Research Assistant (Molecular Biology)
Post Details
Job Title
Research Assistant (Molecular Biology)
Post Number
1003589
Closing Date
4 Feb 2019
Grade
SC7
Starting Salary
£24,300 - £29,750
Hours per week
37
Project Title
Developing new tools for interrogating cereal invaders
Expected/Ideal Start Date
04 Mar 2019
Months Duration
12

Job Description

Main Purpose of the Job

A research assistant position in molecular biology is available in the Saunders group at the John Innes Centre. The appointee will assist with the development of the MinION mobile sequencing platform for crop pathogen diagnostics using wheat yellow rust as a test case. The appointee will work closely with other members of the group to use the latest molecular techniques and sequencing technology to genotype pathogen strains in infected wheat leaf samples collected in Ethiopia. This follows on from a successful pilot project that was run earlier this year: https://acaciaafrica.org/marple-diagnostics/. The appointee will specifically focus on further optimising DNA extraction methods and library preparation to prepare for the widespread deployment of the system in Ethiopia. The appointee will require excellent skills and experience in molecular biology.

Key Relationships

The appointee will join a large research group at the John Innes Centre and be expected to interact with other members of the Saunders group, whilst also interacting with other researchers working on wheat rust diseases at the John Innes Centre. The successful candidate will work relatively independently day-to-day with guidance and training in specific techniques provided by other lab members and the project leader. In addition to their own research project they will be required to support other lab members as appropriate. Furthermore, this project is a collaboration between JIC, CIMMYT and the Ethiopian Institute for Agricultural Research and the appointee will be expected to assist with training scientists from our partners institutes as appropriate.

Main Activities & Responsibilities

Percentage
Plan, perform and trouble-shoot DNA extraction methods and library preparation methods
70
Sequence samples on the MinION platform
15
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
As agreed with line manager, any other duties commensurate with the nature of the role
5
Training and supervision of visiting workers from partner institutes
5

Person Profile

Education & Qualifications

Requirement
Importance
BSc in Biological Sciences or related discipline
Essential

Specialist Knowledge & Skills

Requirement
Importance
Documented experience and expertise in molecular biology
Essential

Relevant Experience

Requirement
Importance
Demonstrated ability to perform research and develop novel ideas
Essential
Supervision of students and visiting workers
Desirable

Interpersonal & Communication Skills

Requirement
Importance
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
Ability to follow instructions/Standard Operating Procedures
Essential
Promotes and strives for continuous improvement
Essential
Excellent communication skills, both written and oral, including the ability to present complex information with clarity
Desirable

Additional Requirements

Requirement
Importance
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

Crop Genetics

The Department of Crop Genetics undertakes fundamental research on the biology of cereals, brassicas and legumes to understand the genetic and molecular basis of phenotypic variation. A major goal is to develop the technologies and knowledge base to provide a predictive framework that will underpin conventional and novel plant breeding strategies. This will enable high-yielding, stress and disease resistant varieties, with a particular end-use quality, suitable for an efficient but benign agriculture.

Group Details

The Saunders group focuses on studying (re-)emerging plant pathogens that pose significant threats to UK agriculture. We use an array of different approaches, integrating molecular genetics, microbiology, plant pathology, population genetics, genomics and data mining to improve our understanding of how pathogens cause disease. For instance, we have numerous projects studying the wheat yellow rust pathogen, Puccinia striiformis f. sp tritici that is a substantial threat to wheat production worldwide and more recently re-emerged as a major constraint on UK agriculture.

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Applications are invited for a Research Assistant in molecular biology to join the laboratory of Dr Diane Saunders at the John Innes Centre, UK.

The role:

The postholder will assist with the development of the MinION mobile sequencing platform for crop pathogen diagnostics using wheat yellow rust as a test case. The appointee will work closely with other members of the group to use the latest molecular techniques and sequencing technology to genotype pathogen strains in infected wheat leaf samples collected in Ethiopia. This follows on from a successful pilot project that was run earlier this year: https://acaciaafrica.org/marple-diagnostics/.

The appointee will specifically focus on further optimising DNA extraction methods and library preparation to prepare for the widespread deployment of the system in Ethiopia.

The appointee will join a large research group at the John Innes Centre and be expected to interact with other members of the Saunders group, whilst also interacting with other researchers working on wheat rust diseases at the John Innes Centre. The successful candidate will work relatively independently day-to-day with guidance and training in specific techniques provided by other lab members and the project leader. In addition to their own research project they will be required to support other lab members as appropriate. As this project is a collaboration between JIC, CIMMYT and the Ethiopian Institute for Agricultural Research, the appointee may also assist with training scientists from our partner institutes as required.

The ideal candidate:

The appointee will require excellent experience and expertise in molecular biology. Prior experience of supervising students and visiting workers is desirable. A degree in Biological Sciences or a similar subject is essential.

Additional information:

Salary on appointment will be within the range £24,300 to £29,750 per annum depending on qualifications and experience. This is a fulltime post for a period of 12 months.

Interviews are expected to take place mid February 2019.

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.