Our business is using cutting-edge science to tackle major challenges in global health and agriculture.
We are a young company located at Milton Park, close to Oxford, one of the UK’s leading biotechnology clusters. We need people who share our vision in combating some of the world’s most damaging insect pests and who have a drive to make a difference, a commitment to deliver, and who have the skills and experience to succeed.
General Assistant, Oxitec Limited, UK
Main duties will include washing up and other general housekeeping tasks.
Part time, Mon-Friday hours to be discussed. Minimum wage.
To start early December 2013
Apply in writing to: Mrs Tracy Thompson
Oxitec Ltd, 71 Innovation Drive, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon, OX14 4RQ
or email: email@example.com
PhD place for D. suzukii
Fruit crops account for 17% of the value of the EU’s agricultural production. New and emerging pests like Drosophila suzukii (Diptera: Drosophilidae), which have been introduced into Europe recently, pose a major challenge to berry and stone-fruit crops. The female D. suzukii has a prominent serrated ovipositor which enables it to pierce the skin to deposit eggs inside the fruit [1,2]. The larvae feed and develop within the fruit, causing it to become soft and rot rapidly, resulting in reduced crop yields and significant financial losses. This is often compounded by secondary infection due to pathogens which enter via the ovipositor wound 
Since its first appearance in 2008, D. suzukii continues to spread in Europe. Eradication or containment of this pest is not feasible with any existing methods; insecticides, biological control, trapping etc. Therefore, the development for effective, innovative and practical control solutions is vital to minimise the economic impact of D. suzukii on fruit producers.
SIT  is a species-specific and environmentally friendly method of pest control. It relies upon the mass rearing, sterilisation and release large numbers of sterile male insects into the wild [4,5]. They mate with wild females, leading to a drop in the number of progeny in the next generation. If enough sterile males are released for a sufficient time, the population will collapse. SIT relies on irradiation to sterilise the target pest species but this can have a negative impact on the released insects’ performance . This and other problems associated with current SIT programmes could be overcome by the use of recombinant DNA methods. Oxitec Ltd is the world leader in developing such approaches and has developed a technique called RIDL (Release of Insects carrying a Dominant Lethal), which uses transgenic technology to overcome limitations of SIT [7,8].
This project seeks to build on this success in other pest species [9-15] by developing strains for eventual D. suzukii control in the field. The student will commence with insect transformation for generation and characterisation of RIDL strains of D. suzukii. The student will implement a phased series of incremental tests from laboratory and simulated field conditions to semi-field conditions. Important quantifiable properties include, nature and position of single insertion events, fluorescence assessment, transgene penetrance and expression pattern, the conditionality of expression, the fecundity of females, egg-to-adult survival rate and flight ability of adults. Mating ability of the RIDL males will be particularly addressed in comparison to both the wild-type background of the strains and to wild males collected from infested fruit. At the same time, rearing experiments will facilitate optimisation of protocols, with a view to developing capacity for future expansion to mass-rearing of D. suzukii.
The successful candidate will be strongly motivated, capable of independent work and will have a First or Upper Second Class degree in a relevant subject. Experience with standard molecular biology techniques such as PCR, RT-PCR, DNA extraction and electrophoresis would be highly advantageous.
To apply please use the online application system at:http://www.ox.ac.uk/admissions/postgraduate_courses/apply/ . Please remember to quote the studentship reference code SHIM01. Any queries regarding the application procedure please firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note that as this is a studentship project, no research proposal is required, please submit a statement of purpose/personal statement in its place. The University of Oxford is an Equal Opportunities employer.
The full award is for three years and includes a stipend from BBSRC (currently £13,726 pa) supplemented by £3,250pa from Oxitec Ltd, and is available only to residents of the UK, or those satisfying the BBSRC eligibility criteria (http://www.bbsrc.ac.uk/web/FILES/Guidelines/studentship_eligibility.pdf). Please see BBSRC website for full terms and conditions of studentship.