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Microbiome research

A postgraduate research opportunity at the University of Otago.


Close date
Saturday, 1 July 2017
Academic background
Sciences, Health Sciences
Host campus
On-campus or via distance?
Microbiology and Immunology
Dr Sergio Morales, Dr Xochitl Morgan, Associate Professor Paul Phillip Gardner


Qualified candidates are invited to apply to pursue a PhD project in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand. This research project will be part of a fully-funded collaboration aimed at understanding the interactions between the microbial communities of soil, water, plants, and animals, and how they drive sustainable pastoral productivity. The goal of this project is to investigate the connections and interactions between these agricultural microbiomes and to develop innovative microbiome-informed technologies to drive greater agricultural productivity and reduced environmental impacts. The PhD student will initially benchmark the available tools for microbiome and metagenomic data analysis using publically available datasets, and will lead the analysis of data from field experiments generated in this project.

The successful candidate will be hosted by the Morales lab, and will be co-supervised by Xochitl Morgan and Paul Gardner. The PhD student will join a dynamic team of researchers across multiple universities and research institutes across New Zealand, with regional and international collaborations.


Candidates should have a degree which includes a graded thesis component demonstrating his/her research ability. Published, peer-reviewed papers are desirable but not essential. All applicants will be required to apply for an Otago scholarship to cover tuition and stipends (not controlled by PI see here for details:, Candidates should be willing to work in multidisciplinary research teams, show leadership and independence, and must have strong English written and oral skills. Experience in generation and analysis of next-generation sequencing data, strong computer skills and/or proficiency in R or Python are ideal.


The position will begin August 2017 at the earliest.

Application requirements

With each application you must include:

  • CV
  • A personal statement
  • Transcripts
  • A copy of your honours or master's thesis
  • Two potential references (including contact details)


Dr Sergio E. Morales
Tel   64 3 479 3140