Postdoctoral Researcher
Post Details
Job Title
Postdoctoral Researcher
Post Number
1003920
Closing Date
6 Sep 2020
Grade
SC6
Starting Salary
£32,255 - £39,345
Hours per week
37
Project Title
Epigenetic reprogramming in plant germline
Expected/Ideal Start Date
21 Sep 2020
Months Duration
18
Interview Date
10 Sep 2020

Job Description

Main Purpose of the Job

Investigate the epigenetic regulation of germline development as part of a project funded by ERC. The Feng laboratory uses the Arabidopsis male germline as a model system to study the mechanisms underlying germline epigenetic reprogramming. The ease of cell isolation, tolerance of Arabidopsis for epigenetic mutations, and the conservation in epigenetic machineries between plants and animals makes the Arabidopsis male germline a uniquely powerful model for understanding germline epigenetics. The postdoc will investigate the mechanisms underlying germline chromatin reconfigurations using a combination of genetics, epigenomics, imaging and developmental biology approaches.

Key Relationships

Internal: Line manager, group members and, as necessary, other researchers, research support staff and students across the Institute.

External: Collaborators

Main Activities & Responsibilities

Percentage
Identify, plan, carry out and modify experiments to meet the objectives of the project
65
Prepare results, reports and manuscripts for publication in leading scientific journals and other relevant media
5
Disseminate research findings through presentations to various audiences at internal, national and international meetings
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
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
5
Continually strive for excellence, seeking out and acting on feedback and relevant learning and development opportunities
5
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
5
Liaise with industry and other external stakeholders
5

Person Profile

Education & Qualifications

Requirement
Importance
PhD (full award or expected within 6 months) or equivalent in life sciences
Essential
BSc or equivalent in life sciences
Essential

Specialist Knowledge & Skills

Requirement
Importance
Good knowledge of epigenetics
Essential
Skilled in genetics and molecular biology
Essential
Bioinformatics skills
Desirable
Biochemistry and microscopy skills
Desirable

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
Desirable
Preparing data / information for grant proposals
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
Excellent time management and organisational skills
Essential
Ability to follow instructions/Standard Operating Procedures
Essential
Promotes and strives for continuous improvement
Essential
Ability to collaborate with internal and external stakeholders
Essential

Additional Requirements

Requirement
Importance
Attention to detail
Essential
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
All applications must contain a CV and covering letter
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. 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

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

Germ cells are “immortal” as they can be indefinitely transmitted through generations. A key regulator of their immortality is the genome-wide reprogramming of the chromatin state beyond the genetic (called ‘epigenetic’) code. Understanding this reprogramming is a crucial aspect of germline biology. Conversely, germlines are also essential for understanding epigenetics because they mediate inheritance and uniquely undergo large-scale epigenetic changes. Compared to animals, plant germlines differentiate much later and undergo distinct epigenetic changes despite highly conserved epigenetic pathways. These differences make plant germlines invaluable for revealing the core principles of epigenetics and sexual reproduction. Plant germlines are also of enormous practical significance because they produce the seeds that comprise most of our staple food.

The Feng Group aims to answer 3 interconnected questions regarding plant germline epigenetics: 1) How do chromatin landscapes change during germline development and what are the underlying mechanisms? 2) What are the biological functions of these epigenetic changes? 3) How are environment-induced epigenetic memories transmitted and/or erased in germlines? Through addressing these questions, the Group hopes to provide deep insights into epigenetic mechanisms and germline functions, and reveal how chromatin is developmentally regulated and in turn directs development.

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An exciting opportunity has arisen for a Postdoctoral Researcher to join the Feng Group at the John Innes Centre, working on cutting-edge science in the field of plant epigenetics and reproduction. 

About the John Innes Centre:

The John Innes Centre is an independent, international centre of excellence in plant science, genetics and microbiology. We nurture a creative, curiosity led approach to answering fundamental questions in bioscience, and translate that knowledge into societal benefits.

Our employees enjoy access to state-of-the-art technology and a diverse range of specialist training opportunities, including support for leadership and management. Click here to find out more about working at the John Innes Centre.

About the Feng Group:

The Feng laboratory uses the Arabidopsis male germline as a model system to study the mechanisms underlying germline epigenetic reprogramming. The ease of cell isolation, tolerance of Arabidopsis for epigenetic mutations, and the conservation in epigenetic machineries between plants and animals makes the Arabidopsis male germline a uniquely powerful model for understanding germline epigenetics.

Dr. Feng is an EMBO Young Investigator and BBSRC David Phillips Fellow. Her lab members have opportunities supported by EMBO, BBSRC and ERC for training and networking.

You will benefit from training opportunities in the Feng lab, as well as formal learning and development programmes offered by the John Innes Centre.

The role:

You will investigate the mechanisms underlying germline chromatin reconfigurations using a combination of genetics, epigenomics, imaging and developmental biology approaches.

This diverse role will provide you with a broad range of stimulating activities, including:
• Preparing results, reports and manuscripts for publication in leading scientific journals
• Disseminating research findings through presentations to various audiences at national and international meetings
• Collaborating with colleagues within the Institute in the development of original and world-class research, including contributing to research proposals and grant applications

In this role, you will have the opportunity to develop your skills in scientific thinking, writing and networking. You will also work with world leading scientists who are experts in their field.

The ideal candidate:

You will have a PhD in life sciences. You will possess strong expertise in genetics and molecular biology, and a proven record in scientific writing. Experience in epigenetic and genomic studies is desirable but not essential.

Additional information:

Interviews are expected to be held on 10th September 2020.

Please note, we reserve the right to close this advert early, should sufficient applications be received.

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. We are proud to hold a prestigious Gold Athena SWAN award in recognition of our inclusive culture, commitment and good practices towards advancing of gender equality. We offer an exciting, stimulating, diverse research environment and actively promote a family friendly workplace. The Institute is also a member of Stonewall’s Diversity Champions programme.