Post-doctoral Researcher at SRUC: Dairy cattle microbiomes (Dumfries)


SRUC Aberdeen
Closed 10 days ago (20 Jul)

Type: Fixed-term contract (34 months)

Salary: £31,750 - £37,263 per annum

Location: SRUC Aberdeen

REF: ASWF/AGR/007/21

Closing date: 20 July 2021

SRUC is unique in Scotland and one of the largest organisations of its kind in Europe. Our ambitious and exciting vision is to work at local, national and international levels, leading innovation and sustainable development in agriculture and rural sectors.

Based at SRUC’s Dairy Research & Innovation Centre in Dumfries, the purpose of this post is day-to-day management of SRUC’s animal recording and sampling tasks in a new EU project “HoloRuminant: Understanding microbiomes of the ruminant holobiont”, which has 25 partners based around the world. A large longitudinal study will explore the establishment, maintenance and health consequences of microbiomes establishing at key sites (digestive tract, upper respiratory tract and skin) relevant to the health of dairy cattle at different stages of life. This work will build on recording from the long-running Langhill study, which has developed divergent genetic lines of Holsteins over 50 years. Other studies will explore the relationships between the baseline microbiome of milk and mastitis incidence.

Key responsibilities include:

  • Animal recording and sample collection from the longitudinal study of microbiomes of dairy cows, as well as studies of milk microbiomes. This includes - experimental design and planning, maintenance of protocols/SOPs, animal ethics and licensing, organisation of technical and farm resources
  • Maintenance of sample storage and databases of animal records, including responsibility for project data quality
  • Ensuring that project milestones are met and contributing to project planning meetings
  • Member of the supervisory team for two PhD students associated with this project, one working on the longitudinal study of microbiomes and the other on microbiomes and mastitis. This will include oversight of sample processing steps (extraction of DNA and RNA). There may be involvement with other postgraduate and honours projects
  • Liaison with task leads and project partners in other countries (Spain, France, Norway, Finland, Israel, Ireland and Lithuania)
  • Liaison with SRUC colleagues working on microbiome at other SRUC sites, notably the Beef & Sheep Research Centre at Edinburgh
  • Liaison with external labs undertaking multi-omics analysis of samples, as well as with bioinformaticians analysing data within the project
  • Data analysis, preparation of reports (for project meetings, seminars and conferences) and preparation of refereed papers targeting high-quality journals
  • Presentation of the project to students, visitors and at open days/events

The successful candidate should have a PhD (or equivalent) in a subject relating to agriculture or environmental science with good written English and data handling skills. The applicant should have knowledge of ruminant microbiomes and experience of new advances in multi-omic analysis techniques. Experience of data handling and statistical analysis for biological data is essential.

This is a fixed term role for 34 months.