Research Technician

Research Technician

Pirbright Laboratory, The Pirbright Institute

Surrey, United Kingdom

Job title: Research Technician

Salary: Band B; from £21,570 with higher remuneration considered depending on experience and qualifications

Hours: 37 Hours Per Week

Contract Type: Fixed term/Full time

Contract Length: Fixed-term up until 31 May 2021

Closing Date: 27 April 2019

Job Reference: 19P-18

Directorate: Science

Department: Anthropod Genetics Group

Main Work Location: The Pirbright Institute, Pirbright, Surrey, GU24 0NF

The Pirbright Institute

The Pirbright Institute delivers world-leading research to understand, predict, detect and respond to viral disease outbreaks. We study viruses of livestock that are endemic and exotic to the UK, including zoonotic viruses, by using the most advanced tools and technologies to understand host-pathogen interactions in animals and arthropod vectors. Our major strength in understanding the immune systems of livestock provides a platform to control current diseases and respond to emerging threats.

Our Institute is made up of a dynamic and vibrant community of staff covering a diverse set of chosen fields, backgrounds and experience. We all play a crucial role in furthering the Institute’s aspirations, advancing the frontiers of science and knowledge through our excellent scientific research, knowledge sharing and contribution; with a real focus in improving the world in which we live. Our outlook is always balanced by our strong sense of purpose, values and behaviours and an unwavering commitment to a ‘one Institute’ approach.

Organisation position and purpose

This position is funded through a Wellcome Trust Investigator Award to Prof Alphey, entitled “Developing methods for driving beneficial genetic traits into vector populations”. The successful candidate will be required to support the activities of a collaborative group working towards engineering underdominance-based gene drive systems in mosquitoes. The post-holder will work within an established research group, and will be involved in selecting, maintaining and crossing multiple strains of mosquitoes, and assist in developing and testing new transgenic strains.

The model organism will be the mosquito Aedes aegypti, the primary vector of dengue, chikungunya and yellow fever viruses. As well as being extremely important from a public health perspective this is a relatively robust and easily manipulated mosquito with which we have extensive experience of both laboratory work and field trials.

The post-holder will report to the Head of Arthropod Genetics, with day-to-day supervision from the senior postdoc employed on this project. The post-holder will be expected to develop expertise in insect rearing, colony maintenance, genetic transformation (transgenesis) and the analysis of transgenic insect strains. With increasing experience, the post-holder will play a key role in training additional members of the Group in these core skills.

Main duties and responsibilities

The successful applicant’s work will focus on the smooth and productive running of the research insectary (insect rearing and manipulation laboratory) and experiments within it. Duties and responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

  • Insect genetic studies, including
    • Rearing and colony maintenance of mosquitoes
    • Assisting with insect transgenesis (micro-injection of DNA and associated procedures)
    • Assisting with analysis of transgenic mosquitoes including fitness studies etc.
  • Laboratory maintenance
  • Communicating progress and problems internally; assisting with external reporting
  • Assisting with training of other staff and students as required

This job description is only an outline of the tasks, responsibilities and outcomes required of the role. The jobholder will carry out any other duties as may be reasonably required by his/her line manager. The job description and personal specification may be reviewed on an ongoing basis in accordance with the changing needs of the Human Resources Division and The Pirbright Institute.

All employees shall actively participate in the Institute- wide quality assurance system in conjunction with the Institute’s Quality Manager. Employees are also expected to safeguard their own health and safety and security by following policies and all employees are responsible for the Health and Safety and security of staff under their management.

Personal specification

Enthusiastic for working with insects, time management skills, reliability under pressure, decision making and problem solving skills.

Specific requirements


  • A bachelor’s degree or equivalent in a relevant branch of biosciences
  • Bench experience in a recognised R&D environment
  • Evidence of experience in and enthusiasm for scientific research
  • Evidence of excellent oral and written communication skills, including the ability to communicate effectively


  • Experience of insect research
  • Evidence of ability to work effectively in a team

What we offer

  • Generous Group Personal Pension Scheme and life cover (subject to age and earnings)
  • 25 days annual leave per annum, pro rata, plus 10.5 public and privilege days
  • Pirbright gym with subsidised membership
  • Pirbright social club
  • Pirbright Lifestyle Hub (employee discount site)
  • Cycle to work
  • Subsidised staff restaurant
  • Subsidised childcare allowance
  • Free onsite parking

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