Crop Science Centre

Driven by impact, fuelled by excellence

Careers

The Crop Science Centre is a partnership between the University of Cambridge and the NIAB centre. We are currently looking for aspirational, passionate and impact-driven individuals across a range of levels and roles.

Scientists at the Crop Science Centre focus on research with potential for impact in agriculture. This can include work in model systems, as well as in crop plants. We take a global view on impact and invite applications studying crops of relevance to small-holder farmers in low and middle-income countries, as well as crops of relevance to agriculture in high-income countries. We are particularly interested in applications in the areas of: plant nutrient uptake, enhancing photosynthesis and plant interactions with pests and pathogens, but welcome applications in all areas with potential for impact in crop science.

We strive for a diverse and creative environment and wish to broaden representation in the agricultural sciences. We welcome a full diversity of applicants.

We are currently recruiting for the following positions, to apply for them visit the University of Cambridge Job Opportunities page by clicking here:

Research Associate in Single Cell Analysis (Fixed Term)

Applications are invited for a post-doctoral research associate in Single Cell Analysis to work with Prof Uta Paszkowski at the Crop Science Centre, starting in January 2022

The Crop Science Centre which opened in October 2020 benefits from the diverse skills and expertise of the University of Cambridge and NIAB, providing an environment for research excellence in crops, with the drive and expertise for scientific translation to address real-world problems.

Intimate association of plant root systems with beneficial fungi, like arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF), can improve resilience to water deficit. The relationship between the symbiont and the host root is mutually beneficial with the fungus delivering minerals and water to the plant, and the plant feeding the fungus with organic carbon. These mutual exchanges happen within specific cells and result in overall promotion of plant growth. There is insufficient understanding of the molecular interactions that give rise to these productive plant activities. In this project, we wish to identify conserved networks that promote plant growth at cellular resolution in rice.

The projected work will involve a high-resolution metagenomics approach combined with functional validation in rice. Applicants must have a solid background in plant molecular genetics; available knowledge in basic bioinformatics, would be advantageous.

We welcome candidates with a good track record in research and/or impact, who are excited to join a dynamic team of scientists driven to use foundational understanding of plants for the betterment of agriculture.

Fixed-term: The funds for this post are available for 2.5 years in the first instance.

Informal enquiries are welcomed and should be directed to Professor Uta Paszkowski (up220@@cam.ac.uk)

Please quote reference PD28093 on your application and in any correspondence about this vacancy.

For more details, or to apply, please visit the University if Cambridge job opportunities page by clicking here.

Purchasing Assistant (Fixed Term)

The purpose of the role is to run all purchasing activities for the centre including the goods in function. Once fully established, 40-50 staff and students will be located in the Centre.

The main duties of the role will be dealing with deliveries by ensuring you move them to a secure area, receipt them and notify researchers items have arrived. You will create the majority of Purchase Orders for the Centre, ensuring compliance with purchasing procedures.

The successful candidate must have knowledge of manual handling procedures. They should demonstrate knowledge of principles and processes related to the purchasing cycle through experience working in an accounts environment. They will have excellent IT skills and experience using the Microsoft Office package, particularly Excel, be comfortable working to deadlines, and demonstrate a high standard of communication and organisational skills. It would be desirable for someone to be working towards achieving CIPS qualification.

Fixed-term: The funds for this post are available for 2 years in the first instance.

For more details, or to apply, please visit the University if Cambridge job opportunities page by clicking here.

Research Laboratory Technician (Fixed term)

The role holder will work with the Crop Science Centre Platforms Manager and the Senior Platform Technician to provide genomic services to researchers at the centre. Platform operations will include the delivery of multi-gene DNA assemblies in Agrobacterium from synthesised modules. This will be done using Golden Gate and the genetic selection of plant lines, including nucleic acid purification from leaf material for genotyping, copy-number determination and gene-expression analysis. The role will form part of the Engineering the Nitrogen Symbiosis for Africa project.

Requirements                            

The job holder must have practical experience of molecular biology techniques and working with plants in a lab environment. Experience in a scientific platform service environment, preparing media stocks and sterile working practices (bacteria or plant tissue culture) is essential.

The key responsibilities of the role holder are as follows:

  • To curate physical collections of plasmid DNA, bacterial glycerol stocks and plant genomic DNA libraries.
  • To manage the archiving of seed from the plant transformation and genetics platforms, as week as labelling seed packets and updating the associated online libraries.
  • Respond to requests for DNA and seeds, and oversee their timely distribution to scientists in Cambridge and international partner institutions.
  • To liaise with the Senior Platform Technician to develop protocols and deliver projects supporting research teams. Protocols include PCR/qPCR assays, Taqman assays, Golden Gate construct assemblies, NGS library preparation and Sanger sequencing.
  • To contribute to enhancing the throughput and efficiency of the platforms by implementing protocols for DNA extraction, PCR set up and sequencing using automated liquid handling equipment.

This post is Fixed-term; funds are available until 31st March 2024 in the first instance.

Informal enquiries are invited and can be directed to Dr Eleni Soumpourou on es771@cam.ac.uk.

Please quote reference PD27380 on your application and in any correspondence about this vacancy.

Apply through the University if Cambridge job opportunities page by clicking here.

Please notice that if you have not received any news from us one month after the closing date you should consider that on this occasion your application has not been successful.

 

Research Associate in Receptor Evolution (Fixed Term)

Post-Doctoral Research Associate Position: Evolution of receptor signalling specificity for cereal symbiosis and development.

Applications are invited for a post-doctoral research associate in Receptor Evolution to work with Prof Uta Paszkowski at the Crop Science Centre and start between 1 August and 1 September 2021. Funds will be available for this post for 3 years in the first instance.

The beneficial interaction of plants with endomycorrhizal fungi commences via mutual recognition in the rhizosphere. We identified a receptor complex that is required for perception of beneficial fungi by plants [Gutjahr, Gobbato et al., Science (2015), Choi et al., Nat Commun 2020], and also for plant development. Preliminary data suggest that the symbiosis signalling ability is a derived and not an ancestral trait. This project seeks to reproduce the evolutionary trajectory in order to define the protein features that condition signalling specificity. The projected work will involve a high-resolution metagenomics approach combined with functional validation in rice.

Applicants must have a solid background in plant molecular genetics; knowledge in basic bioinformatics, running command-line tools and performing data analysis in R or Python would be advantageous.

Informal enquiries are welcomed and should be directed to Prof Uta Paszkowski (up220@cam.ac.uk). If you have any queries regarding the application process please contact Frederique Anand, Crop Science Centre HR Coodinator on fa423@cam.ac.uk.

Please quote reference PD26964 on your application and in any correspondence about this vacancy.

To apply, please visit the University of Cambridge job opportunities page by clicking here.

The University actively supports equality, diversity and inclusion and encourages applications from all sections of society.

The University has a responsibility to ensure that all employees are eligible to live and work in the UK.

 

Research Associate in Ligand-Receptor Interactions (Fixed Term)

Applications are invited for a post-doctoral research associate in Ligand-Receptor Interactions to work with Prof Uta Paszkowski at the Crop Science Centre, Department of Plant Sciences, starting between 1 August and 1 September 2021. The funds for this post are available until 31 March 2024 in the first instance.

The beneficial interaction of plants with endomycorrhizal fungi commences via mutual recognition in the rhizosphere. We identified a receptor complex that is required for perception of beneficial fungi by rice [Gutjahr, Gobbato et al., Science (2015), Choi et al., Nat Commun 2020]. The identification of symbiosis-relevant ligands of the receptor is the focus of this study. The projected work will involve chemical genomics to identify candidate ligands and a variety of biochemical and cell biological techniques including isothermal titration calorimetry (ITC) to characterize ligand-receptor binding properties.

Applicants should have a PhD in a relevant subject. They must have a solid background in bio/chemistry; Knowledge in plant biology would be advantageous.

Informal enquiries are welcomed and should be directed to Prof Uta Paszkowski (up220@cam.ac.uk). If you have any queries regarding the application process please contact Frederique Anand, Crop Science Centre HR Coodinator on fa423@cam.ac.uk.

To apply, please visit the University of Cambridge job opportunities page by clicking here.

Please quote reference PD26963 on your application and in any correspondence about this vacancy.

The University actively supports equality, diversity and inclusion and encourages applications from all sections of society.

The University has a responsibility to ensure that all employees are eligible to live and work in the UK.