Postdoctoral Researcher
Post Details
Job Title
Postdoctoral Researcher
Post Number
1003571
Closing Date
31 Dec 2018
Grade
SC6
Starting Salary
£31,250 - £38,100
Hours per week
37
Project Title
Regulation of stem initiation and plant architecture
Expected/Ideal Start Date
04 Mar 2019
Months Duration
36

Job Description

Main Purpose of the Job

The postholder will investigate how regulatory genes and intercellular signals regulate development of the plant stem.

The genetic control of stem growth is central to plant architecture, but remains one of the least understood aspects of plant development. There is also a need for more precise genetic tools to modify stem growth and plant architecture.

Our previous work in Arabidopsis has shown that the ATH1 gene functions in a specific region of the shoot apical meristem, called the rib zone (RZ), to control stem development. Now, we aim to understand how ATH1 controls RZ activity and how it is connected to signals that activate stem growth during flowering. Based on this knowledge, we also aim to explore regulatory changes in ATH1 as a source of variation in plant architecture in both Arabidopsis and Brassica.

The post holder will develop this project by pursuing the following objectives:
1. Test whether ATH1 restricts the levels and signalling of the gibberellin hormone in the RZ
2. Test whether ATH1 and genes that mediate gibberellin signalling (DELLAs) converge on the regulation of brassinosteroid signalling to control RZ growth
3. Identify upstream regulatory interactions that repress ATH1 to promote stem elongation
4. Explore the role of genetic variation in ATH1 in Brassica architecture

Key Relationships

Internal: Robert Sablowski, Sablowski group members
External: wider public (for public engagement activities)

Main Activities & Responsibilities

Percentage
Identify, plan, carry out and modify experiments to meet the objectives of the project
70
Prepare results, reports and manuscripts for publication in leading scientific journals and other relevant media
5
Disseminate research findings through presentations to various audiences at internal, national and international meetings
5
Collaborate with colleagues within the Institute in the development of original and world-class research, including contributing to research proposals and grant applications
5
Liaise with industry and other external stakeholders
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 requirements
5
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

Person Profile

Education & Qualifications

Requirement
Importance
PhD (full award or expected within 6 months) or equivalent in cell biology, development or molecular biology or related discipline
Essential
BSc or equivalent in Biology or related area
Essential

Specialist Knowledge & Skills

Requirement
Importance
Proficiency in general molecular biology techniques
Essential
Good knowledge of statistics
Desirable
Experience with plant genetics
Desirable
Experience with confocal microscopy
Desirable
Experience in developmental biology
Desirable

Relevant Experience

Requirement
Importance
Demonstrated ability to produce research results leading to high-quality publications in an area relevant to the project
Essential
Experience of oral research presentations
Essential
Experience of supervising, training and mentoring visitors and students
Desirable
Preparing data / information for grant proposals
Desirable

Interpersonal & Communication Skills

Requirement
Importance
Excellent communication skills, both written and oral, including the ability to present complex information with clarity
Essential
Good interpersonal skills, with the ability to work as part of a team
Essential
Demonstrated ability to work independently, using initiative and applying problem solving skills
Essential
Excellent time management and organisational skills
Essential
Ability to collaborate with internal and external stakeholders
Essential
Promotes and strives for continuous improvement
Essential

Additional Requirements

Requirement
Importance
Promotes equality and values diversity
Essential
Attention to detail
Essential
Ability to maintain confidentiality and security of information where appropriate
Essential
Willingness to work outside standard working hours when required
Essential
Ability to undertake occasional travel (national and international) related to collaborations and/or seminars
Essential

Who We Are

John Innes Centre

The John Innes Centre is an independent, international centre of excellence in plant science and microbiology, carrying out fundamental and strategic research, to train scientists and making our findings available to society.

Our research makes use of a wide range of disciplines in the biological and chemical sciences including; cell biology, biochemistry, chemistry, genetics and molecular biology.

We pride ourselves 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. We are proud to hold a prestigious Athena SWAN Gold award, recognising the impact of our work in promoting gender equality in science. 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.

Department

Cell & Developmental Biology

Development continues throughout the life of the plant. While many linear pathways affecting development have been discovered and are illustrated by elegant genetic studies, the challenge of the future will be for us to understand how these developmental pathways are integrated, both with themselves as well as with environmental signals, to enable a mature plant to grow from a seed.  Guided by evolutionary principles, the Department uses its knowledge of biological processes obtained in laboratory organisms such as Arabidopsis to understand processes in crop plants such as Brassicas and cereals.  To study this interaction of the plant genome with internal developmental networks and the environment, the Department uses a combination of genetic, cell biological, molecular and evolutionary strategies. The insights we are gaining provide both an increasingly detailed knowledge of the proteins involved in diverse regulatory mechanisms and a conceptual framework in which this knowledge can be related and eventually integrated into a molecular description of plant cell function.   The knowledge the department is creating is relevant to agriculture. Genes that control plant stature, form, over-wintering responses and growth are potentially useful for improving crop performance.

Group Details

For further details about the lab, please visit
http://www.jic.ac.uk/STAFF/robert-sablowski/sablowski.htm
or
http://www.jic.ac.uk/directory/robert-sablowski/

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Applications are invited for a Postdoctoral Researcher to join the Laboratory of Professor Robert Sablowski at the John Innes Centre based in Norwich, UK.

The role:

The control of stem growth is central to the way genes shape plants, but remains one of the least understood aspects of plant development. This knowledge will also lead to more precise genetic tools to increase crop productivity by modifying stem growth. Our previous work in Arabidopsis has shown that the ATH1 gene functions in a specific region of the shoot apical meristem, called the rib zone (RZ), to control stem development.

The successful candidate will join our team to investigate how ATH1 controls RZ activity and how this gene is connected to signals that activate stem growth during flowering. Based on this knowledge, another objective will be to explore regulatory changes in ATH1 as a source of variation in plant architecture in both Arabidopsis and in crop species.

The ideal candidate:

A PhD in cell biology, development or molecular biology is required. The ideal candidate will have a proven record of scientific productivity and will combine rigorous and creative thought with attention to detail and ability to integrate their own project and results with knowledge from the relevant literature. Experience with plant genetics, developmental biology, and good knowledge of statistics will be advantageous.

Additional information:

Salary on appointment will be within the range £31,250 to £38,100 per annum depending on qualifications and experience. This is a fulltime post for a period of 3 years.

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.