Molecular & Microbial Biology Support Scientist: UK

Job Purpose

To support the delivery of the GENIALG and GlobalSeaweed projects using microbial and molecular skills. In particular, to perform experiments linked to the genetic characterisation, bio-banking, and phenotyping of algae and their pathogens under the guidance of the PDRAs involved in each project.

Main Responsibilities

  • To support the isolation, biobanking and cryopreservation of several hundreds of Saccharina latissima strains from Europe, undertaken under GENIALG.
  • To pilot the isolation, biobanking and cryopreservation of European Ulva strains (GENIALG)
  • To perform experiments assessing the resistance of Saccharina latissima strains to disease using established plate-reader assays (GENIALG).
  • To perform molecular diagnostic of diseased algae with PCR or qPCR, to perform molecular monitoring of pathogens in SAMS seaweed hatchery and seaweed farm (GENIALG)
  • To perform molecular barcoding and genotyping of tropical seaweeds and their pathogens (GlobalSeaweed)
  • To support the isolation, laboratory cultivation and characterisation of tropical algal pathogens (GlobalSeaweed); to assist with field work preparations as required.
  • To contribute to data generation and management towards the development of an Open Access database of seaweed diseases (GlobalSeaweed/GENIALG)
  • Other GENIALG or GlobalSeaweed support work as required.
  • To be lab manager for the Algal Laboratory
  • Be pro-active in the application of SAMS Health and Safety Procedures

Planning and Organising

  • Plan and organise biological material and consumables for large-scale experiments running over several weeks.
  • React timely to the questions and requirements of students, visitors and academic staff, mostly with regard to provision of equipment, demonstration of its use, or acquisition of experimental data
  • Coordinate workload to ensure that each project is completed within the timescale agreed


  • Maintenance/repair and trouble-shooting of instruments necessary for the completion of the projects. This requires experience & detailed knowledge of the machines involved.
  • Resolve administrative issues pertaining to international shipment of biological material or scientific consumables (e.g. import certificates, custom clearance) or seek specialized assistance in the most complex cases.
  • Dealing with staff, students and visitors throughout the year to ensure all their requirements are met


  • Prioritise own workload to meet the demands of both projects.
  • Calculate the volume of consumables and equipment required for completion of a project, working to a budget.

Key Contacts/Relationships

  • PI, PDRAs and support staff involved in the delivery of GlobalSeaweed and GENIALG at SAMS.
  • Other lab users, especially for issues regarding availability or maintenance of pieces of equipment.
  • Remote support to overseas researchers, mostly concerning exchange of biological materials or consumables
  • Visiting scientists or students: either provide initial support and training, or ensure that the latter is provided by other members of the team.

Knowledge, Skills and Experience needed for the Job (usually captured in Person Specification)

  • Degree in biology, microbiology or related discipline
  • Knowledge of microbiological and molecular tools and techniques, such as PCR, qPCR, and plate reader assays;
  • Ability to interpret data, to identify issues and to troubleshoot protocols and instruments;
  • Substantial skill in the maintenance of (algal) cultures, proven experience of working under sterile conditions
  • Skill and experience in microscopy, and ideally in the identification and taxonomy of fungi, viruses, bacteria or protists.
  • Scientific rigour, ability to handle large experiments and datasets, and ability to produce high-quality data suitable for publication

Dimensions – Scope of role

  • Provide support to 4 academic, one IT and two support staff directly involved in the project delivery; support 3-5 additional research staff and undergraduate students closely associated to the research team.
  • Responsible for the operation and maintenance of equipment used for GENIALG and GlobalSeaweed across two laboratories (Algal Lab and Microbiology)

Any other relevant information

The post holder may be required to perform duties other than those given in the job description for the post. The particular duties and responsibilities attached to posts may vary from time to time without changing the general character of the duties or the level of responsibilities entailed. If the normal duties of the post include going to sea (apart from small boats e.g. RHIB’s) the applicant must be able to obtain the ENG1 medical certification and complete the STCW 95 Personal Survival Techniques training.

Further details
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