Vacancy Details: Postdoctoral Researcher (Osbourn Group)

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John Innes Centre

JIC is an independent, international centre of excellence in plant science and microbiology. Our mission is to carry out fundamental and strategic research, to train scientists and to make our findings available to society.

The scientific research at the Centre makes use of a wide range of disciplines in the biological and chemical sciences, including cell biology, biochemistry, chemistry, genetics and molecular biology.

The John Innes Centre prides itself on being a welcoming and inclusive working environment for all. We have a diverse and multicultural scientific community and thrive on our European and international links. The John Innes Centre is proud to hold a prestigious Athena SWAN Gold award, recognising the impact of our work in promoting gender equality in science. For more information, go to We are also a proud member of the Stonewall Diversity Champion’s programme and, as a Disability Confident employer, guarantee to offer an interview to all disabled applicants who meet the essential criteria for the post.

The John Innes Centre is a registered charity (No. 223852), limited by guarantee (registered in England No. 511709) and is an Equal Opportunities Employer.

Athena Swan

disability confident employer

   Stonewall Diversity Champion

Advancing gender equality in science, engineering and technology.

Post Number1003389
Job TitlePostdoctoral Researcher (Osbourn Group)
Closing Date7 Feb 2018
Starting Salary£31,250 - £35,400
Hours per week 37
Project Title Natural product chemist
Expected/Ideal Start Date 25 Mar 2018
Months Duration 24
Main purpose of the job Applications are invited for a Postdoctoral Scientist with expertise in natural products chemistry. The post involves extraction, purification and characterisation of medicinally important simple and complex triterpenes generated using synthetic biology-based approaches. The successful candidate will work with other researchers within the Osbourn lab as part of a multi-disciplinary team.

Further details of this project and the laboratory can be found at
Department Metabolic Biology
The aims of research in the Department of Metabolic Biology are to understand the basis of diversity in plant metabolism, and the interplay between metabolism and plant nutrition, development and responses to disease and stress. This information underpins the development of sustainable agriculture and bio-based industries.
Group Details The Postdoctoral Scientist appointed to this position will be based in the Department of Metabolic Biology at the John Innes Centre.
Advert Text Postdoctoral Researcher (Osbourn Group)

Applications are invited for a Postdoctoral Researcher to join the Laboratory of Ann Osbourn at the John Innes Centre (JIC).

The role:

The postholder will develop strategies for the extraction, purification and characterisation of medicinally important simple and complex triterpenes (saponins) generated using synthetic biology approaches.

The successful applicant will join a team led by Professor Anne Osbourn at JIC working on metabolic engineering of plant-derived natural products using rapid and powerful transient plant expression technology. The JIC has state-of-the-art facilities for small molecule analysis.

The position is one of four postdoctoral positions funded by a Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) Super Follow-on Fund award for translational research and will provide excellent interdisciplinary training opportunities in plant synthetic biology.

The ideal candidate:

The John Innes Centre is a world-class Institute and is looking to appoint an exceptional candidate with a PhD or equivalent in chemistry, biochemistry or a related discipline. We will be providing the job-holder with opportunities to develop their technical and transferable skills during this assignment, by way of training programmes, coaching and mentoring.

The successful applicant will have excellent natural products chemistry skills, including in extraction, purification and structural elucidation. Experience of GC-MS, LC-MS and NMR are essential. Experience of working with terpenes, and more specifically triterpenes, is desirable.

Additional information:

Salary on appointment will be within the range £31,250 to £35,400 per annum depending on qualifications and experience. This post is for a contract of two years.

For further information and details of how to apply, please visit our web site or contact the Human Resources team on 01603 450462 or quoting reference 1003389.

We are an equal opportunities employer, actively supporting inclusivity and diversity. As a Disability Confident organisation, we guarantee to offer an interview to all disabled applicants who meet the essential criteria for this vacancy. The John Innes Centre is also proud to hold a Gold Award from Athena SWAN and is a member of Stonewall’s Diversity Champions programme.
Key relationships The successful applicant will be line-managed by Professor Anne Osbourn. The position is one of four postdoctoral positions funded by a Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) Super Follow-on Fund award for translational research. The successful applicant will work closely with this team and with John Innes Centre Metabolite Services.

Main Activities & ResponsibilitiesPercentage
Extraction, purification and characterisation of simple and complex triterpenes (saponins)65
Collate and analyse results, plan further experiments, discuss with project team10
Presentation of results as papers and seminars, participation in discussion with other collaborators, attending meetings and seminars, outreach5
Contribute to the smooth running of the group, including the effective use of resources, supervision of visitors to the laboratory and assisting with training others, encouraging scientific excellence 5
Ensure research and record keeping is carried out in accordance with good practice, Scientific Integrity and in compliance with local policies and any legal requirements5
Continually strive for excellence, seeking out and acting on feedback and relevant learning and development opportunities5
As agreed with the line manager, any other duties commensurate with the nature of the post5

Education & QualificationsRequirementImportance
PhD in chemistry, biochemistry or a related discipline, or equivalentEssential

Specialist Knowledge & SkillsRequirementImportance
Knowledge of GC-MS and/or LC-MSEssential
Natural product chemistry, including extraction, purification and structural elucidationEssential
Knowledge of NMR, metabolite profiling/metabolomicsEssential

Relevant ExperienceRequirementImportance
Extensive experience in natural product chemistry Essential
Previous experience of compound extraction, purification and characterisationEssential
Experience of GC-MS and/or LC-MS; NMR, metabolic profiling/metabolomicsEssential
Experience of analysing terpenesDesirable

Interpersonal & Communication SkillsRequirementImportance
Evidence of intellectual independence, rigour and creativity Essential
Experience of oral presentation to scientific audiencesEssential
Ability to work well in a teamEssential
Good verbal and written communication skillsEssential

Additional RequirementsRequirementImportance
Promotes equality and values diversityEssential
Able to present a positive image of self and the Institute, promoting both the international reputation and public engagement aims of the Institute Essential
Willingness to work outside standard working hours when required Essential

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