First listed on: 29 May 2017

PhD Student in Systems Biology - Palmerston North, New Zealand 

The Organisation

AgResearch is the Crown Research Institute tasked with delivering cutting-edge agricultural science and innovation to benefit the wider New Zealand economy. Our internationally-recognised scientists work across the agricultural sectors in collaboration with a range of stakeholders both nationally and internationally, putting science and innovation at the forefront. We are proud to be a unique organisation that is driving prosperity by transforming agriculture.

The Role

We are seeking a PhD candidate who is an enthusiastic learner and has demonstrated academic excellence across disciplines to study human-microbial interactions that underpin immune protection. We promise you a great PhD experience if you decide to join our team.

The PhD will focus on complementary feeding strategies for the human microbiome in early life to develop nutritional interventions that support sustained immune health. The PhD will integrate omics data from multiple platforms, so a "systems biology" approach to visualise and interpret changes in biological pathways and networks in the infant based on "microbiomics" and metabolomics analyses. The PhD will complement clinical nutritional studies with infants that our collaborators will undertake at the University of Auckland.

The three-year studentship includes an annual tax-free stipend of NZD$30,000 p.a., tuition fees and consumables. The research will be undertaken in the Food Nutrition & Health team at AgResearch Grasslands and the Riddet Institute at Massey University in Palmerston North, New Zealand (NZ).

AgResearch Ltd is one of New Zealand's Crown Research Institutes, and the Riddet Institute is one of NZ's Centres of Research Excellence.

The project is funded by the National Science Challenge High-Value Nutrition and the student will be enrolled through the Riddet Institute at Massey University.


See Job Description for details.

About You

The ideal candidates must have:

  • Equivalent to a NZ University Masters or Honours degree in biochemistry, chemistry, physiology, microbiology or clinical nutrition;
  • Excellent communication skills (IELTS score of 6.5 required if English is not your first language);
  • Strong analytical and problem solving skills;
  • Experience with molecular and analytical chemistry research;
  • Ability to learn and work with a range of software packages that include those with command line interfaces;
  • Ability to learn and retain information, work independently and collaboratively, adapt to change, and plan, organise and implement projects in a timely manner; and
  • Demonstrated high ethical standards, diligence, integrity, professionalism, politeness and courteousness, and effectively work in a diverse team.

How to Apply

The intended start date for the project is 01 September 2017, or as soon as possible if the candidate can start earlier. The closing date for applications is 26 June 2017.

The application must include:

  • Cover letter (1-2 pages), explaining your interest and why you are suited to the position
  • CV (summarising education, employment, scientific outputs, names of 3 references)
  • Evidence of English proficiency
  • Copies of educational certificates, transcript of records (translated into English). Foreign applicants are advised to attach an explanation of their University's grading system.

All applications (relevant documents mentioned above) must be submitted online via,22789.html.              

If you would like to know more about this opportunity, please contact Professor Nicole Roy ( or Professor Warren McNabb (


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