Research Fellow - AR2342SB
School of Biology
Vacancy Description
School of Biology, Salary: £34,304 per annum, Start: 1 December 2021 or as soon as possible thereafter, Fixed term for 2 years
The T5-like bacteriophages are a family of lytic bacteriophages that infect Gram-negative bacteria. We are interested in understanding the infection cycle of these phages, with particular emphasis on how they replicate their double-stranded DNA genomes. Previous studies have identified a number of phage genes that encode proteins essential for genome replication, including a DNA polymerase, primase, nuclease and ligase, but the precise functions of most of these factors remain to be elucidated.

This project is focused on understanding the biology of DNA ligase function during T5-like phage infection. DNA ligases are essential enzymes in all forms of life. The T5 ligase is highly unusual as it is encoded as a split enzyme. We wish to understand the reason behind this unique molecular architecture, and to ask whether it is related to another highly unusual feature of T5-like phage: the presence of single-stranded nicks in the packaged genome. We wish to recruit a postdoctoral research assistant (PDRA) to undertake a programme of work that will primarily involve molecular genetic analysis of T5 ligase function (in particular, using T5 genome editing techniques) coupled with biochemical and structural analysis of the split enzyme.

The successful applicant will have a PhD degree in the biomolecular sciences and experience in the areas of microbiology, molecular genetics, molecular biology and/or biochemistry. Previous experience working in bacteriophage molecular biology, molecular genetics or genomics would be highly advantageous.

The post, which is available from 1 December 2021 for 2 years, is funded by the Leverhulme Trust. This project is based in the laboratory of molecular microbiologist Dr Stuart MacNeill in the BSRC at the University of St Andrews ( and is a collaboration with structural biologist Dr Julia Richardson at the University of Edinburgh ( You will join a well-motivated and friendly group in St Andrews working on DNA replication and genome stability in genetically tractable microbial model systems, including yeast, archaea and bacteriophage.

Informal enquiries are strongly encouraged and can be made to Dr Stuart MacNeill (e-mail:

Applications are particularly welcome from women, people from the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) community, and other protected characteristics who are under-represented in research posts at the University.  

The University is committed to equality for all, demonstrated through our working on diversity awards (Athena Swan, Carer Positive, LGBT Charter, Race Charters, and Stonewall).  Full details available online:

Please quote ref: AR2342SB

Closing Date: 29 October 2021

Interview Date: 11 November 2021

Further Particulars: AR2342SB FPs.doc

School of Biology
Salary: £34,304 per annum
Start: 1 December 2021 or as soon as possible thereafter
Fixed term for 2 years