Applications are invited from suitably qualified candidates for a full-time, fixed term Research Assistant position in Plant Development & Chromatin within the School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, College of Science and Engineering at the University of Galway. This position is funded by Science Foundation Ireland and is available from 01/10/2023 to contract end date of 29/02/2025.

In a world threatened by climate change, plants face a major challenge to adapt to environmental stress. In addition, seeds are cornerstones of novel sustainable agricultural strategies to secure animal and human food.

Therefore, the Inter-PWOs project aims to investigate how specific sets of proteins that regulate development have aided plants to thrive in new environments throughout evolution, which will contribute to discover novel breeding tools to enhance plant fitness and survival, and how these proteins regulate seed development, a key agricultural trait. This project will be developed in the Plant Developmental Epigenetics Lab which is a research group of the School of Natural Science.

Job Description: The successful candidate will support and assist other members of the Inter-PWOs project. The applicant will contribute to the production and cultivation of plant transgenic and mutant lines. The candidate will carry out molecular experiments in plants, particularly Arabidopsis and moss.

In addition, the applicant will aid in the management of the Plant Developmental Epigenetics Lab and will be responsible for liaising with suppliers to purchase consumables and items for the laboratory. The successful candidate will also contribute to the supervision of research undergraduate and postgraduate students.

Duties: The successful candidate will work under the supervision of Dr. Sara Farrona to

  • Set up and conduct plant molecular experiments.
  • Support the work of other team members.
  • Grow plants (e.g. Arabidopsis, moss) and microorganisms (e.g. bacteria, yeast) under different conditions.
  • Input to the project monitoring reports with assistance from the principal investigator.
  • Liaise with the project collaborators on an ongoing basis as required.
  • Supervise undergraduate and postgraduate students.
  • Contribute to future project applications.
  • Participate in research team meetings.
  • Assist with other reasonable, research-related tasks.
  • Order consumables/material for the group and contribute to manage the project finances.
  • Develop organisational duties (e.g. keeping up-to-date list of chemicals, glycerol stocks, protocols, etc.).
  • Recording and organising relevant Health & Safety data.

Qualifications/Skills required: Essential Requirements:

  • MSc or superior degree in Biology, Biotechnology, Plant Sciences or any similar background.
  • Experience in working with the plant model species Arabidopsis thaliana and Nicotiana benthamiana.
  • Experience in performing molecular techniques (e.g. PCR, plasmid extraction, PCR/qPCR, cloning, gel electrophoresis) and plant molecular techniques (e.g. plant DNA/RNA extraction, plant transformation) and developmental analyses (e.g. characterisation of plant growth, mutant phenotyping, seed germination).
  • Experience in protein analyses (e.g. Western blot, Y2H, protein-protein interaction techniques) and CRISPR-based technologies
  • Good level of common IT skills (e.g. Microsoft Excel, Photoshop, ImageJ).
  • Proficient in record keeping and report writing (e.g. technical reports).
  • Evidence of track record in developing research in an international environment.
  • Experience in the supervision of research undergraduate/postgraduate students.

Personal skills

  • Highly motivated and passionate about developing high quality and novel research contributing to a pioneering project.
  • Self-motivated with strong attention to detail and quality.
  • Proven ability to work independently and in a team environment.
  • Good interpersonal and communication skills.
  • Good problem-solving skills.
  • Ability to implement novel techniques.
  • Good level of English and writing skills.
  • Ability to work in an interdisciplinary team.

Desirable Requirements:

  • Experience in epigenetic and chromatin-related analyses.
  • Experience with microscopy (e.g. bright/fluorescence microscopy, confocal).
  • Experience in analysing seed phenotypes.
  • Experience in working with moss or Brassica napus.

Employment permit restrictions apply for this category of post. Salary: Research Assistant salary scale €29,275 – €30,088 per annum and pro rata for shorter and/or part-time contracts.   The default position for all new public sector appointments is the 1st point of the salary scale. This may be reviewed, and consideration afforded to appointment at a higher point on the payscale (subject to the project’s funding limitations), where evidence of prior years’ equivalent experience is accepted in determining placement on the scale above point 1, subject to the maximum of the scale.  

Start date: Position is available immediately.  

Continuing Professional Development/Training: Further information on research and working at University of Galway is available on Research at University of Galway. Researchers at University of Galway are encouraged to avail of a range of training and development opportunities designed to support their personal career development plans.

University of Galway provides continuing professional development supports for all researchers seeking to build their own career pathways either within or beyond academia.  Researchers are encouraged to engage with our Researcher Development Centre (RDC) upon commencing employment. Informal enquiries concerning the post may be made to Dr. Sara Farrona

To Apply: Applications to include a covering letter, CV, and the contact details of two referees should be sent, via e-mail (in word or PDF only) to Sara Farrona: Please put reference number University of Galway 182-23 in subject line of e-mail application. Closing date for receipt of applications is 5.00 pm (Irish time) 23rd of August 2023

We reserve the right to re-advertise or extend the closing date for this post. University of Galway is an equal opportunities employer. All positions are recruited in line with Open, Transparent, Merit (OTM) and Competency based recruitment

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