Applications are invited for a Postdoctoral Researcher to join the group of Prof Saskia Hogenhout at the John Innes Centre (JIC) to study molecular processes in host-pathogen interactions.

The overall aim of the project is to identify key evolutionary events that enabled sap-feeding hemipteran insects and their microbial symbionts/pathogens to colonize plants.

Our established systems include a range of sap-feeding insect species, such as aphids, psyllids, whiteflies, leafhoppers and spittlebugs/froghoppers, and knowledge of their microbiomes, plant host ranges and feeding behaviours. We have generated annotated chromosome-level genome assemblies, transcriptomes, proteomes and/or population genomics data for 40 hemipteran species. See for example Mathers et al. (2022), Biello et al. (2021) and Biello et al. (2021).

The successful applicant will be able to creatively explore these -omics data to elucidate key evolutionary events that enabled plant colonization of sap-feeding hemipteran insects and their microbial symbionts/pathogens. They will conduct comparative genome and phylogenetic analyses and explore a variety of approaches to identify genes involved in plant colonization, feeding and the modulation of plant processes. Additional genome and transcriptome data may be generated as appropriate. The candidate will be encouraged to publish their findings as preprints, public data repositories and open access peer-reviewed publications and develop ways to make genomes and associated data easily accessible to a wide audience.

The post holder will possess at least an PhD or equivalent experience in Evolutionary Genomics, Bioinformatics, Genetics or related fields and has experience in the processing and analysis of next-generation sequence data and conducting population genomic analyses. They will have a solid understanding of statistics in biology, possess good scripting skills in Python, Perl or Java and has prior experience with handling high-throughput sequencing data and a Linux/Unix environment. Candidates will have an interest in learning how to generate whole-genome assemblies and de novo genome annotations within a high-performance cluster environment. Given that the project offers ample opportunities to write up studies as datasets and scientific publications, candidates will require excellent writing skills.

About the Hogenhout Group

The Hogenhout group at the John Innes Centre focuses on understanding the mechanisms that drive interactions between plants and insects and the role of microbes in these interactions. The group is particularly interested in aphids, whiteflies, leafhoppers, spittlebugs/froghoppers and other sap-feeding insects of the order Hemiptera. The saliva of these insects contains virulence factors (effectors) that modulate plant responses and aid insect colonisation. The research focuses on the identification and functional analysis of these insect effectors and on finding their targets in the plant.

Additional information

Interviews will be held on 7th November 2022.

Further information and details of how to apply can be found here, or contact the Human Resources team on 01603 450814 or quoting reference 1004338.

We are an equal opportunities employer, actively supporting inclusivity and diversity.  As a Disability Confident organisation, we guarantee to offer an interview to all disabled applicants who meet the essential criteria for this vacancy. We are proud to hold a prestigious Gold Athena SWAN award in recognition of our inclusive culture, commitment and good practices towards advancing of gender equality. We offer an exciting, stimulating, diverse research environment and actively promote a family friendly workplace. The Institute is also a member of Stonewall’s Diversity Champions programme.

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