The Graduate School Experimental Plant Sciences (EPS)

Postdoctoral Researcher (Byers Group), The John Innes Centre, Norwich, UK


About the Byers Group

Dr Byers started at the Centre in August 2020, so this is a chance to help build a lab from the ground up and contribute your expertise and passion to the group and its culture, as well as to experience first-hand what starting your own group might look like.

The lab is a part of the Cell and Developmental Biology department and the Genes in the Environment ISP at the John Innes Centre.

The group studies the effect of floral scent on the evolution of flowering plants from a genetic, phenotypic, and ecological perspective, focusing particularly on how it drives interactions with animal pollinators. We use several different plant systems, including monkeyflowers (Mimulus), orchids (Gymnadenia), and bedstraws (Galium).

The role

As a Postdoctoral Researcher, you’ll take ownership of a specific project within the group, developed in consultation between you and Dr Byers.

One potential/ideal project is to investigate the evolution of floral traits, particularly floral scent, across the phylogeny of monkeyflowers (Mimulus s.l.), a group of about 150 species that are developing model systems in evolutionary biology and ecology.

Prior work in a small group of species within the genus has shown that shared patterns of floral scent phenotype have evolved using quite distinct genetic mechanisms, thus sparking our interest in investigating these patterns at a genus-wide level.

The ideal candidate

The ideal candidate will have a PhD degree in evolutionary biology or ecology. Especially desirable is experience with macroevolutionary/phylogenetic approaches to trait evolution; chemical ecology; and/or pollination biology.

You will have experience with plant cultivation and plant science; in particular, experience cultivating difficult species (e.g. requiring seed pre-treatment or special growth conditions) would be valuable for this position.

You will have demonstrable experience with molecular biology and genetics techniques and analysis, strong record-keeping skills (e.g. lab notebook, collections maintenance, data storage and organisation) and a strong command of written and spoken English. You’ll also be passionate about science.

You will be comfortable working both independently and as a member of a larger team, as well as having good time management, attention to detail, and prioritisation skills. You’ll be comfortable collaborating with international and local colleagues from diverse cultures and backgrounds.

You will be able to travel locally and internationally for e.g. collaborations, meetings, and fieldwork, and may be asked to work limited unsociable hours for crucial experiments.

For further information please check out the website:

About the John Innes Centre

The John Innes Centre is an independent, international centre of excellence in plant science, genetics and microbiology. We nurture a creative, curiosity led approach to answering fundamental questions in bioscience, and translate that knowledge into societal benefits.

Our employees enjoy access to state-of-the-art technology and a diverse range of specialist training opportunities, including support for leadership and management. Click here to find out more about working at the John Innes Centre.

Additional information

Interviews are expected to be held on 15 October 2020.

Further information and details of how to apply can be found here, or contact the Human Resources team on 01603 450462 or  quoting reference 1003935.