Research Assistant in Molecular Biology / Genetics

University of Sussex School of Life Sciences, Evolution, Behaviour and Environment

United Kingdom

Research Assistant in Molecular Biology/Genetics 

School/department: School of Life Sciences, Evolution, Behaviour and Environment Subject Group

Hours:full time (1.0 FTE / 36.5 hours). Requests for flexible working options will be considered (subject to business need).

Contract: fixed term for 13 months

Reference: 3732

Salary: starting at £30,046 and rising to £33,797 per annum, pro rata if part time

Placed on: 22 May 2020

Closing date:  22 June 2020.  Applications must be received by midnight of the closing date. 

Expected start date: 01 October 2020

Job description

Applications are invited for the post of Research Assistant in Molecular Biology/Genetics based in the School of Life Sciences at the University of Sussex; one of the UK’s most prestigious universities.

Undertaking research in a vibrant, inter-disciplinary research environment with an excellent international reputation, you will work as a key member of a research team investigating the function and evolution of plant genomes with a particular emphasis on transposable elements (TEs). TEs represent the majority of eukaryotic DNA, for example they occupy ~50% of the human genome and up to 80-90% of the genomes of some plants. Our lab is interested in understanding the interactions between TEs and their host genomes by focusing both on mechanistic and evolutionary perspectives.

We are seeking for a skilled molecular biologist to work on a project trying to elucidate how the 3D organisation of chromosomes within the nucleus affects the integration of new TE copies in the genome. When TEs are active, either at certain developmental stages or when host epigenetic defences are compromised, new copies are generated that integrate in new chromosomal locations. Integration of new TE copies in the genome is a process that is modulated on several molecular levels. One such level, the folding and positioning of chromosomes inside the nucleus, has only recently been recognised as a potentially important parameter, but so far has only rarely been integrated in experimental studies or accounted for in modelling. By using arabidopsis and rice lines with active TEs and by testing various tissues, you will i) identify TE families that are actively transposing in the two plant genomes, ii) identify the chromosomal integration loci of the new TE copies, and iii) produce and analyze whole-genome methylation data. The ultimate aim of the project is to combine analyses of TE, epigenetic and chromosome conformation capture (Hi-C) data to characterize the epigenetic and 3D structure of the host cells where the new TE copies have inserted.

This is an excellent opportunity for a molecular biologist wishing to apply their skills to an innovative area of science. The position is supported by a grant of the Royal Society and is associated with generous research funds. The candidate will collaborate with colleagues in UK (Dr. Hans-Wilhelm Nuetzmann, Dr. Davide Michieletto) and US (Prof. Keith Slotkin).

The position is primarily lab-based. You should have a PhD in Molecular Biology/Genetics, excellent molecular biology skills and be interested to work at the cutting-edge of plant genetics/epigenetics. Please contact Dr Alexandros Bousios ( for informal enquiries. To learn more about the lab, visit

The University is committed to equality and valuing diversity, and applications are particularly welcomed from women and black and minority ethnic candidates, who are under-represented in academic posts in Science, Technology, Engineering, Medicine and Mathematics (STEMM) at Sussex.

Download job description and person specification Ref 3732 [PDF 157.87KB]

How to apply

Download our professional services application form [DOC 183.00KB] and personal details and equal opportunities form [DOC 162.50KB] and fill in all sections.

You must email your completed application, and personal details and equal opportunities form, to

You should attach your application form and all documents to the email (don't use a web-based upload/weblink service) and use the format job reference number / job title / your name in the subject line.

You can also send your application by post to Human Resources Division, Sussex House, University of Sussex, Falmer, Brighton, BN1 9RH.

In your application, please refer to


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