Help Wanted

Seeking Short-term Bioinformatics Technician/Postdoc

Biodiversity Initiative is seeking a technician or short-term postdoc to perform bioinformatics analyses for 1-2 months on our GCRF funded project entitled “The Birds, The Bees and the Chocolate Trees: Cutting Edge DNA Sequencing to benefit African Cacao Farmers and Rainforest Biodiversity”. More information on the cocoa project is available here:  and upon request. The candidate with work with two PIs: geneticist Dr. Andreanna Welch (Durham University) and ecologist Dr. Luke L. Powell (Durham and University of Glasgow). The work will entail updating the Unix/Linux-based bioinformatics pipeline used to perform quality control, clustering, and taxonomic assignment of DNA sequences from the diets of insectivorous and frugivorous African birds and bats. The candidate will work to install programs onto a high performance computing cluster, write scripts to more fully automate the pipeline, and also update Python scripts to handle recent changes in the online reference database. Depending on the expertise, interest and involvement of the candidate, there exists the possibility of co-authorship on this project (probably several publications) as well as on several other related project that employ a very similar pipeline.  The ideal candidate will automate this pipeline with a front-end approach such that subsequent runs of the high throughput sequences can be easily plugged into the pipeline. We would like the successful candidate to start as soon as possible.

Required skills/qualities:

Advanced Python scripting

Bash scripting (or similar)

Basic knowledge of R

Comfort working with unix/linux operating systems

Comfort working remotely with high performance computer clusters

Compiling programs from source code

Good communication skills, and ability to work remotely as needed

Attention to detail

Additional desirable skills:

Previous work with Illumina sequencing data (ideal) or Sanger sequencing data

Previous work on metabarcoding studies in any field


We are prepared to offer from 2000-5000 GBP for the work depending on the experience of the applicant and the amount of time that the applicant is available for work (1 or 2 months).

Other notes:

The successful candidate need not have a PhD; for example they may be skilled Unix/Linux and/or Python-based coder in the computer sciences or a genetics PhD student with a strong bioinformatics background.

The ideal candidate is already on the payroll or otherwise “in the system” at the University of Glasgow and can spend the first week of work at Durham University working directly with Dr. Welch.  We will also consider strong candidates that are willing to work remotely with regular contact (e.g., weekly video chats) with the PIs.

To apply:

Please send your cover letter (one paragraph max), CV, and references as a single PDF document (Lastname.Firstname.PDF) to Luke.Powell (AT) by March 15th, 2019.  Feel free to contact Dr. Powell directly with questions prior to application. If you are already affiliated with University of Glasgow and are interested in the position, please contact Dr. Powell as soon as possible (i.e. prior to applying).