Postdoctoral Researcher
Post Details
Job Title
Postdoctoral Researcher
Post Number
1003793
Closing Date
31 Oct 2019
Grade
SC6
Starting Salary
£31,625 - £38,575
Hours per week
37
Project Title
A Synthetic Biology Approach for the Total Biosynthesis of Semi-Synthetic Antibiotics
Expected/Ideal Start Date
09 Dec 2019
Months Duration
24
Interview Date
11 Nov 2019

Job Description

Main Purpose of the Job

Applications are invited for a Postdoctoral Researcher to join the Laboratory of Professor Barrie Wilkinson at the John Innes Centre based in Norwich, UK.

Natural products have formed the basis for the development of almost half of all pharmaceuticals and over 80% of all antibiotics in clinical use today. A common barrier to the development of natural products as therapeutic agents arises from the fact that the compounds nature provides do not necessarily possess the level of activity or properties required of a product molecule, and further synthetic transformations are often necessary to generate the final optimised compound for medical applications. In this project, we aim to combine new synthetic biology technologies and state-of-the art advancements in natural products bioengineering, directed evolution and biocatalysis to develop new modular biosynthetic pathways.

Key Relationships

The post holder will work closely with, and will be directly supervised by Barrie Wilkinson. The successful appointee will also interact with collaborators at GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and the Manchester Institute of Biotechnology (MIB) as well as a project specific postdoc within the group appointed last year. They will take part in regular teleconferences and site visits with our external collaborators. They will also be expected to attend department meetings and the Streptomyces subgroup meetings and to describe and discuss experimental results and strategy.

Main Activities & Responsibilities

Percentage
Conduct individual and collaborative research projects according to the overall needs of the research program
85
Attend collaboration & department meetings; prepare presentations, reports and manuscripts
10
As agreed with the line manager, any other duties commensurate with the nature of the post
5

Person Profile

Education & Qualifications

Requirement
Importance
PhD (full award or expected within 6 months) or postdoctoral experience in molecular microbiology, microbial genetics, and/or molecular biology/biochemistry which is relevant for biosynthetic engineering
Essential
A degree in Biological Science, Chemistry/Biochemistry or related subjects with relevant practical laboratory experience
Essential

Specialist Knowledge & Skills

Requirement
Importance
Molecular microbiology and molecular genetics
Essential
Manipulating biosynthetic gene clusters, gene knockouts and heterologous expression, particularly in Streptomyces and relevant bacterial strains
Essential
Microbial fermentation and bacterial cultivation
Essential
Manipulation of non-ribosomal peptide synthetase (NRPS) assembly lines
Essential
Knowledge of biosynthetic pathways involving non-ribosomal peptide synthetase (NRPS), polyketide synthetase or hybrid NRPS-PKS enzymes
Essential

Relevant Experience

Requirement
Importance
Demonstrated ability to perform research and develop novel ideas
Essential
Proven record in scientific writing
Essential
Experience of oral research presentations
Essential
Experience of supervising, training and mentoring visitors and students
Essential
Experience in the isolation and characterisation of natural products (HPLC, LC-MS, MS-MS, NMR)
Desirable

Interpersonal & Communication Skills

Requirement
Importance
Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
Essential
Demonstrated ability to work independently, and as part of a team
Essential
Excellent time management and organisational skills
Essential
Ability to liaise confidently and effectively with a range of individuals
Essential
Ability to present in both written and oral publications
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
Strong publication record
Essential
The ability to evaluate complex data
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
Able to present a positive image of self and the Institute, promoting both the international reputation and public engagement aims of the Institute
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.

For more information about working at the John Innes Centre, please click here.

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, appointing staff from across the world. We expect this to continue post Brexit. However, any candidate who would like further information on current or anticipated immigration requirements can contact the HR Team on +44 (0)1603 450888 or nbi.recruitment@nbi.ac.uk.

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, a founding signatory of the Tecnician Commitment 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).

Department

Molecular Microbiology

Our holistic approach integrates cellular physiology, molecular genetics (including functional genomics), biochemistry and structural biology. In the Department of Molecular Microbiology we study bacterial metabolism, physiology, gene regulation and development, and plant-bacterial interactions. Major themes of our work on Gram-negative bacteria are the molecular basis of signal transduction in response to various environmental signals and studies on the biology of ammonia channel proteins which are conserved in all domains of life.

The Department's comprehensive Streptomyces programme, studying antibiotic production, morphological differentiation and stress responses, is underpinned by the newly-acquired genome sequence of the model species S. coelicolor, and cutting-edge techniques in functional genomics. Another major research area is the Rhizobium-legume symbiosis where our studies range from bacterial quorum-sensing and plant-bacterial signalling interactions to the developmental responses of plants to their microbial symbionts.

The Department capitalises on the John Innes Centre's emerging strengths in functional genomics, structural biology and advanced cytological techniques, as well as exploiting novel links between research on bacterial and plant processes.

Group Details

We are an inter-disciplinary team that includes chemists, biochemists and microbiologists who are working on the discovery and biosynthesis of natural products (NPs), and their biosynthetic engineering. We have a particular focus on anti-infective molecules. We additionally study the molecular targets & modes of action, and self-immunity, of antibiotic NPs. We also study certain virulence mechanisms of Gram-negative bacteria.

Advertisement

Advert Text

Postdoctoral Researcher

Applications are invited for a Postdoctoral Researcher to join the Laboratory of Professor Barrie Wilkinson at the John Innes Centre based in Norwich, UK.

Background:

Natural products have formed the basis for the development of almost half of all pharmaceuticals and over 80% of all antibiotics in clinical use today. A common barrier to the development of natural products as therapeutic agents arises from the fact that the compounds nature provides do not necessarily possess the level of activity or properties required of a product molecule, and further synthetic transformations are often necessary to generate the final optimised compound for medical applications.

In this project, we aim to combine new synthetic biology technologies and state-of-the art advancements in natural products bioengineering, directed evolution and biocatalysis to develop new biosynthetic pathways based on modular non-ribosomal peptide synthetases.

The role:

The position is part of a large £3.2 million project funded by BBSRC/Innovate UK and situated in the laboratory of Professor Barrie Wilkinson at JIC in collaboration with GlaxoSmithKline and the Manchester Institute for Biotechnology. The project aims to engineer new enzymes and biosynthetic pathways required for production of medically important antibiotics in Streptomyces host strains. The project will involve the development of new approaches for engineering non-ribosomal peptide synthetase (NRPS) enzymes to create new assembly lines that can generate novel peptides. The new suite of enzymes will be introduced into an industrially optimised Streptomyces super-host strain to create new biosynthetic pathways that can deliver antibiotics which are urgently required to combat emerging antimicrobial resistance.

The ideal candidate:

The successful applicant will join a large interdisciplinary team of biologists and chemists and must hold a PhD or have equivalent postdoctoral experience in engineering modular biosynthetic assembly lines, e.g. non-ribosomal peptide synthetases or modular polyketide synthases. The ideal candidate will have knowledge of molecular microbiology and molecular genetics as well as manipulating biosynthetic gene clusters, gene knockouts and heterologous expression, particularly in Streptomyces and relevant bacterial strains. They should also have skills in microbial fermentation and bacterial cultivation.

Additional information:

Salary on appointment will be within the range £31,625 to £38,575 per annum depending on qualifications and experience.  This post is for a contract of 24 months.

Interviews will be held on 11 November 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 31 October 2019.  

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