Postdoctoral Researcher
Post Details
Job Title
Postdoctoral Researcher
Post Number
1003580
Closing Date
16 Dec 2018
Grade
SC6
Starting Salary
£31,250 - £38,100
Hours per week
37
Project Title
Epigenetic reprogramming in germ cells
Expected/Ideal Start Date
21 Jan 2019
Months Duration
24
Interview Date
10 Jan 2019

Job Description

Main Purpose of the Job

The laboratory of Dr Xiaoqi Feng at the John Innes Centre (JIC) is seeking a talented postdoctoral scientist to investigate the epigenetic regulation of germline development, a project funded by ERC for 5 years. The Feng laboratory uses the Arabidopsis male germline as a model system to study the mechanisms underlying germline epigenetic reprogramming. The ease of cell isolation, tolerance of Arabidopsis for epigenetic mutations, and the conservation in epigenetic machineries between plants and animals makes the Arabidopsis male germline a uniquely powerful model for understanding germline epigenetics. The postdoc will investigate the mechanisms underlying germline chromatin reconfigurations using a combination of genetics, epigenomics, imaging and developmental biology approaches.

Key Relationships

Internal: Line manager, group members and, as necessary, other researchers, research support staff and students across the Institute.

External: Collaborators

Main Activities & Responsibilities

Identify, plan, carry out and modify experiments to meet the objectives of the project
Prepare results, reports and manuscripts for publication in leading scientific journals and other relevant media
Disseminate research findings through presentations to various audiences at internal, national and international meetings
Collaborate with colleagues within the Institute in the development of original and world-class research, including contributing to research proposals and grant applications
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
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
Continually strive for excellence, seeking out and acting on feedback and relevant learning and development opportunities
As agreed with the line manager, any other duties commensurate with the nature of the post, for example, contributing to the work of Institute committees
Liaise with industry and other external stakeholders

Person Profile

Education & Qualifications

Requirement
Importance
PhD (full award or expected within 6 months) or equivalent in life sciences
Essential
BSc or equivalent
Essential

Specialist Knowledge & Skills

Requirement
Importance
Good knowledge of epigenetics
Essential
Skilled in genetics and molecular biology
Essential
Bioinformatics skills
Desirable
Biochemistry and microscopy skills
Desirable

Relevant Experience

Requirement
Importance
Demonstrated ability to perform research and develop novel ideas in molecular biology
Essential
Proven record in scientific writing
Essential
Experience of oral research presentations
Essential
Experience of supervising, training and mentoring visitors and students
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 follow instructions/Standard Operating Procedures
Essential
Promotes and strives for continuous improvement
Essential

Additional Requirements

Requirement
Importance
Attention to detail
Essential
Promotes equality and values diversity
Essential
Willingness to embrace the expected values and behaviours of all staff at the Institute, ensuring it is a great place to work
Essential
Able to present a positive image of self and the Institute, promoting both the international reputation and public engagement aims of the Institute
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

Germ cells are “immortal” as they can be indefinitely transmitted through generations. A key regulator of their immortality is the genome-wide reprogramming of the chromatin state beyond the genetic (called ‘epigenetic’) code.

Understanding this reprogramming is a crucial aspect of germline biology. Conversely, germlines are also essential for understanding epigenetics because they mediate inheritance and uniquely undergo large-scale epigenetic changes.

Compared to animals, plant germlines differentiate much later and undergo distinct epigenetic changes despite highly conserved epigenetic pathways.

These differences make plant germlines invaluable for revealing the core principles of epigenetics and sexual reproduction. Plant germlines are also of enormous practical significance because they produce the seeds that comprise most of our staple food.

Xiaoqi’s research aims to answer 3 interconnected questions regarding plant germline epigenetics:

1) How do chromatin landscapes change during germline development and what are the underlying mechanisms?

2) What are the biological functions of these epigenetic changes?

3) How are environment-induced epigenetic memories transmitted and/or erased in germlines?

Through addressing these questions, she hopes to provide deep insights into epigenetic mechanisms and germline functions, and reveal how chromatin is developmentally regulated and in turn directs development.

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The laboratory of Dr Xiaoqi Feng at the John Innes Centre (JIC) is seeking a talented postdoctoral scientist to investigate the epigenetic regulation of germline development, as part of an exciting project funded by ERC.

The Feng Laboratory:

The Feng laboratory uses the Arabidopsis male germline as a model system to study the mechanisms underlying germline epigenetic reprogramming. The ease of cell isolation, tolerance of Arabidopsis for epigenetic mutations, and the conservation in epigenetic machineries between plants and animals makes the Arabidopsis male germline a uniquely powerful model for understanding germline epigenetics.

Dr. Feng is an EMBO Young Investigator and BBSRC David Phillips Fellow. Her lab members have opportunities supported by EMBO, BBSRC and ERC for training and networking. JIC is an internationally-renowned plant biology research institute housing many world-leading scientists and featuring state-of-the-art infrastructure. The postdoc will benefit from the training in the Feng lab, various programs available at JIC, and interactions with scientists in JIC, and the closely associated Sainsbury Laboratory and Quadram Institute Bioscience. JIC is situated in Norwich, which is a beautiful and lively city with a lot of arts and history, and a great place to live.

The role:

The postdoc will investigate the mechanisms underlying germline chromatin reconfigurations using a combination of genetics, epigenomics, imaging and developmental biology approaches. In addition, they will also carry out the following activities:
•     Prepare results, reports and manuscripts for publication in leading scientific journals
•     Disseminate research findings through presentations to various audiences at national and international meetings
•     Collaborate with colleagues within the Institute in the development of original and world-class research, including contributing to research proposals and grant applications

The ideal candidate:

The Feng Lab welcomes scientists who are passionate about epigenetics and/or germlines to apply. Candidates should have skills in genetics and molecular biology, and possess a proven record in scientific writing. They should have a PhD (full award or expected within 6 months of applying) in a life sciences subject.

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 2 years in the first instance, with the possibility of extension.

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.