Postdoctoral Researcher
Post Details
Job Title
Postdoctoral Researcher
Post Number
1004176
Closing Date
9 Feb 2022
Grade
SC6
Starting Salary
£32,578 - £39,938
Hours per week
37
Project Title
Molecular mechanisms of photosynthetic gene expression using cryo-EM
Expected/Ideal Start Date
01 Mar 2022
Months Duration
36

Job Description

Main Purpose of the Job

Postdoctoral Researchers carry out individual and collaborative research projects to meet the needs of the scientific programme of the team.

The successful applicant will study the structure and function of chloroplast gene expression complexes involved in producing the photosynthetic machinery of plants. The project will involve the purification of multi-subunit protein complexes, biomolecular structure determination at high resolution using cryogenic electron microscopy (cryo-EM) and quantitative biochemical and biophysical experiments. General molecular biology techniques and proteomic analyses will also be involved.

The role will also involve assisting and training Lab members in a collaborative environment and interpreting and presenting scientific data.

Key Relationships

The appointee will work closely with other members of the Webster Lab and communicate with other researchers at the John Innes Centre. Contacts include research support staff, the postdoctoral and student communities on-site and external collaborators.

Main Activities & Responsibilities

Percentage
Identify, plan, carry out and modify experiments to meet the objectives of the project
75
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
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
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
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) or equivalent in molecular biology or similar
Essential
BSc or equivalent in biological or chemical sciences
Essential

Specialist Knowledge & Skills

Requirement
Importance
Basic knowledge of the biochemical process of gene expression
Essential

Relevant Experience

Requirement
Importance
Experience in protein purification methods such as chromatography and gradients
Essential
Experience in biochemical, biophysical or structural characterisation of purified proteins or nucleic acids
Essential
Experience in molecular cloning for recombinant expression of proteins
Essential
Demonstrated ability to interpret new scientific information and develop novel ideas
Essential
Proven record in scientific writing
Essential
Demonstrated ability to perform research experiments
Essential
Experience of oral research presentations
Essential
Experience of supervising, training and mentoring visitors and students
Desirable
Experience in biochemical characterisation of protein:nucleic acid interactions or nucleic acid enzymatic processing
Desirable
Experience in structural biology techniques such as cryo-EM and X-ray crystallography
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 collaborate with internal and external stakeholders
Essential
Ability to follow instructions/Standard Operating Procedures
Essential
Promotes and strives for continuous improvement
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
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
Attention to detail
Essential

Who We Are

John Innes Centre

The John Innes Centre is an independent, international centre of excellence in plant and microbial genetics, 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

Biochemistry and Metabolism

Group Details

The successful applicant will be based in the Laboratory of Dr Michael Webster. Research in the Webster group focuses on understanding the molecular machines that express photosynthetic genes. We aim to discover what determines the timing and level of photosynthetic proteins production. We use cryogenic electron microscopy (cryo-EM) to determine structural models of large and dynamic protein complexes and develop mechanistic models of their activity using biochemical and biophysical techniques. See, for example, Webster et al. 2020, Science 369:1355-59.

Living in Norfolk

Advertisement

Postdoctoral Researcher
Salary:            £32,578 - £39,938 per annum depending on qualifications and experience.
Contract:        Indefinite, full-time
Location:        John Innes Centre, Norwich, UK.
Closing date: 9th February 2022
Reference:     1004176

An exciting opportunity has arisen for a Postdoctoral Researcher to join the Webster Group at the John Innes Centre, to study the structure and function of the molecular machines involved in photosynthetic gene expression.

About the John Innes Centre:

The John Innes Centre is an independent, international centre of excellence in plant and microbial genetics. 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 Webster Group:

Research in the Webster group focuses on understanding the molecular machines that express photosynthetic genes. We aim to discover what determines the timing and level of photosynthetic proteins production. We use cryogenic electron microscopy (cryo-EM) to determine structural models of large and dynamic protein complexes and develop mechanistic models of their activity using biochemical and biophysical techniques. See, for example, Webster et al. 2020, Science 369:1355-59.

The role:

Photosynthesis underpins oxygenation of the atmosphere and supports the global food chain. In plants it occurs within chloroplasts, which contain a genome that encodes core subunits of the photosynthetic complexes. Despite their importance, we lack a detailed understanding of how chloroplast genes are expressed.

The Postdoctoral Researcher will study the structure and biochemical function of the molecular machinery that expresses photosynthetic genes in plants. They will prepare gene expression complexes from chloroplasts and recombinant expression. Atomic models obtained by cryo-EM will be interpreted alongside biochemical and biophysical experiments in answering a key question: what is the biochemical role of each subunit that makes it essential to greening in plants? These discoveries will support the long-term effort to control photosynthetic output and timing for improved crops and biotechnologies. They will also shed new light on the nature of the poorly-understood machinery of plastid gene expression.

The ideal candidate:

Candidates should have a PhD in molecular biology or a similar subject. They should have experience in protein purification, characterisation of purified proteins by biochemical, biophysical or structural techniques, molecular cloning for recombinant expression of proteins, and a basic understanding of the biochemical process of gene expression.

The applicant will be trained in diverse transferrable scientific and personal skills. Scientific skills include DNA manipulation, protein purification techniques, subcellular fractionation, negative stain electron microscopy, cryogenic electron microscopy (cryo-EM), biophysical analysis of molecular interactions, biochemical analysis of nucleic acid processing, high-resolution electrophoretic assays, protein identification by peptide mass fingerprinting, bioinformatic analyses and protein structure prediction.

Additional information:

Interviews will be held on 21st February 2022. 

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.