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Careers and Opportunities

Careers in Genetics

Genetics Otago and the Genetics Teaching Programme are both often asked: “What can I do with a degree majoring in Genetics?” While the answer is not quite “Anything!” it is pretty close.

The sectors requiring genetics graduates are only expanding: you could be a researcher, lab technician, innovator, genetic counsellor, bio-science marketer, forensic scientist, agricultural consultant, museum professional, science writer or journalist, policy advisor, environmental worker, teacher, patent specialist, and more.

In an attempt to show the diversity of jobs available to our graduates we hold an annual Career Evening in collaboration with the Department of Biochemistry and the Department of Microbiology and Immunology. Since 2019 these evenings have been recorded and you can watch a small selection of these presentations here.

You can watch more science graduates talk about their careers on this Careers Information Evenings YouTube playlist

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Current Opportunities

If you would like to advertise a project, job or opportunity please get in touch with us here.


  • The Neurodegenerative and Lysosomal Disease Laboratory is interested in the molecular and cellular processes in neurodegenerative disease; in particular how lysosome dysfunction influences disease processes. A better understanding of these processes helps us to develop relevant model systems in which we aim to find new therapeutic targets and test treatments. We have three projects available for prospective PhD students starting in 2021. Please see this attached document for more details. Contact for more details.

  • Ph.D. project funded by the DFG (German Research Foundation). The project is related to plant RNAs and is a collaboration with Prof. Andreas Wachter, a plant biologist at the University of Mainz. The advisor for this project is Dr Zasha Weinberg, Leipzig University. The project will involve writing computer scripts to implement new search strategies, and careful and creative analysis of computational results. More Info: RNA-plant-bioinfo-PhD-position Enquiries: Dr Zasha Weinberg.
  • PhD projects available for students interested in CRISPR-Cas and phages Supervised by Prof. Peter Fineran, Dept of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Otago, Dunedin, NZ. More Info: Fineran lab PhD positions 2021 Enquiries: Prof Peter Fineran
  • Molecular Mechanisms, Genomics and Role of the Microbiome in Response to Therapy in Rectal Cancer Departments of Surgery and Pathology & Biomedical Science, University of Otago, Christchurch supervised by Dr Rachel Purcell, A/Prof John Pearson and Prof Frank Frizelle. More Info PhD – Molecular Mechanisms, Genomics and Role of the Microbiome in Response to Therapy in Rectal Cancer Enquiries: Dr Rachel Purcell
  • Mushrooms and truffles – why are they different? Departments of Botany and Biochemistry, University of Otago supervised by Dr D Orlovich (Botany), Dr Chris Brown (Biochemistry), Dr Tina Summerfield (Botany) More Info: Mushrooms and truffles – why are they different? Enquiries: Dr David Orlovich
  • Investigation of the connection between cohesin’s roles in cell division and gene expression in embryonic cell fate commitment. Department of Pathology, supervised by Professor Julia Horsfield. More Info here Enquiries: Prof Julia Horsfield
  • Investigation of a Wnt/cohesin cause for AML. Department of Pathology, supervised by Professor Julia Horsfield. More Info here Enquiries: Prof Julia Horsfield
  • Reversal of enhancer dysregulation to combat cohesin-mutant leukemia. Department of Pathology, supervised by Professor Julia Horsfield. More Info here Enquiries: Prof Julia Horsfield


  • A 3-year fixed term Postdoctoral Fellow is available in the Plant Development and Reproduction Laboratory in the Biochemistry Department at the University of Otago. The Postdoctoral Fellow will work on a Marsden-funded project looking at germline fate in flowering plants. In flowering plants the male germline is formed following the asymmetric division of a haploid microspore, and is hypothesised germline specification depends on the unequal inheritance of one or more regulatory factors. While the identity of such factors is unknown, the outcome is the expression of the germline specific transcription factor DUO POLLEN 1 (DUO1). The goal of this project is to understand how DUO1 is regulated at the transcriptional level, and to explore how this regulation relates to asymmetric division. Candidates should have a PhD in the general area of molecular biology or biochemistry, should be highly skilled in experimental work and have strong communication skills. Further details, along with how to apply, are available on the University of Otago Current Vacancies page (, position 2002291.


None Currently available.

Department of Conservation Postgraduate Research Scholarships 2021  – A total of 10 one-year scholarships for MSc or Hons Students worth up to $15000 each will be awarded for conservation-related research in natural and social sciences. More Details: DOC Website. Apply here between 20 October – 20 December 2020.


  • Division of Sciences Outreach Certificate – If you are a student who would like to earn hours towards an outreach certificate please get in touch. We have opportunities to write for our Blog, to participate in school outreach and to help in the organisation of hubs and events.
  • Professor Martin Kennedy, EDGI NZ co-lead Investigator, is looking for any New Zealander, aged 16 and over, with first-hand experience of an eating disorder, to volunteer for an important genetics study. For more information or to volunteer, visit or email

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