Postdoctoral Researcher in soil microbiology: UK

The Natural History Museum (NHM) is a world-class visitor attraction and leading science research centre and commercial event space.

There are 350 scientific staff working across Life Sciences and Earth Sciences Departments with molecular laboratories, sequencing facilities and imaging centre in the Core Research Facilities. We use our unique collections with 80 million specimens, laboratory facilities and unrivalled expertise to tackle the biggest challenges facing the world today including food security, biodiversity, evolution and climate change.

We are at a pivotal moment in our history, as we will soon launch a new strategy setting out our role as the natural world faces increasing threats. Building on our world-leading collection, global reputation for science and as one of the world’s leading visitor attractions, the NHM has ambitious plans leading up to its 150th anniversary in 2031 making this a truly exciting time to be part of the NHM team.


About the role

This position is available in the field of soil microbiology, plant diseases and the application of bio-inoculants in horticulture within the H2020-funded EXCALIBUR project in Dr Jungblut’s and Dr David Bass’s research teams at the Life Sciences Department, Natural History Museum, London.

The project aims to gain a better knowledge of underground soil biodiversity including prokaryotes, microbial eukaryotes, and microfungi, and their synergistic effects with prebiotic and probiotic approaches in horticulture. Soil microbial bio-inoculants and bio-effectors will be tested on three model crops of economic importance such as tomato, apple, and strawberry under different experimental and open-field conditions across Europe, and the feedback effect of and on native soil biodiversity will be monitored.

The work will provide an excellent opportunity for a post-doctoral research scientist to apply cutting-edge microbial community analysis techniques to investigate the relationship between soil microbial communities, plant diseases, microbial inoculants, environmental drivers and biogeography in horticulture.

The postdoctoral research scientist will take a leading role in the assessment of soil microbiology, microbe-plant interactions and plant diseases across study sites, as well as in the monitoring of the response of soil microbial assemblages, plant endophytes and rhizosphere in tomato, strawberries and apples on microbial inoculants during the field trials and contrasting agricultural management practices.


About you

The successful candidate will have Bachelor or Masters Degree in sciences, PhD in relevant discipline and knowledge of fundamental microbiological and molecular biological techniques.You will also have experience in working with environmental samples including DNA extraction and PCR, and with bioinformatic tools for microbial community structure analysis and metagenomics.


Main Responsibilities

  • DNA extractions from soil samples from experimental field sites for tomato, apples and strawberries across Europe
  • Preparation of amplicons by PCR for next generation sequencing and DNA for metagenomics
  • Bioinformatic analysis for microbial community structure analysis and phylogenetic interference using 16 rRNA gene, 18S rRNA gene and fungal ITS sequence data
  • Data analysis using multiple statistical approaches and interpretation
  • Presentation of data and writing of scientific articles and reports
  • Enthusiasm to play an active role in project design
  • Opportunities to participate in outreach and science communication

Full Job Description:

Contract: Fixed Term Contract: 26 months
Closing date: 09:00 on 3 February 2020
Interviews will be held on: w/c 17 February 2020


How to apply

If that sounds like you please apply online on the Natural History Museum’s careers portal, and provide:

  • A comprehensive curriculum vitae giving details of relevant achievements in recent posts as well as your education and professional qualifications.
  • A covering letter that summarises your interest in this post, providing evidence of your ability to match the criteria outlined in the person specification
  • Please ensure your letter includes details of your latest salary and notice period.


Diversity and Inclusion at the Museum

We welcome applications from everyone – diversity, inclusion and the feeling of belonging matters to us. By attracting people to work for us from a broad range of diverse backgrounds we can continue to look at the world with fresh eyes and find new ways of doing things. We offer a stimulating and professional environment in which to work. This is a remarkable place and we look for staff who can work according to our values – we champion diversity, encourage creativity, we are connected, and we value evidence.

Excalibur Postdoc Description
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