Postdoctoral Fellow in Computational Transcriptomics

Palmerston North, Manawatu-Wanganui, New Zealand
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Job description

Institute of Fundamental Sciences, College of Sciences

We seek a Postdoctoral Fellow to analyse transcriptome data collected from RNA analysis of fungal endophyte infected grass tissue. This is a one-year, full-time position.

We are looking for a computational biologist with the necessary academic training and competency to analyse a large transcriptome data set we have generated from endophyte infected grass tissue. The project is led by Professor Barry Scott and is collaborative with Professor Christopher Schardl at the University of Kentucky and Professor Murray Cox at Massey University. We are interested in identifying genes that are differentially expressed during the onset of stromata (sexual stage) development on the grass host. We have isolated RNA from different tissues of three different fungal-grass associations. We have gene models for the fungal components of all three associations but gene models for just one host. The post doc will be expected to develop their own hypotheses in analyzing this very large data set and work with a wider group working on the genomics, transcriptomics and functional analysis of fungal-grass associations. The analytical position requires solid quantitative and computational skills, with the ability to develop and apply new bioinformatics applications to the analyses. At a minimum, some confidence in bioinformatics and a programming language is required. Training in fungal biology or genomics can be provided as needed, and candidates from non-standard research backgrounds with a clear fit to the position are encouraged to apply.

Funding is available for just one year from a research sub-contract with the Bioprotection Research Centre to Massey University. Salaries are competitive starting at $69,841 for Step 1 of the Postdoctoral scale. The position will be based at Massey University, in the city of Palmerston North. All enquiries should be directed to Professor Barry Scott via telephone +64 6 9517704, e-mail d.b.scott@massey.ac.nz.

Job description
Purpose statement
To carry out individual and team-based research on changes in gene expression associated with the onset of endophyte sexual development on grass hosts.

Responsible to
Head of the Institute through the Principal Investigator, Professor Barry Scott

Key accountabilities
The Fellow is required to:
• Undertake computational research on fungal transcriptomics.
• Undertake other relevant duties as specified and approved by the Principal Investigator.
• Maintain accurate and orderly records of experiments, procedures and code, and store these records and data in the laboratory group archive.
• Report weekly to the Principal Investigator summarizing research progress and planned future research, with a focus on work towards research publications.
• Publish at least one peer-reviewed publication in an international scientific journal.
• Ensure appropriate safety standards and compliance requirements are met through liaising with IFS’s Health, Safety and Compliance Officer.
• Maintain work practices within the Ministry of Primary Industries Compliance requirements.
• Participate fully in the academic activities of the Institute and the University.
• Provide two monthly written reports to the project leader that summarise research progress and planned future experiments with a focus on publications.
• Devote themselves full-time to University duties.
• Diligently and faithfully serve the University and use their best endeavours to promote and protect the interests of the University.
• Maintain confidentiality both during and after the appointment as Postdoctoral Fellow.

Person specification
Qualifications
A PhD in bioinformatics, computational biology, or otherwise applicable field (interpreted broadly).

Experience
Miniumum Qualifications:
• Able to conduct independent cutting-edge research.
• Proven research experience, including evidence of a publication record.
• Quantitative skills, including some background in statistics and programming.

Preferred Qualifications:
• Candidates will be conversant in at least one programming language (broadly defined).
• Additional bioinformatics, computational and/or statistical experience would be an advantage.
• Candidates with a background in biology together with applied mathematics, physics or computer science are encouraged to apply.
• Some knowledge of biological systems.

Personal attributes and behaviours
• good quantitative skills
• experimental and intellectual creativity
• initiative and enthusiasm
• proven ability to write, and potential to take the lead on scientific publications
• commitment to quality improvement, up-skilling and personal development
• ability to organize and maintain quality records
• integrity and confidentiality
• good time-management skills
• ability to work as a member of a team

How to apply

Make an application

To submit an application, please provide:
1. A brief statement of research interests and experience, focusing on short to medium term career goals and your fit for this position.
2. Curriculum vitae, including qualifications and scientific publications.
3. The names and contact details of three referees willing to provide a confidential letter of recommendation upon request.

Massey University (Māori: Te Kunenga ki Pūrehuroa) is a university based in Раlmеrstоn Nоrth, Nеw Zеаlаnd, with significant campuses in Аlbаny and Wellington. Massey University has approximately 35,000 students, 17,000 of whom are extramural or distance-learning students, making it New Zealand's second largest university when not counting international students.Research is undertaken on all three campuses, and more than 3,000 international students from over 100 countries study at the university.