Monthly Archives: September 2009

Plate based Ammonium Acetate DNA extractions- CARE!!

…as mentioned in a recent meeting please be aware of changes to the protocol for carrying out this technique- note that extreme care is needed to prevent leakage from the strips of eight tubes (importantly take care when inverting the tubes when hot and absolutely DO NOT rotate in the oven). 37 degrees C. is better- and you may also need to ‘bleed’ them by opening the lids during heating to equalise the pressure). Anyway- you get the idea…

The technique is not perfect- but with a bit of care as above does work- mke sure you get an experienced buddy to help you 1st.  if you want to adapt it or source better tubes then please do so.

Papers of interest in Nature

These may be of interest to some. Both papers are on sex determination, the first is a paper by Smith et al. (see and the second is by Jenny Grave (see


Formamide/Hi Dye Aliquoits

Just a minor request…

If you return partially used Formamide aliquoits to freezer box, can you please check and mark clearly the remaining volume in the tube. Today was the second occasion where I found the aliquoit I was using was not at its expected volume.

Also, please don’t return aliquoits where size standard e.g. ROX has already been added

Thanks :)

David Gray in Manchester next Tues

Hi all,

my partner Mark and I are thinking of going to see David Gray at the Ritz in Manchester next Tuesday night:

Tickets are £29.50 + £2.95 booking fee + £4.80 one-off transaction fee, and the train is £7.50 one way if we book quickly.

I will probably be taking a train from Sheffield and meeting Mark there, and we’ll drive back to Sheffield after the concert.

Is anyone else a fan and keen to join us? Would be great if you give me an email asap and I’ll get everything booked!

Anna :)

books – all sold

Intro to Quantitative Genetics – Falconer & Mackay

 This book was requested by several people so I think the fairest thing is for it to be a lab-copy.

 Emily currently has the book on her desk in the lab.

New posters

Please could you give me a shout if you have a nice poster that you would like to be displayed in the corridor. It would be nice to put up some of the new ones made for ESEB if possible.

Ta, Debs

Postdoc with Juha Merila, Helsinki.

Postdoctoral Researcher, Evolutionary Genetics, University of HelsinkiA 1-2 year Postdoctoral Researcher position is available in the Ecological Genetics Research Unit (Head: Prof Juha Merila) in the Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences at the University of Helsinki, Finland. The position involves study the ecological and evolutionary genetics & genomics of fishes (three-spined stickleback, nine-spined stickleback and/or herring). The exact focus of the research is negotiable – several different lines of research are possible depending on the candidates background, skills and personal interests. This position offers an opportunity to continue on a fast lane to a scientific career – materials and most of the tools for conducting the research are already available.

Qualifications: The successful candidate will have a Ph.D in biology or a related field with a strong background in genetics. Good skills in molecular biology, genomics and/or population genetics – including analytical/ bioinformatic aspects of such a work – are required. Persons with interest on quantitative genetics and gene-mapping are particularly well placed. The candidate is expected to be able to express him/ herself fluently in English (written and spoken), be able to work both independently and as a member of a team, both nationally and internationally, and contribute to the supervision of PhD and MSc-theses. Excellent writing skills are essential.

Salary: The salary will be based on level 5 (about 2523,02 euros/month) of the demands level chart for teaching and research personnel in the salary system of Finnish universities. In addition, the appointees will be paid a salary component based on personal work performance.

Starting date: The work can start immediately but the starting date is negotiable.

About the research environment: The Ecological Genetics Research Unit (EGRU) is part of the Finnish Centre of Excellence in Evolutionary Genetics and Physiology and placed on the Viikki campus of the University of Helsinki ( ).The EGRU members work with population, evolutionary, and ecological genetics and genomics problems. Most of the work is addressing directly or indirectly broad, general evolutionary or conservation problems. Fish – nine-spined and three-spined sticklebacks in particular – constitute the main models, but also birds and amphibians are frequently used as models in the group’s research. More information of the research and our interests can be found at
To apply, please send a letter describing your interests and qualifications, a CV (including publication list), and contact information for three references (who have agreed to provide a letter of reference) to: Prof. Juha Merilä ( Dead-line for applications is 30.9.2009.

Books for sale – £3 each

Sold on behalf of an ex-Facility visitor.

The books are on my desk if you wish to look at them. 

Genes in Ecology – Berry, Crawford and Hewitt

Intro to Quantitative Genetics – Falconer & Mackay

The Basics of Selection – Bell

 Genetic and Ecological Diversity – Cook

The Insects, An Outline of Entomology – Gullian & Cranston

cheers, Debs

vacancy for a PhD-position

The research groups Animal Ecology and Microbial Ecology of the Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Studies (University of Groningen) have a vacancy for a PhD-position:

Project “How microbes shape bird eggs: matching pathogen risk and protection”

Microbes are everywhere. On birds, in birds, and around birds. Birds and eggs need to protect themselves from pathogenic influences, but may also benefit from the microbial communities that they house. This project explores how environmental conditions shape variation in microbial communities and thereby have evolutionary consequences for the protective systems of birds against microbes. We use the egg-nest unit as a simple model system to study the association between microbial communities (of the nest environment) and antimicrobial defenses (of the eggs). Inside an egg, invading microbes encounter a nutrient-rich environment. To protect the developing embryo from infection and death the egg employs antimicrobial defenses. When compared with the complex immune system of birds, the antimicrobial defense of eggs is simple. It consists of physical barriers (shell and membrane) and a chemical defense composed of several antimicrobial proteins. The project consists of two parts: 1. experimentally manipulating the nest microbial community and looking at effects on the antimicrobial defenses of eggs in captive birds, and 2. performing a comparative study on eggs of wild birds across a range of environmental conditions. Molecular tools from microbial ecology as well as immunological assays will need to be further developed and fine-tuned for this bird-project. This project fits in a larger research program focused on understanding how environmental pathogen pressure and avian immune defenses interact and vary across space and time.

We are looking for an enthusiastic and broad-minded candidate interested in integrating microbial and animal ecology. Ideally, you are a microbial ecologist with a passion for birds, or an animal ecologist with a special interest in microbes. A background in veterinary or animal science is also possible. You have experience with microbiological and biochemical laboratory work. Affinity with work on birds, in captivity and in the field, will be an advantage.

For more information please contact Dr. Irene Tieleman or Dr. Joana Salles (, or check:

Conditions of employment
The University of Groningen offers a PhD-fellowship (ca. €1600 per month) for a period of four years that should be completed with the defense of a PhD-dissertation. After one year, the performance of the candidate will be evaluated to decide whether there is sufficient progress to expect a successful completion of the PhD-thesis within the remaining three years. A training program is part of the PhD-trajectory. You and your supervisors will design a plan for additional education and supervision tailored to your specific needs. Your supervisors will be Dr. B. Irene Tieleman and Dr. Joana F. Salles.

Applicants should send a 1-page statement of research interests, motivation for this project and academic/professional goals; a complete CV; copies of publications; and names and contact information of two referees who can supply letters of recommendation upon our request.

Please send applications by email before 15 October 2009 to:
Dr. B. Irene Tieleman (, please mention MICROBIRD in the subject.

our competition blogs – Celine, Susie, Caspar

Dear all,

as you may know, we are off to the land of the rising sun for our aikido world championships. We have set up 2 blogs, so that you can follow our progress:

Caspar and Susie, British Universities Team:

Celine, Shodokan Aikido UK main team:

This international aikido tournament is held in Japan every 4 years, and gathers aikidoka from all over the world, so it’s a big thing for us! What is so special this year is that the event will mark the  20th anniversary of the death our founder, Professor Kenji Tomiki (Professor at Waseda University). To celebrate this, the Japan Aikido Association (JAA) has decided to host the tournament in Kyoto, a truly magical place!

So, catch the pictures of use training in Hong Kong and Macau (7-18th Sept) and then competing in the traditional Kyubutokuden dojo (20-23rd Sept)!

See you when we get back, hopefully all in one piece!