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Current Vacancies

PhD Opportunity-Walsh Fellowship (sponsored by SFI)

Title of project: The development of early non-invasive and reliable molecular biomarkers of pregnancy in dairy cattle. 


A reliable early pregnancy test based on milk samples within 21 days of AI would mark a major advance in reproductive management of dairy herds. Current commercial methods of pregnancy diagnosis are based on ultrasonography, which are reliable at 28-30 days of gestation. The objectives of this project are to use targeted molecular approaches including RT-qPCR (miRNA), LC-MS/MRM (protein) and UPLC (IgG-glycan) to: i) evaluate the efficacy of these recently identified putative molecular biomarkers of early pregnancy in a larger population of dairy cattle; ii) fully characterise their profiles at earlier time-points during pregnancy; iii) validate the effects of pregnancy on candidate biomarkers; and iv) translate validated biomarkers into product development formats for commercial application and licensing as inline measurements, during milking, and therefore automated pregnancy diagnosis.


You will be a highly motivated individual with a good primary science degree (at least 2.1) in veterinary medicine, animal science, sciences or any other relevant biological science.  An MSc in an appropriate discipline is desirable (but not essential) and experience in cattle handling would be beneficial.

Start Date: October 2014

Location: The project will be located in both Teagasc, Grange Research Centre and UCD (School of Veterinary Medicine), with some additional time spent at the Institute of Technology, Tallaght.

For further information please contact

Prof Michael Diskin: michael.diskin@teagasc.ie Tel: +353 (0) 91-845841 or

 Prof Mark Crowe: mark.crowe@ucd.ie Tel: +353 1 716 6255 

Closing Date for Applications: 24th  September 2014

To apply, please send a CV and letter of interest to Dr. Niamh Mc Loughlin: niamh.mcloughlin@ucd.ie before the closing date.