3 year NERC PDRA in grass pollen aerobiology and human health recruiting now!

3 year, full time postdoctoral researcher: Using molecular genetics to understand grass species pollen deposition: enhancing bio-aerosol models and implications for human health (NERC £1.2M Standard Grant funding).

We are looking for a dynamic researcher to fulfil a leading role in a new, collaborative and multidisciplinary team working at the interface between the molecular genetic analysis of aerial pollen composition, aerobiological modelling and human health. Approximately 20% of the UK population suffer from summer allergies and the primary outdoor allergens are grass pollens.

Nevertheless, there is currently no easy way of discriminating different species of grass pollen using traditional morphological approaches. Molecular biodiversity identification is emerging as a high throughput and cost effective alternative to existing approaches and in particular, combinations of qPCR, metabarcoding and shotgun sequencing provide a unique analytical suite of molecular approaches to assess grass pollen mixtures both quantitatively and qualitatively.

The primary objectives of the broader project will be to (a.) develop a species level, spatio-temporal grass pollen molecular genetic assessment framework throughout the UK and (b.) develop novel pollen bio aerosol models in order ultimately to (c.) identify linkages between species-specific grass pollen loadings and human health (i.e. asthma exacerbations).
The 3 year, £1.2M project is funded by the NERC Standard Grant blue sky funding stream and involves combinations of local and national fieldwork in collaboration with Aberystwyth University (Natasha DeVere; Gareth Griffith; Matt Hegarty), The National Pollen and Aerobiological Research Unit (NPARU), University of Worcester (Carsten Skjøth), Exeter University (Nick Osborne) and the UK Met Office.

The leading Bangor component of the project will utilise molecular ecology, including high throughput qPCR and genomic approaches to assess biodiversity, bioinformatics and ecological modelling, with the PDRO working closely with a diverse team of collaborators from the fields of plant metabarcoding, aerobiology and modelling and environmental epidemiology both in the UK and overseas. The project will also benefit from close links with a range of charities providing support in the broad field of allergenic and respiratory health.
Candidates should possess a doctoral degree in related areas such as natural sciences, ecology, botany, molecular taxonomy, evolution/genomics and should ideally have previous experience of fieldwork, molecular ecology, bioinformatics and ecological data handling. The successful candidate will be expected to commence 1st March 2016, or as soon after this as possible.

Informal enquiries should be sent to Dr S. Creer,
email: s.creer@bangor.ac.uk;

Applications will only be accepted via our on-line recruitment website, jobs.bangor.ac.uk (REF: BU01042). However, in cases of access issues due to disability, paper application forms are available by telephoning 01248 383865.

Closing date for applications: 21st December 2015, with interviews predicted to take place in the 2nd half of January 2016.

Publication date: 26 November 2015