Research Assistant - Microbiology: Ireland

Applications are invited from suitably qualified candidates for a full-time fixed term position (ca.18 months) as a Research Assistant with Department of Microbiology at the National University of Ireland, Galway, and Teagasc, Johnstown Castle, Wexford. This position is funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine (DAFM) and is available from 01/04/19.

This position is available as part of a project entitled MINE (Manipulation and Integration of Nitrogen Emissions), which aims to divert gaseous N losses from N2O to N2, and integrate N2O emissions on a spatial and temporal scale. MINE is an integrated multidisciplinary project between Teagasc, the department of Microbiology NUI Galway and Botany Department Trinity College Dublin. The successful candidate will work as part of a team which includes senior researchers, two PhD students, two postdoctoral researchers, a technician and a research assistant. Specifically the focus of this position will be to assist researchers exploring microbial denitrifiers and potential for mitigation of N2O emissions in agricultural soils. Microorganisms drive the majority of biogeochemical processes in soil and are responsible for much of the gaseous losses. By understanding how these organisms function there is great potential to predict when deleterious environmental N losses are likely to occur and to manage soils in such a way as to reduce losses.

Job Description:

The successful candidate will carry out laboratory analysis of soil samples for a range of micro-and-molecular biology techniques. This project will use a mixture of molecular, high throughput sequencing, biochemical and isotopic approaches.


  • Work with research scientists, technical staff and PhD students assessing microbial community function in soil related to N20 emissions
  • Extraction of nucleic acids from soil samples and carry out a range of downstream molecular analyses including PCR, qPCR and DNA sequencing
  • Undertake a range of physical and chemical analysis of soils, and functional and biochemical assays of soil microbial communities
  • Assist in field trials and collection of soil samples
  • Other duties that may be assigned from time to time

Qualifications/Skills required:

Essential Requirements:

  • An honours BSc degree in Microbiology/ Biotechnology/ Environmental Biology or a cognate subject
  • Experience of analytical methods relevant to micro or molecular biology
  • Excellent written and verbal English communication skills

Desirable Requirements:

  • Experience of nucleic acid extraction from environmental matrices
  • Previous research experience investigating functional microbial communities in soil
  • Technical experience/knowledge in soil microbiology
  • Technical experience/knowledge in measurement of Greenhouse Gases
  • Experience of PCR, qPCR, cloning, sequencing or bioinformatics
  • Full, clean driving licence

Further information on research and working at NUI Galway is available on Research at NUI Galway, and on Teagasc at It is envisioned the successful candidate will be primarily based at the Soil and Environmental Microbiology group, Teagasc, Johnstown Castle, Wexford. Johnstown Castle is Ireland’s leading research centre for soils and the rural environment. The centre conducts research on soils, nutrient efficiency, recovery and losses; air and water quality; the agricultural environment and agro-ecology.

Informal enquiries concerning the post may be made to Dr Fiona Brennan

To Apply:Applications to include a covering letter, CV,and the contact details of three referees should be sent, via e-mail (in word or PDF only) to Fiona Brennan:

Please put reference number NUIG-053-19 in subject line of e-mail application. Closing date for receipt of applications is 5.00 pm (Irish Time) 26th March 2019

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