Research Fellow

Robert Gordon University

  • Location: Aberdeen
  • £34,189 to £39,609 per annum, Research 7
  • Hours: Full Time
  • Contact: Please see description
  • Reference: RGU02363

Job Summary

The School of Pharmacy and Life Sciences is a vibrant academic community and provides education in a number of subjects including pharmacy, forensic science, biomedical science and nutrition. The School is housed in a state of the art building and has facilities designed to simulate both clinical and community settings providing a stimulating learning environment.

Our vision is to provide dynamic and transformational learning, teaching and research that makes a leading contribution to improving the health and well-being of local, national and global communities.

This post provides an exciting opportunity for a passionate microbiologist with expertise in microbiome analysis leading to the development of a low cost nature-based water treatment solution. The focus of the study will be on the elimination of cyanotoxins from well water in Sri Lanka where they are thought to contribute to an increased rise in kidney disease. The Research Fellow will join the world-class CyanoSol Research Group on a BBSRC funded Global Challenges Research Funding (GCRF) project part of the Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy in the Developing World (IBBEDW): A scalable Bio-based Solution to Eliminate Cyanotoxins in Drinking Water.

CyanoSol Research group at RGU, led by Professors Lawton and Edwards are global experts in production, analysis and remediation of cyanotoxins (especially microcystins and cylindrospermopsin) with current funding from EPSRC, BBSRC, Innovate UK and Industry. The research is underpinned by outstanding analytical facilities (HPLCs, UPLC-QTOF, IC, GC-MS, preparative LC-MS, LC-MS) along with a bespoke microbiology suite including large scale algal culturing (c. 1200 L/month) and downstream processing. The group has an extensive network of industrial and academic collaborators worldwide.

This Project will develop a simple but innovative biotechnological solution to
remove cyanotoxins from water, with particular emphasis on contaminated water in Sri Lankan single-household dug wells in rural communities in line with UNG 6.1 and the Sri Lankan strategy for providing safe drinking water for all by 2030.This will be achieved by a multidisciplinary team that has been brought together to provide an appropriate balance of skills, resources and practical experience in a partnership with the Universities of Sri Jayewardenepura and Peradeniya in Sri Lanka, along with Queens University Belfast and the University of Edinburgh.

The successful applicant will be responsible for development, optimisation, characterisation and application of a natural microbiome capable of lysing cyanobacteria and degrading their harmful toxins.
For informal discussion contact Professor Linda Lawton, or Professor Christine Edwards,

This post is subject to a Disclosure Scotland check. For more information visit:

Closing Date: 05 May 2019

Job Description

RESPONSIBLE TO: Prof Christine Edwards

RESPONSIBLE FOR: No Supervisory Responsibility


Contribute to delivery of milestones & deliverables on BB/S011579/1


The core activity will be to carry out the research aims of this investigation for the enrichment of microbiomes capable of being maintained on low cost inert media for application in cyanotoxins removal. This will include community profiling, analysis of degradation kinetics, by-product characterisation and microbiome stability.
Close communication with research project team both in the UK and Sri Lanka.
Responsible for ensuring execution of data management plan on this project.
Contribute to the overarching research culture in CyanoSol, School and University.
Prepare drafts of manuscripts for publication.
Prepare external grant applications.
Prepare PowerPoint presentations for team meetings, training workshops, public outreach and conferences.
Provide day to day support to a small team of postgraduate and undergraduate research students.
Provide training, where necessary, in laboratory techniques to undergraduate and postgraduate research students.
Ensure there is adherence to health and safety and legislative requirements. Contribute to research team meetings at school and university level.

Person Specification


Qualifications and Professional Memberships

Qualified to PhD level

Knowledge and Experience

Extensive experience of applied microbiology
Experience of characterisation and application of natural occurring microbes and microbial communities
Experience in next generation sequencing or equivalent profiling
Excellent written and communication skills as evidenced by publications in high impact journals
Outstanding abilities in experimental design, Data analysis, interpretation and presentation
Ability to work independently and in a team
Good organisational and time management skills


Knowledge and Experience

Experience of cyanobacteria and their toxins and/or aquatic microbiology
Experience or appreciation of biodegradation, bioremediation and natural microbiome augmentation
Excellent analytical expertise especially HPLC, LC-MS & LC-MS/MS including quantification, by-product characterisation and product isolation
Experience of selection and application of appropriate statistical techniques
Evidence of grant success
Experience of organising and delivery public outreach events


Behaviour 1: Communication - Ability to receive, understand and convey information requiring careful explanation and information of a complex or conceptual nature, in a clear and accurate manner

Behaviour 2: Analysis and Research - Experience of developing hypotheses and concepts to explain data, events and phenomena, and reporting findings to a wider community

Behaviour 3: Pastoral Care and Welfare - Experience of calming and reassuring those with work/study related problems who may be experiencing distress and dealing with difficult welfare situations or confidential matters

Behaviour 4: Liaison and Networking - Experience of circulating information in an accurate and timely manner, working across team boundaries to build and strengthen working relationships and leading and developing internal

Behaviour 5: Initiative and Problem Solving - Experience of using initiative and creativity to resolve problems, identifying practical and suitable solutions.

Behaviour 6: Decision Making - Experience of using own judgement to make decisions, making collaborative decisions with others to reach conclusions and providing advice or information that will influence the decisions of others

Applications must be made online at

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