Postdoctoral Researcher
Post Details
Job Title
Postdoctoral Researcher
Post Number
1003620
Closing Date
4 Mar 2019
Grade
SC6
Starting Salary
£31,250 - £38,100
Hours per week
37
Project Title
Grain and starch quality of novel wheat mutants with altered starch granule size
Expected/Ideal Start Date
01 Mar 2019
Months Duration
6

Job Description

Main Purpose of the Job

This six-month project will explore starch properties in novel wheat mutants with altered starch granule morphology, to test their suitability for use in various food and non-food applications. The post holder will be primarily based in the laboratory of David Seung (John Innes Centre), and will work in close collaboration with the laboratory of Fred Warren (Quadram Institute). The post holder will isolate novel wheat genotypes and analyse endosperm starch - in terms of structure, granule morphology, physicochemical properties and digestibility. This project will generate new knowledge that could be used to improve the quality of starch crops.

The project will involve general techniques in plant genetics and biochemistry, analysis of starch structure and composition, and standard physicochemical analyses that are routinely used in industry to assess starch quality.

This project is ideal for a postdoctoral scientist wanting to work at the interface of basic and applied plant biology.

Note: Ideal start date is March/April 2019, but this can be negotiated. The project will involve a week spent at the University of Copenhagen for analysis of starch viscosity. The candidate must be able to commit to this travel.

Key Relationships

Internal: Line managers (David Seung and Fred Warren) and group members (Postdocs and postgraduate students), and as necessary, other researchers, research support staff and students across the Institute.

External: National and International collaborators.

Main Activities & Responsibilities

Percentage
Identify, plan, carry out and modify experiments to meet the objectives of the project
75
Prepare results for publication in leading scientific journals and other relevant media
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
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
Continually strive for excellence, seeking out and acting on feedback and relevant learning and development opportunities
5
As agreed with line manager, any other duties commensurate with the nature of the post
5

Person Profile

Education & Qualifications

Requirement
Importance
PhD or equivalent in plant biology or related discipline
Essential

Specialist Knowledge & Skills

Requirement
Importance
Good knowledge of plant metabolism
Essential
Understanding of methods and experimental approaches in plant genetics
Desirable
Understanding of methods and experimental approaches in starch analysis
Desirable

Relevant Experience

Requirement
Importance
Ability to generate high quality data in plant biochemistry or molecular biology, demonstrated through publications/thesis
Essential
Participating in the preparation grant proposals and publications
Desirable
Experience in working with cereals
Desirable
Experience or good knowledge of starch structure and function
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

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
Willingness to work outside standard working hours when required
Essential
Ability to undertake travel for one week during April/May 2019
Essential
Attention to detail
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

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

This is a collaborative project between the laboratories of David Seung (JIC) and Fred Warren (Quadram Institute).

The Seung Group:
Our research aims to develop a full molecular understanding of how plants make starch granules. We focus on aspects of starch synthesis that are currently poorly understood - in particular how the starch polymers assemble into semi crystalline starch granules - and combine molecular genetics, biochemistry, proteomics, and cell biology-based approaches to develop this understanding. We are also using this knowledge to develop new strategies to improve the quality of starch crops - particularly wheat. Our research is done in close collaboration with Prof. Alison Smith (JIC), Prof. Cristobal Uauy (JIC) and Dr. Fred Warren (Quadram Institute), as well as several external collaborations within the UK and abroad.

The Warren Group:
The Warren lab specialises in starch structure and function, and uses this knowledge to develop a better understanding of the structural factors that control the breakdown of starch throughout the digestive tract. They aim to create starch-based future foods that have controlled glucose release profiles, that can deliver positive health benefits. They use a wide range of physical techniques for characterising starch structure including DSC, SEC, FACE, FTIR, light and electron microscopy, XRD and SAXS/WAXS. We have access to a range of models of the human digestive tract including static kinetic models, the Dynamic Gastric Model and model colon systems.

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Postdoctoral Researcher

Applications are invited for a Postdoctoral Researcher to join the Laboratories of Dr David Seung at the John Innes Centre and Dr Fred Warren at the Quadram Institute Bioscience, based in Norwich, UK.

The role:

This six-month project will explore starch properties in novel wheat mutants with altered starch granule morphology, to test their suitability for use in various food and non-food applications. The post holder will be primarily based in the laboratory of David Seung (John Innes Centre) and will work in close collaboration with the laboratory of Fred Warren (Quadram Institute).

The post holder will isolate novel wheat genotypes and analyse endosperm starch - in terms of structure, granule morphology, physicochemical properties and digestibility. This project will generate new knowledge that could be used to improve the quality of starch crops.

The project will involve general techniques in plant genetics and biochemistry, analysis of starch structure and composition, and standard physicochemical analyses that are routinely used in industry to assess starch quality.

This project is ideal for a postdoctoral scientist wanting to work at the interface of basic and applied plant biology.

Please note, the ideal start date is March/April 2019, but can be negotiated. The project will involve a week spent at the University of Copenhagen for analysis of starch viscosity. The candidate must be able to commit to this travel.

The ideal candidate:
The candidate must have a PhD or equivalent in plant biology or related discipline, and good knowledge of plant metabolism is essential. Experience working with wheat or with starch is desirable.

Additional information:

Salary on appointment will be within the range £31,250 to £38,100 per annum depending on qualifications and experience. This post is for a contract of 6 months.

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 4 March 2019, however, we reserve the right to close the vacancy early, should sufficient applications be received.    

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.