- Job Title
- Postdoctoral Researcher (Bioinformatics and Transcriptomics)
- Post Number
- Closing Date
- 28 Apr 2019
- Starting Salary
- £31,250 - £38,100
- Hours per week
- Project Title
- Origins of starch granule diversity in seeds of the grass family
- Expected/Ideal Start Date
- 01 Jul 2019
- Months Duration
- Interview Date
- 08 May 2019
Main Purpose of the Job
Join a research project studying the origins of starch granule diversity in cereal and grass seeds. Starch in the endosperm of cereal seeds is the single largest source of calories in the human diet, and an important raw material for industry. Despite its importance we know very little about how starch granules are formed during endosperm development. It is apparent that the temporal and spatial patterns of initiation of starch granules have diverged and diversified enormously during the 66 million years of evolution of the Pooideae subfamily to which temperate cereals and forage grasses belong. The project will identify the genetic and genomic basis of this starch granule diversity, using techniques including transcriptome analysis and bioinformatics tools, mutant selection and identification, transgenesis, cell biology and modelling.
Internal: Line manager, group members; PI David Seung and members of his group and, as necessary, other researchers, research support staff especially in Horticultural services, Bioinformatics and Bioimaging.
External: Dr Steve Kelly and members of his lab in Plant Sciences, University of OxfordCollaborators
Main Activities & Responsibilities
- Identify, plan, carry out and modify experiments to meet the objectives of the project
- Liaise with industry and other external stakeholders
- 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
Education & Qualifications
- PhD (full award or expected within 6 months) or equivalent in Plant Science or related discipline
- BSc or equivalent in Plant Science, or similar subject
Specialist Knowledge & Skills
- In-depth knowledge and skills in plant metabolism/biochemistry
- Skills in transcriptome analysis and plant transformation
- Demonstrated ability to perform research and develop novel ideas
- Proven record in scientific writing
- Experience of oral research presentations
- Experience of supervising, training and mentoring visitors and students
- Experience of working with cereals and/or grasses
- Experience in bioinformatics and phylogeny beyond the basic level
Interpersonal & Communication Skills
- Excellent communication skills, both written and oral, including the ability to present complex information with clarity
- Good interpersonal skills, with the ability to work as part of a team
- Demonstrated ability to work independently, using initiative and applying problem solving skills
- Excellent time management and organisational skills
- Ability to collaborate with internal and external stakeholders
- Ability to follow instructions/Standard Operating Procedures
- Attention to detail
- Promotes equality and values diversity
- Willingness to embrace the expected values and behaviours of all staff at the Institute, ensuring it is a great place to work
- Ability to maintain confidentiality and security of information where appropriate
- Able to present a positive image of self and the Institute, promoting both the international reputation and public engagement aims of the Institute
- Willingness to work outside standard working hours when required
- Ability to undertake occasional travel (national and international) related to collaborations and/or seminars
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.
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.
The Smith lab specialises in plant carbohydrate metabolism, particularly the synthesis and turnover of starch granules and the importance of these processes for plant growth and survival. Lab members work closely with the lab of Dr David Seung, which specialises in the process of starch granule initiation. Lab members make use of JIC facilities including Horticultural, Bioimaging, Proteomics, Plant Transformation and Bioinformatics services. Lab members also collaborate with other researchers at JIC and elsewhere on Norwich Research Park, including experts in the genomics and genetics of wheat and other cereals and experts on starch structural analysis and the digestion of starch in foods.
The post holder will have opportunities to attend a wide range of seminars by internal and external speakers, and national and international meetings relevant to their work. They will be strongly encouraged to present results to internal and external audiences. A wide range of training opportunities is also available, covering both professional and technical skills.
The project is in collaboration with the lab of Bioinformatician Steve Kelly, University of Oxford, and the post holder will be expected to liaise regularly with the Kelly lab.
Applications are invited for two Postdoctoral Researchers to join the Laboratory of Professor Alison Smith at the John Innes Centre based in Norwich, UK.
Starch in the endosperm of cereal seeds is the single largest source of calories in the human diet, and an important raw material for industry. Despite its importance we know very little about how starch granules are formed during endosperm development. It is apparent that the temporal and spatial patterns of initiation of starch granules have diverged and diversified enormously during the 66 million years of evolution of the Pooideae subfamily to which temperate cereals and forage grasses belong.
The project will be conducted in the Alison M Smith lab, in close collaboration with the David Seung lab. Both labs have strong interests and expertise in the synthesis and turnover of starch in plants, and access to a wide range of other expertise and technologies that may be necessary for the project. The project is a collaboration with Steve Kelly and his team in Plant Sciences, University of Oxford, who have expertise in comparative transcriptomics analyses.
There are two positions available, each for a maximum of three years, to study the origins of starch granule diversity in cereal and grass seeds. One post holder will focus on cell biology and microscopy and the other will focus on bioinformatics and transcriptomics.
The aim of this project is to identify the genetic basis of this starch granule diversity, using techniques including transcriptome analysis and bioinformatics tools, screens of mutant populations, and identification, transgenesis, cell biology and modelling.
The post holders will be encouraged to attend courses in technical and professional skills, to travel to national and international meetings, and to present their discoveries to internal and external audiences.
The ideal candidates:
One successful applicant is expected to have skills in cell biology and microscopy, and preferably in modelling. They will image cells and amyloplasts in developing endosperms to deduce how different spatial and temporal patterns of starch granule formation arise during seed development.
They will work alongside a second Postdoctoral Researcher who is expected to have experience of transcriptomics and associated bioinformatics. They will compare the transcriptomes of developing grass seeds with different patterns of granule initiation to identify genes that underlie seed starch diversity.
Applicants for both posts must have a background that includes plant biochemistry/metabolism, genetics and molecular biology, and should preferably have experience of working with cereals or grasses and with transgenic plants. The project requires good interpersonal skills and the ability to work both independently and as part of a team.
Salary on appointment will be within the range £31,250 to £38,100 per annum depending on qualifications and experience. Both posts are fulltime for a contract of 3 years.
Interviews will be held on 8th and 9th May 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.
The closing date for applications will be 28 April 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.