Senior Optical Microscopist
Post Details
Job Title
Senior Optical Microscopist
Post Number
1003609
Closing Date
22 Jan 2019
Grade
SC5
Starting Salary
£39,150 - £47,850
Hours per week
37
Expected/Ideal Start Date
11 Mar 2019
Months Duration
Indefinite
Interview Date
31 Jan 2019

Job Description

Main Purpose of the Job

Join the Bioimaging facility providing light and electron microscopy services to the John Innes Centre. The main purpose of this job is to take overall responsibility for the optical microscopes, including multiple high-end confocals and a super-resolution system. The post holder will be expected to organise and deliver a high-quality training programme and offer technical support to the optical microscopy users, including helping with sample preparation and advanced optical technologies such as FLIM, FCS, SIM and STORM. They will offer support in image analysis and data management and will develop or refine techniques to suit specialist research needs or new samples. They will seek the best deals for new optical microscopes and their service contracts by liaising with manufacturers. These tasks will be achieved with assistance from an optical microscopy support post, whom the post holder will line-manage. They will also assist the head of the facility (Kim Findlay) by recommending, testing and procuring new optical microscope purchases and assist with operational activities and future planning for the facility. They will interact with scientists at all levels on a daily basis to support their research. They will also be expected to provide basic support for a few other confocal microscopes on site that are not part of the Bioimaging facility (e.g. housed within specific research groups). They will be a member of the Bioimaging steering committee and work collaboratively with their colleagues, both in the Bioimaging team and other stakeholders, to sustain, develop and help lead an excellent technology platform, vitally important to the Institute’s strategic programmes.

Key Relationships

The post will work most closely with, and be the line manager for, an optical microscopy support post in the same team. The post will be line managed by the head of the facility and their countersigning officer will be a member of faculty.
They will be expected to work as part of a team of Bioimaging facility staff, delivering a professional and high-quality service to Science. Internally, they will interact with all levels of staff within the Institute, mainly during training of users on the light microscopes and in collaborative research projects. Externally, they will interact with other staff on the Norwich Research Park, collaborators, funding bodies, microscope manufacturers, peers and staff at other UK imaging facilities and other stakeholders.

Main Activities & Responsibilities

Percentage
Training users in light microscopy techniques: Overall responsibly for the delivery of optical microscopy training, including a level of supervision and mentoring for the researchers, students and visitors whilst they are working in the Bioimaging facility. This training will be delivered with the help of the optical microscopy support post, using a combination of 1:1 training at the instruments, theory and practical courses, and documentation such as SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures).
40
Development of new tools and techniques: Advanced light microscopy techniques can be complex, therefore novel ways of thinking, new tools, optimisation or development work may be needed to suit different samples or research objectives.
20
Collaborative research projects: Performing advanced or non-standard imaging techniques where research groups need significant specialist input in optical microscopy, over and above the usual training and technical support. Such projects are usually costed into grants and make up approximately 20% of time each year, depending on available capacity and research requirements.
20
Advice and troubleshooting: Responsibility for trouble-shooting problems with the optical microscopes, associated computers and sample prep equipment, with assistance from the optical microscopy support post and service engineers. The post holder will also offer technical solutions to imaging problems, advise on experimental design, recommend techniques and help interpret imaging data from the optical microscopes, in order to ensure scientific integrity and high-quality results.
10
Maintenance and developing the Bio-imaging infrastructure: Basic servicing/maintenance of the existing optical microscopes. Submission of funding proposals for new optical microscopes and associated equipment in the facility and overseeing the evaluation, procurement, installation and commissioning of such systems. Some administrative and operational duties, contributions to strategic thinking and future planning for the Bioimaging facility. Line management of an optical microscopy support post.
10
As agreed with line manager, any other duties commensurate with the nature of the role

Person Profile

Education & Qualifications

Requirement
Importance
BSc (Biological Sciences or Physics)
Essential
PhD in a relevant subject
Desirable

Specialist Knowledge & Skills

Requirement
Importance
Detailed, high-level knowledge of common light microscopy techniques e.g. phase contrast, DIC, polarised light, dark field, fluorescence and confocal microscopy.
Essential
Scientific knowledge of cell biology.
Essential
Detailed knowledge of advanced optical techniques e.g. live-cell imaging, SIM, STORM, FRET, FLIM and FCS
Essential
Good teaching skills and experience.
Essential
Good computing skills, with experience in image analysis and data management.
Essential
Good organisational skills.
Essential

Relevant Experience

Requirement
Importance
Extensive practical experience on a range of light microscopes.
Essential
Experience in managing technical equipment and resources.
Essential
Knowledge of optical engineering.
Desirable

Interpersonal & Communication Skills

Requirement
Importance
Ability to remain calm and trouble-shoot problems quickly.
Essential
Strong communication skills, both written and verbal.
Essential
Confidence to teach or demonstrate clearly to a variety of audiences.
Essential
Strong team player: working with others to reach a common goal, sharing information and supporting colleagues.
Essential
Good interpersonal skills, with the ability to engage with optical microscopy users at all levels.
Essential

Additional Requirements

Requirement
Importance
Promotes equality and values diversity.
Essential
Demonstrated commitment to continuous professional development
Essential
Ability to travel occasionally, nationally and internationally.
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
Willingness to work outside standard working hours when required.
Essential
Attention to detail.
Essential
Proven track record of delivering objectives among competing demands and challenges to planned work.
Essential
Promotes equality and values diversity
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

Bioimaging is a technology platform covering all aspects of light and electron microscopy to support the needs of Science at JIC. The group consists of 5 full-time staff, based within the Cell and Developmental Biology department. Together, members of the group are responsible for running the Bioimaging facility as a sustainable platform technology, looking after the microscopes and associated equipment, providing services, training and technical support in all areas of light and electron microscopy, primarily to the scientists at JIC, but also supporting those of the other Norwich Bioscience institutes and the wider Norwich Research Park when required. Occasionally, we also support the imaging needs of a few commercial clients. The team is headed by a senior scientist, Kim Findlay, who specialises in electron microscopy. The Bioimaging facility has a steering committee consisting of some faculty members, scientists who are major users of the facility and two facility staff, including this post. The facility is run under fEC principles but works closely with scientists in a very collaborative way, ensuring they get the best imaging results possible. The facility houses over 20 microscopes and includes the following technologies; TEM, SEM, cryo-EM techniques, super-resolution, confocal and wide-field microscopy. Most of the research is on plants and microbes.

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Senior Optical Microscopist

Applications are invited for a Senior Optical Microscopist to join the Bioimaging Facility at the John Innes Centre based in Norwich, UK.

Background:

The Bioimaging facility contains state of the art equipment including a super-resolution microscope, 6 confocal microscopes, several wide-field systems, a transmission electron microscope, two scanning electron microscopes and the latest specimen preparation equipment. The successful candidate will join a diverse team of skilled facility staff (totalling 5 F.T.E.) working together to offer high-quality training, technical support, sample preparation and imaging services.

The role:

As the Senior Optical Microscopist, the post holder will carry overall responsibility for all the optical equipment, line-manage an optical microscopy support post and assist the head of the facility with equipment funding proposals, procurement, facility strategy and forward-planning. They must be motivated, flexible and open-minded. They will be heavily involved in training and providing technical support for the users but expected to spend some time developing advanced techniques and working collaboratively on research projects when a substantial amount of specialist microscopy skills are needed.

The ideal candidate:

Applicants should have extensive practical experience in light microscopy (preferably on a wide range of makes and models) and experience in being responsible for microscopes, or managing similar equipment resources successfully, such as in a core facility. They must have excellent communication skills, the enthusiasm to help our broad range of users achieve their research aims and evidence of teaching/demonstrating. A willingness to help with Outreach events is beneficial. An understanding of advanced optical microscopy techniques is required, including super-resolution techniques (SIM and STORM), FRAP, FRET and FLIM. Some knowledge of cell biology is important, preferably plant cell biology, or the ability and willingness to learn this (we will accept strong candidates from a materials science or physics background). Good computing skills are necessary, with at least some experience in image processing and analysis, e.g. deconvolution software packages and Fiji.

Additional information:

Salary on appointment will be within the range £39,150 to £47,850 per annum depending on qualifications and experience. This post is full time and offered on a permanent basis.

For informal enquiries please contact Kim Findlay by email at Kim.Findlay@jic.ac.uk

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.

The closing date for applications will be 22nd January 2019.

The John Innes Centre is a registered charity (No. 223852) grant-aided by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council and is an Equal Opportunities Employer.