduni and @ShefUniJobs on Twitter for more information.

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