Postdoctoral Research Assistant in Pollinator Transcriptomics & Population Genomics

Queen Mary University of London

A NERC funded Postdoctoral Research Assistant position is available in the School of Biological and Chemical Sciences at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) with Dr Yannick Wurm, in Pollinator Transcriptomics & Population Genomics.

Recent behavioural, laboratory and field research have demonstrated that non-lethal doses of pesticides can negatively affect non-target organisms such as pollinators, resulting in EU temporarily banning the use of several pesticides. However, little is known about the molecular-genetic changes occurring in pollinators in reaction to pesticide exposure or the long-term effects of pesticide exposure on wild populations.

This project aims to understand the molecular-genetic response to environmental challenges over short and evolutionary timescales. For this, we examine the effects of pesticide exposure taking full advantage of recent improvements in DNA sequencing and bioinformatics analysis technologies. In particular, the post holder will analyse Illumina RNAseq data resulting from the exposure of bees to multiple pesticides and population genomics data to identify the impacts of pesticide exposure on bees in the laboratory and in the wild.

We expect that the majority of this post will be computer-based, but the project is in tight collaboration with Dr Richard Gill at Imperial College which provides the opportunity to contribute to field and laboratory work which can complement results from this molecular/genomics side of the project. Furthermore this project benefits from additional collaboration with Prof. Nigel Raine (University of Guelph, Canada) and Prof. Lars Chittka (QMUL), which will ensure an integrated and inter-disciplinary approach to the questions raised.

We are thus seeking highly motivated candidates with a strong interest in evolutionary genetics, strong experience in bioinformatics, biostatistics, molecular evolution and/or genomics and a willingness to develop expertise in all areas that will be required for the project. You must hold a PhD (or equivalent) in Evolutionary Biology, Genetics,
Bioinformatics or a related field. Experience with Illumina sequence data for genomics or transcriptomics, relevant analysis tools and statistical approaches are essential. Experience in experimental design and implementation are essential. You must also have produced quality published work in international peer reviewed journals as first author. You will have excellent verbal and written communication skills and be able to write clearly and succinctly for publication. You must have experience of working in a team, be able to develop and apply new concepts and have a creative approach to problem-solving. You must also be able to organise and prioritise your work in response to deadlines.
During the project the PDRA will have opportunities to develop their analysis, high performance computing, organisational, supervision, writing and communication skills, excellent preparation for a career in academia or industry. Duties may also include assisting in the training and supervision of PhD and project students.

The Wurm lab uses genomics tools to examine the interplay between social evolution and genome evolution in social insects (recent publications including PNAS 2011, Nature 2013 at Our lab mostly computes on QMUL’s 2500-core Scientific Linux cluster, which includes twelve fat 48-core/512Gb-RAM machines, but also run MacOS. We value lifelong learning, agile workflows, sustainable software, open data and open source.
We are part of the Evolutionary Genomics group of the Organismal Biology Division of QMUL’s School of Biological and Chemical Sciences. We additionally have strong ties to additional groups within QMUL, and with other UK and international institutions. QMUL is a Russell Group University, one of the UK’s leading research-focused higher education institutions with a budget of £285 million per annum, a college of the University of London and is located in London’s vibrant East End (15 minutes bicycle ride to Tower Bridge; 10 minutes walking to Victoria Park).

For more Information
• Wurm lab:
• Evolutionary Genomics @ QMUL:
• Organismal Biology Division:
• School of Biology and Chemistry:
• Google Maps Location:

The position is full time and available for 36 months. The salary will be in the range £31,735 - £41,553 per annum, inclusive of London Allowance. Benefits include 30 days annual leave, defined benefit pension scheme and interest-free season ticket loan.

Candidates must be able to demonstrate their eligibility to work in the UK in accordance with the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006. Where required this may include entry clearance or continued leave to remain under the Points Based Immigration Scheme.

For informal enquiries, please contact Dr Wurm via email  
Application enquiries should be directed to

The closing date for applications is 15th November 2014. Skype long listing will take place on Friday 21st November 2014. Interviews will take place on 26th November or 5th December 2014.

Yannick Wurm
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