icipe Postdoctoral Research Fellow (Chemical Ecologist) – BBSRC supported Sustainable Crop Production for International Development (SCPRID) Project

Postdoctoral Research Fellow (Chemical Ecologist) – BBSRC supported Sustainable Crop Production for International Development (SCPRID) Project

icipe – African Insect Science for Food and Health is an intergovernmental organisation funded by governmental aid agencies, UN organisations and private foundations to carry out research and training in environmentally sound and sustainable management of arthropods for improving health and agricultural productivity in the tropics. 

icipe has approximately 350 staff to support its research and capacity building programmes located at various sites in Kenya and Ethiopia.

icipe wishes to urgently recruit a suitable person to fill the position of Postdoctoral Research Fellow (Chemical Ecologist)-BBSRC supported Sustainable Crop Production for International Development (SCPRID) Project in the Push-Pull Programme. 

The SCPRID project, ‘Smart’ cereals for management of stemborer pests in staple cereals in Africa”, is a collaboration between Rothamsted Research (UK), icipe—African Insect Science for Food and Health (Kenya) and the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) (Kenya).

This position will be for a period of two years and is tenable at the icipe-Thomas R. Odhiambo Campus in western Kenya, with travel to partner institutions and fields in East Africa. 

A competitive remuneration package will be offered to the right candidate.


i. Overall duties

He/she will be expected to be among a team tasked with:

a. Identifying ‘smart’ maize and sorghum lines that emit plant volatiles as a defence response to stemborer egg deposition, and

b. Determining the underlying genes that govern this response.

ii. Specific duties

The successful candidate will be expected to:

  • Screen large maize and sorghum germplasm for the early herbivory trait. Part of this will involve headspace sampling of plant volatiles and conducting behavioural bioassays with insects to determine their responses to both the headspace samples and whole plants.
  • Expose plants to gravid moths for oviposition, collect the plant volatiles and use olfactometer bioassays to determine parasitoid responses to the samples.
  • Identify the key volatile organic compounds emitted by these plants and those that elicit behavioural responses in the insects.
  • Work closely with the icipe project team involved in phenotyping the maize and sorghum lines with the ‘smart’ trait, as well as the ICRISAT and BeCA based teams in genotyping, by sequencing DNA samples from these elite lines.
  • Compile the project’s technical reports.
Knowledge required for performing the job
  • Ability to design and undertake laboratory, screenhouse and field experiments.
  • Proficiency in use of statistical tools, especially R and other statistical software.
  • Working knowledge of molecular biology as well as experience in semiochemical research will be preferred.
  • PhD in chemical ecology with a strong background in entomology, obtained within the last five years from a recognised university.
  • Knowledge of chemical ecology procedures, including entrainment of headspace samples, GC, GC-MS and GC-EAD.
  • Track record of peer-reviewed publications and proposal development in these fields.
  • Excellent communications skills
  • Evidence of being a team player
  • Ability to work in a multi-cultural environment
  • Ability to mentor technical staff and students
  • Excellent leadership skills.
Applications will be accepted up to 22nd October 2012, or until the position is filled, whichever is earlier. 
Only applications of shortlisted candidates will be acknowledged. 
Please send an application with a detailed CV, a one page statement of research interests and names and addresses of 3 referees, including e-mail addresses and fax numbers to:

The Human Resources Department
icipe—African Insect Science for Food and Health
P.O. Box 30772-00100

Email: icipehr@icipe.org

With copy to: zkhan@icipe.org

icipe is an Equal Opportunity Employer

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