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Postdoctoral Research Associate

University of Cambridge - Department of Plant Sciences

Location: Cambridge
Salary: £32,816 to £40,322 p.a.
Hours: Full Time
Contract Type: Fixed-Term/Contract
Placed On: 27th August 2021
Closes: 21st September 2021
Job Ref: PK27947

Eukaryotic centromeres are characterised by complex, megabase-scale arrays of satellite DNA, which have until recently have been inaccessible to sequencing. However, recent advances in highly accurate long reads generated via Oxford Nanopore and Pacific Biosciences CCS/HiFi technologies have enabled complete sequencing of centromeres (1, 2). This has created the possibility of investigating the fine-scale structure of complex repeat regions, their epigenetic regulation and how they are evolve via DNA repair and recombination, for the first time. For example, we have recently generated complete assemblies of the Arabidopsis centromeres and their DNA methylation landscape (2), which leads to new possibilities and emerging research questions.   

The successful candidate will work in the Henderson group to further explore and characterise the genetic and epigenetic structure of the Arabidopsis centromeres, or the centromeres of other plant species. The scope of the project is flexible, depending on the interests and experience of the applicant and could include, (i) mapping centromeric structure and recombination using long read sequencing, (ii) analysis of the centromeric ATHILA retrotransposons, and/or (iii) bioinformatics analysis of centromere satellite sequences. We are interested to identify candidates with either strong experimental or computational backgrounds, or those wishing to combine both approaches. 

The Henderson group investigates plant genome function, including control of recombination, in both model and crop plant species. We share laboratory space with the groups of Sir David Baulcombe and Jake Harris, who investigate intersecting questions in plant genomes and epigenetics. Our group is located in the Department of Plant Sciences, which is a diverse and inclusive workplace, where a wide range of plant sciences research and teaching is performed. Our centromere projects also involve international collaborators including the groups of Michael Schatz (Johns Hopkins, USA), Tetsuji Kakutani (Tokyo University, Japan) and Detlef Weigel (Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology, Germany), who the successful candidate will interact and collaborate with.  

Once an offer of employment has been accepted, the successful candidate will be required to undergo a health assessment. 

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

Please notice that if you have not received any news from us 1 month after the closing date you should consider that on this occasion your application has not been successful. 

Please quote reference PD27947 on your application and in any correspondence about this vacancy. 

The University actively supports equality, diversity and inclusion and encourages applications from all sections of society. 

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

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