If you are interested to join the laboratory, do contact us about opportunities for postdoctoral research, graduate studentships and undergraduate research experience.  We currently have a postdoctoral position and a technician position open.

Postdoctoral researcher: Molecular dissection of symbiosis function in insect-bacterial associations

Our goal is to determine the role of individual genes, specifically bacterial genes horizontally transferred to the insect genome, in mediating symbiosis function in plant sap-feeding insects.  We will test the specific hypothesis (based on preliminary evidence) that these genes function in the two essential symbiosis functions – mediating nutrient transfer between the bacteria and insect host, and regulating bacterial populations.  The research is made possible by recent and ongoing advances in genetic tools (RNAi, CRISPR), omics technologies and metabolic modeling for these symbioses.  Promising genes will be taken forward as candidate targets for novel strategies to control insect pests that absolutely require the bacterial symbiosis. This position is ideally suited to researchers with strong molecular expertise and an interest in host-microbe interactions. Prior experience of working with insects is an advantage.

This position is available to applicants with a PhD in a biological discipline and with a proven track record of effective research output.

To apply and to make informal inquiries, please contact Angela Douglas at aes326 [at]   Your application should include your CV and details of two referees. Your cover letter should provide an explanation of how your qualifications and experience make you a good candidate for the position.  To ensure full consideration, all materials should be received by Friday 22nd March 2019; however, applications will be accepted until the position is filled. Informal inquiries are welcome.

Competitive salaries commensurate with experience and skills will be offered, as well as generous benefits.

Key publications for this research include

Luan J, Sun X, Fei Z and Douglas AE, 2018. Maternal inheritance of a single somatic animal cell displayed by the bacteriocyte in the whitefly Bemisia tabaci. Current Biology 28: 459-465.

Ankrah NYD, Chouaia B and Douglas AE, 2018. The cost of metabolic interactions in symbioses between insects and bacteria with reduced genomes. mBio 9: e01433-18.

Douglas AE, 2018. Omics and the metabolic function of insect-microbial symbioses. Current Opinion in Insect Science 29: 1-6.

Chung S-H, Jing X, Luo Y and Douglas AE. 2018. Targeting symbiosis-related insect genes by RNAi in the pea aphid-Buchnera symbiosis. Insect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 95: 55-63.

Ankrah NYD, Luan J and Douglas AE, 2017. Cooperative metabolism in a three-partner insect-bacterial symbiosis revealed by metabolic modeling. Journal of Bacteriology 199: e00872-16.

Laboratory technician

A position is available to provide technical support for our research on the molecular biology and physiology of insects. The responsibilities involve maintenance of insect cultures and assistance with the set up and analysis of experiments.  Techniques include the preparation of insect diets, scoring insect numbers and size, DNA and RNA isolation, PCR assays and running gels.  These duties require a capacity to conform to standardized experimental and safety protocols in the laboratory, attention to detail, and accuracy in scoring data.  Proficiency in basic computer programs (Microsoft Word, Excel etc.) is essential. In all aspects, the technician will be supported by detailed supervision provided by a postdoctoral researcher.

This position is available to applicants with a bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences or equivalent combination of education and experience.

To apply, please contact Angela Douglas at aes326 [at], providing your CV, including details of two referees, and a cover letter that explains your motivation for applying.  To ensure full consideration, all materials should be received by Friday 22nd March, 2019.

Graduate Studies

Students with an interest in symbiosis, animal-microbial interactions and metabolism are especially encouraged to contact us.  Applications can be made through the Graduate Field of Entomology Graduate Field of Nutrition, or the Graduate Field of Microbiology, with excellent funding opportunities.
We aim to offer a broad training, providing the opportunity for students to experience independent research and team-working, and enabling them to follow their own research goals.  Specific research skills provided include genomics, molecular and whole-organism physiology, experimental design, and statistics.  We have weekly lab meetings, and students are encouraged to attend regular discussion groups across campus (e.g. Symbiosis Group, Gut Group, Ecology & Evolution of Infection and Disease Group, Plant-Insects Group,… and more) and regular seminars in the Department and across campus.
To discuss opportunities further, do contact us.  The annual deadline for applications to enroll is in December of each year.

Undergraduate Opportunities

Working in a research lab is excellent experience for students intending to enroll into graduate school or take up a career in research.  We regularly have opportunities, especially for students interested in insect-microbial interactions, genomics and in applying bioinformatics tools to biological problems.  Previous experience is not required, but it is essential you are motivated to learn, reliable and have initiative.