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Ministry for Primary Industries
Job Category:
Science and Environment
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Scientist and Senior Scientist PD.pdf (PDF, 333KB)
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Job Description

Molecular Biology Scientists

Fixed term positions for 1.5 years commencing in September


The Ministry for Primary Industries' Plant Health and Environment Laboratory in Auckland has opportunities for two full-time scientists to work on two operational research projects.

We are seeking two highly motivated and creative molecular biologists with a PhD or master's degree in molecular biology, microbiology, microbial genomics, bioinformatics or related field to work within our multidisciplinary team of scientists to develop a robust and accurate method in detecting and identifying exotic insect pests using environmental DNA (eDNA) approach  and to develop an effective method in identifying geographical origins of insect pests using restriction digest derived methods  (e.g., RADseq) via population genomic studies.


Key focus areas will include:

  • Environmental DNA (eDNA) sample collection and conducting studies of controlled experiments
  • DNA extraction from environmental samples and insects
  • Support the development and improvement of several high-throughput molecular biology pipelines including primer design, species-specific PCR/qPCR and restriction digest derived methods (e.g., RADseq) on insects
  • Next Generation sequencing (NGS) library preparation, quality check and preparation for sequencing on Illumina and Oxford nanopore
  • NGS sequence analysis (amplicon and genotyping) and development of analysis pipelines
  • Work closely with the team to develop experimental plans, validation reports, work instructions, and technology transfer documents
  • Independently execute laboratory experiments and/or advanced data analysis and interpretation with an emphasis on providing appropriate context for data and experiments to progress programs
  • Maintaining and enhancing MPI's international standing in the scientific community
  • Maintaining and enhancing our network of national and international laboratory collaborators
  • Prepare research reports and contribute to publications


Our ideal candidates will be team players with excellent communication skills, have demonstrated proficiency in genomics, genotyping-by-sequencing or haplotype studies in population genomics, and good laboratory practices. Preference will be given to applicants with broad molecular biology skills with some experience in bioinformatics data analysis. Prior experience with molecular assay development (e.g. primer design, PCR/qPCR, species-specific qPCR assay, RADseq), analysis and interpretation of NGS large-scale “omics” datasets are plus.


To view the position description and/or apply for the roles (submitting a cover letter and curriculum vitae), please visit MPI careers site. For tracking and reporting purposes, all applications must be submitted through our online careers portal.


In order to be considered for this role, applicants must be available for interview within New Zealand or via Skype.


If you have any questions about the role, you may contact Carly Birse at for a confidential discussion.


Applications for this role close on 10 July 2018 (NZDT)


The Ministry for Primary Industries is a diverse and inclusive workplace where everyone's differences are valued and respected. We welcome enquires from everyone and value diversity in the workplace and we are willing to consider flexible working arrangements. MPI is an employer of choice. 


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