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Ph.D Student - Systems Biology and Data Integration


The role and opportunity

AgResearch is looking for a dedicated Systems Biology Ph.D. student to join our Digital Agriculture team at either our Grasslands (Palmerston North), Lincoln (Canterbury) or Invermay (Dunedin) campus. This is a fixed-term (3 years), full-time position, with occasional travel to other campuses required.


You will perform research towards obtaining a Ph.D. You will interact with colleagues and supervisors to design a complete plan, analyse and interpret data, publish scientific findings and successfully defend your Ph.D. thesis.


The AgResearch Systems Biology platform embraces the inherent complexity and relationships in the networks between the different levels of omics datasets and develops novel data analysis approaches to help understand the systems. Research in agri-foods systems provides opportunities for data collection at multiple levels – from the soil microbiome, plant, animal or rumen biology, to food product properties and effects on consumers’ health. AgResearch activities in all these areas has produced and is producing large amounts of data. This includes data from genomics, proteomics, metabolomics, transcriptomics, and other data such as GPS, product quality, animal or human health measures.


Project aims

You will be part of a multi-disciplinary project team delivering high-quality science outcomes relevant to the Systems Biology platform and co-supervised by a lecturer from the statistics department at Massey University.


Omics observations will be used to reconstruct the underlying biological networks that govern the system with a specified level of accuracy. This project aims to characterise which omics observations are essential and the necessary conditions of these observations. This will allow the formulation of hypotheses of the behaviour of the networks and construct predictions about interactions in the systems under study. In the broader context, this will allow further validation of the predictive power with new experiments.



Your ideal background

  • Undergraduate/Postgraduate qualification in Statistics, Mathematics, Bioinformatics or similar related field
  • Qualification in a Biological Sciences discipline is preferred but not essential
  • Strong knowledge of statistics
  • An understanding of different Omics technologies and experience in bioinformatics, statistics, mathematical modeling, scripting, or programming


Our Benefits

When your work environment fits your values and your lifestyle, it is a better place to be. Our campuses are green, open, and developing, allowing you to enjoy your work and be productive at the same time – we offer flexibility and generous benefits to make sure our people feel supported and enjoy being part of the AgResearch team.

You can view the complete list here:


How to apply

This role will suit a passionate, talented and collaborative person who is motivated to drive their career forward within this vital New Zealand organisation. If this sounds like you, apply today using the link below, including a cover letter detailing why you feel you would be suitable for this position.

For further information, please contact either Matthieu Vignes from Massey, 06 951 7654 or Aurelie Laugraud from AgResearch Science Team Leader – Data Sciences South – 03 321 8626,

Applications close: 31st Oct 2021