Research Fellow (103962-0521)

Updated: about 1 year ago
Location: Warwick, ENGLAND
Deadline: 14 Jun 2021

Vacancy Type/Job category
Research Only
Life Sciences
£30,942 - £40,322 per annum
University of Warwick, Coventry.
Vacancy Overview
Full time, fixed term position (3 years).
Applicants are invited to apply for a postdoctoral research fellow position at the School of Life Sciences, University of Warwick to work on the ERC funded VIRFIX project. The ERC project team consists of three postdoctoral research fellows, a PhD student and a supporting technician under the supervision of Prof Dave Scanlan. The VIRFIX project seeks to broadly understand how viruses infecting marine cyanobacteria (cyanophage) subvert host metabolism, particularly CO2 fixation. In oceanic environments, the numerically dominant cyanobacterial genera Prochlorococcus and Synechococcus are responsible for up to 70% of CO2 fixation in some regions. These pico-phytoplankton constitute the major primary producers in most marine ecosystems and thus form the base of marine food webs. Understanding the factors regulating CO2 fixation are thus key to comprehending global carbon cycling.
We recently showed that cyanophage can inhibit the CO2 fixation process (and have estimated that the amount of carbon lost to viral-induced inhibition of CO2 fixation per year may be ca 3-fold greater than the sum of the productivity of all coral reefs, salt marshes, estuaries, and marine macrophytes on Earth!) Given that the future contribution of cyanobacterial CO2 fixation to the marine total is expected to rise due to significant increases in the abundance of these organisms in response to surges in greenhouse gases and the expansion of nutrient deplete oligotrophic regions the impact of cyanophages on global CO2 fixation is expected to increase. This project seeks to determine the effects of nutrient availability on the infection process such that these effects can be incorporated into global primary production ecosystem models.
The post holder will specifically aim to understand how nutrient limitation intersects with host growth rate to modify host elemental stoichiometry & CO2 fixation rate and how this affects the development of cyanophage which have an altered elemental stoichiometry compared with their host. An understanding of this relationship can be translated directly to global circulation models of upper ocean productivity.
Starting salary for this post will be between £30,942 - £40,322 per annum depending on qualifications and experience. We are looking for potential candidates with a PhD (or equivalent) in a relevant subject and ideally with excellent laboratory skills in marine microbiology particularly working with cyanobacteria or microalgae and/or specialist microbial physiology, molecular ecology or molecular biology skills particularly related to photosynthetic microbes. Candidates with more specific skills including expertise in running chemostats, with metabolomics, or working with bacteriophage or viruses of eukaryotic phototrophs would also be particularly desirable. You will be highly motivated and have a particular interest in how biotic factors (e.g. viruses) control physiology in a cyanobacterium. You will also have excellent communication and team skills.
Informal enquiries to Prof. Dave Scanlan (e-mail, Dr Rich Puxty (email or Dr Andy Millard (
Job Description
Undertake laboratory-based biochemistry/microbiology/molecular biology research work to assess how nutrients affect photosynthesis and cellular physiology in a marine cyanobacterium during viral infection.
• Help establish a sound research base within the department in order to assist the development of research objectives and proposals for own or joint research.
• Conduct individual and collaborative research projects.
• To publish research outcomes in appropriate journals of international standing and to publish and disseminate the result of research to other reputable outlets.
• Translate knowledge of advances in the subject area into research activity.
• May contribute to preparing proposals and applications to external bodies, e.g. for funding and contractual purposes, to support a developing research agenda.
• May present information on research progress and outcomes to bodies supervising research, e.g. steering groups.
• May contribute to the preparation of papers for steering groups and other bodies.
• Communicate complex information (orally and in writing) and material of a specialist or highly technical nature.
• Continually update own knowledge and understanding in field or specialism.
• Could be expected to contribute to the teaching and learning programs in the department.
• Assist in the supervision of student projects and the development of student research skills.
• May be involved in the assessment of student knowledge and supervision of projects.
• May be required to attend departmental meetings and to participate (where necessary) in other committees and working groups within the department, the faculty and the University.
• Ensure compliance with health and safety in all aspects of work.
• Work within budget constraints.
The duties and responsibilities outlined are not intended to be an exhaustive list but provide guidance on the main aspects of the job. You will be required to be flexible in your duties.

Person Specification

The Person Specification focuses on the knowledge, skills, experience and qualifications required to undertake the role effectively. This is measured by (a) Application Form, (b) Test/Exercise, (c) Interview, (d) Presentation.

Essential Criteria 1
Honours degree and possession of a PhD or equivalent in a relevant discipline. (a, c)
Essential Criteria 2
Experience of microbiology or molecular ecology/biology techniques (a, c)
Essential Criteria 3
Proven ability in research and evidence of the ability to publish and/or produce high quality research output in a relevant field (a, c)
Essential Criteria 4
A developing research profile with the ability to publish and/or produce high quality research output. (a, c)
Essential Criteria 5
Good effective communication (oral and written) skills, presentation and training skills (a, c, d)
Essential Criteria 6
Ability to work independently and as part of a team on research programs (c)
Desirable Criteria 1
Experience in culturing phototrophs or working with carboysome-containing autotrophs (d)
Desirable Criteria 2
Experience of running chemostats or in metabolomics (d)
Desirable Criteria 3
Experience of working with bacteriophage or viruses of single-celled phototrophs (d)
Further Particulars
For further information about the University of Warwick, please read our University Further Particulars .
For further information about the department, please visit the departmental website .
Viral subversion of cyanobacterial C fixation
Description of the research projects: This exciting ERC Advanced grant funded post will investigate how viruses modulate cyanobacterial CO2 fixation during host growth under nutrient-limited conditions (specifically limitation for phosphorus and nitrogen). Candidates should expect to have an understanding of the photosynthetic process and expertise in microbial physiology, biological oceanography or marine molecular microbiology.
Requirements and training: We are looking for outstanding candidates with a PhD or equivalent in (marine) microbiology or molecular ecology or cyanobacterial/plant/algal physiology or working with bacteriophage and proven advanced laboratory skills. You will also have the experience and ability to lead scientific experimental design and implementation.
The investigator, carrying out world-class science, will provide in-depth training and supervision of the successful candidate. The successful applicant will join a vibrant research group working on various aspects of the microbiology of marine picophytoplankton [].
The appointment is offered on a fixed term contract basis for up to a maximum 36 months.
For further details and informal enquiries, please contact Professor Dave Scanlan (Email: Tel: +44 2476 528363).

Recruitment of Ex-Offenders Policy

As an organisation using the (DBS) Disclosure and Barring Service to assess applicants’ suitability for positions of trust, the University of Warwick complies with the DBS Code of Practice and undertakes not to discriminate unfairly against any subject of a Disclosure on the basis of a conviction or other information revealed. More information is available on the University’s Vacancy pages and applicants may request a copy of the DBS Code of Practice.

Other Information
Right to work in the UK
If you do not yet have the right to work in the UK and/ or are seeking sponsorship under for a Skilled Worker visa in the UK points-based immigration system
please click on this link which contains further information about obtaining right to work in the UK and details about eligibility for sponsorship for a Skilled Worker Visa.
The University of Warwick provides an inclusive working and learning environment, recognising and respecting every individual’s differences. We welcome applications from individuals who identify with any of the protected characteristics defined by the Equality Act 2010.
Closing Date
14 Jun 2021
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