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Postdoctoral Research Associate OR Postdoctoral Research Fellow

University of York - Biology

Location: York
Salary: £36,024 to £54,395 per annum
Hours: Full Time
Contract Type: Fixed-Term/Contract
Placed On: 23rd November 2023
Closes: 3rd January 2024
Job Ref: 12883

Department

The aim of the lab, and of this project, is to use insect synthetic biology to develop new, safe, sustainable methods for reducing the harm caused by pest insects, particularly mosquitoes and mosquito-borne disease. This position is part of a recently initiated five-year project, selected by the European Research Council (ERC Advanced Grants, €2.5m) and now funded by the UK government through EPSRC.

Better methods for controlling mosquito-borne viruses are urgently required. One attractive approach is to release sterile male mosquitoes to mate wild females, thereby reducing their reproductive potential – the Sterile Insect Technique (SIT). The PI previously developed – and successfully took to field use – an improved variant of traditional SIT using engineered mosquitoes to provide “sterile male” properties; other methods of sterilisation are available, e.g. irradiation, use of Wolbachia, each with their advantages and disadvantages. However, SIT requires frequent releases of very large numbers of such males. A radical new SIT variant is proposed, which is sustainable and persistent – SuperSIT. Modelling suggests dramatic (20-100x) reduction in the number of males required. If successfully developed and deployed, this will provide the established (by the PI and others) benefits of effective, environmentally-friendly, species-specific control at much lower cost.

The aim of this project is to develop initial prototype strains and assess their performance in laboratory cage experiments.

Role

RoleGrade 6 Postdoctoral Research Associate OR Grade 7 Postdoctoral Research Fellow available depending upon qualifications and experience.

The core of the project is to develop and test components, modules and systems for novel sterile-male systems in Aedes aegypti. Correspondingly, the main component of the role is to lead insect genetic studies (design and development of new transgenic/gene edited strains) and molecular biology (design and development of novel plasmids), communicating progress and data including leading manuscript preparation, and training/supervising other staff/students.

Skills, Experience & Qualification needed:

  • PhD in a relevant biological science, or equivalent. (For the Grade 7 role the successful candidate must have acquired significant postdoctoral experience).
  • Track record of research success; supervisory experience
  • Good communication skills, ability to write up research work for publication in high profile journals
  • Experience of working with insects
  • Dependable, reliable and self-motivated; good interpersonal skills; able to work as part of a team
  • To contribute to and/or lead on the production of research outputs and research outcomes. (Grade 7)
  • To make presentations at conferences or exhibit work in other appropriate events (Grade 7)

Applicants will be considered for both positions unless specifically requested otherwise. This post is available until January 2028.

Interview date: To be confirmed

For informal enquiries: Please contact Prof Luke Alphey (luke.alphey@york.ac.uk)

Biology at York was the first UK Biology Department to achieve Athena Swan Gold Award.

The University strives to be diverse and inclusive – a place where we can ALL be ourselves.

We particularly encourage applications from people who identify as Black, Asian or from a Minority Ethnic background, who are underrepresented at the University.

We offer family friendly, flexible working arrangements, with forums and inclusive facilities to support our staff. #EqualityatYork

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