Postdoctoral Researcher
Post Details
Job Title
Postdoctoral Researcher
Post Number
1004034
Closing Date
16 May 2021
Grade
SC6
Starting Salary
£32,255 - £39,345
Hours per week
37
Project Title
Developing new interdisciplinary collaborations with Cambridge Institutes
Expected/Ideal Start Date
01 Oct 2021
Months Duration
36
Interview Date
08 Jun 2021

Job Description

Main Purpose of the Job

Applications are invited for a Postdoctoral Researcher to join the group of Prof Martin Howard in the Department of Computational and Systems Biology at the John Innes Centre, Norwich, UK.

The main purpose of the position is to develop new interdisciplinary collaborations with experimental groups at the Babraham and Gurdon Institutes in Cambridge, with the successful candidate developing predictive mathematical models that will leverage understanding from past work in plant systems. Developing new inter-institute links is a key ISP goal.

Key Relationships

Other members of the Howard group, other groups within Computational and Systems Biology at JIC, and other experimental groups at the Babraham and Gurdon Institutes in Cambridge.

Main Activities & Responsibilities

Percentage
Identify, plan, carry out and modify modelling to meet the objectives of the project
45
Prepare results, reports and manuscripts for publication in leading scientific journals and other relevant media
15
Disseminate research findings through presentations to various audiences at internal, national and international meetings
10
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
10
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
10
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

Person Profile

Education & Qualifications

Requirement
Importance
PhD (full award or expected within 6 months) in Theoretical Physics/Bio-Mathematics/Computational Biology
Essential
BSc or equivalent in a relevant scientific field
Essential

Specialist Knowledge & Skills

Requirement
Importance
Ability to apply techniques from theoretical physics/applied mathematics to biological problems
Essential
Strong interest in biological problems
Essential
Computer programming experience (e.g. use of computational tools such as MatLab)
Desirable

Relevant Experience

Requirement
Importance
Demonstrable scientific success, with track-record of publications and presentations
Essential
Prior experience in biological modelling
Desirable

Interpersonal & Communication Skills

Requirement
Importance
Self-motivated, creative and intellectually independent
Essential
Good verbal and written communication skills, facilitating interaction with experimentalists
Essential
Ability to collaborate with internal and external stakeholders
Essential
Excellent time management and organisational skills
Essential
Good interpersonal skills, with the ability to work well as part of a team
Essential

Additional Requirements

Requirement
Importance
Available to travel to international meetings and for short visits to collaborating laboratories
Essential
Willingness to work outside standard working hours when required
Essential
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

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

Computational and Systems Biology

The Department of Computational and Systems Biology conducts leading research across a broad range of the biological sciences, with a special focus on spatial problems in plant and microbial research. Particular strengths of the department include mathematical and statistical modelling of the physical mechanisms underlying biological pattern formation and comparative genomics. In addition, the department has strong bioinformatics that underpins the research of the institute through training, software development and statistical analysis.
Whilst much of the research is carried out in close collaboration with world-leading experimental groups within the John Innes Centre, we have strong international collaborations with experimentalists and theoreticians worldwide.

Group Details

The Howard group combines simple, predictive mathematical modelling with long-lasting experimental collaborations, to dissect biological mechanisms too complex to unravel by experiments alone. In many cases we are able to rationalise complex biological dynamics into simple underlying mechanisms, with few components and interactions. Our approach is highly interdisciplinary and relies heavily on the techniques of statistical physics and applied mathematics, as well as on close collaboration with experimental groups. This truly interdisciplinary approach allows us to get to the heart of biological mechanisms more speedily. At present the main focus of the group is epigenetic dynamics, probing how epigenetic memory states are set up and then stably maintained. In this context, we work with histone modification memory systems, as well as on DNA methylation, collaborating with experimentalists in systems ranging from plants to mammalian stem cells. A particular focus has been the Polycomb epigenetic system, where we have proposed an all-or-nothing epigenetic switching mechanism, with epigenetic gene silencing directly antagonised by transcription. Currently there are four Postdoctoral Researchers and one PhD student in the group.

Living in Norfolk

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Postdoctoral Researcher

Applications are invited for a Postdoctoral Researcher to join the group of Prof Martin Howard in the Department of Computational and Systems Biology at the John Innes Centre, Norwich, UK.

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.

Background:

The Howard group combines simple, predictive mathematical modelling with long-lasting experimental collaborations, to dissect biological mechanisms too complex to unravel by experiments alone. In many cases complex biological dynamics have been rationalised into simple underlying mechanisms, with few components and interactions. The group's approach is highly interdisciplinary and relies heavily on the techniques of statistical physics and applied mathematics, as well as on close collaboration with experimental groups. This truly interdisciplinary approach allows us to get to the heart of biological mechanisms more speedily. At present the main focus of the group is epigenetic dynamics, probing how epigenetic memory states are set up and then stably maintained. In this context, we work with histone modification memory systems, as well as on DNA methylation, collaborating with experimentalists in systems ranging from plants to mammalian stem cells. A particular focus has been the Polycomb epigenetic system, where we have proposed an all-or-nothing epigenetic switching mechanism, with epigenetic gene silencing directly antagonised by transcription. The group regularly publishes in the most prominent multidisciplinary journals, with recent papers in Nature, Science, Cell Systems, eLife and PNAS. Several previous members of the Howard group now hold independent faculty positions of their own, including in Amsterdam, Singapore and Munich.

The role:

The primary aim of the post holder will be to develop new interdisciplinary collaborations with experimental groups at the Babraham and Gurdon Institutes in Cambridge, where Prof Howard holds honorary/associate Group Leader positions. These projects are likely to involve topics in epigenetic and/or developmental dynamics. There is considerable flexibility in the choice of project going forward and this position would therefore suit an individual with a high degree of independence and vision. The successful candidate will have a rare opportunity to work on fundamental biological processes in a truly interdisciplinary environment, with seamless collaboration with leading experimentalists.

The ideal candidate:

The ideal candidate will possess a PhD in Theoretical Physics, Bio-Mathematics or Computational Biology. They will possess a strong interest in biological problems and have achieved demonstrable scientific success in previous roles. Prior experience of biological modelling is desirable but not essential.

Additional information:

Salary on appointment will be within the range £32,255 to £39,345 per annum depending on qualifications and experience. The post is full-time and for a period of 3 years. This post is funded by the BBSRC.

Interviews will be held on 8 June 2021.

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.

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