Research Assistant
Post Details
Job Title
Research Assistant
Post Number
1004363
Closing Date
6 Dec 2022
Grade
SC5
Starting Salary
£42,050 - £51,950
Hours per week
37
Expected/Ideal Start Date
01 Jan 2023
Months Duration
Indefinite

Job Description

Main Purpose of the Job

Research Assistants enhance the output of a research group by providing technical and administrative support to the Group Leader and group members.

We are seeking a scientist with a PhD and postdoctoral experience in Streptomyces molecular biology and natural products chemistry to support both the Hutchings and Wilkinson groups. The groups have several shared projects (PhD students and postdocs) working on both biology and chemistry. The successful candidate will also work across two ISPs (Advancing Plant Health and Harnessing Biosynthesis) and will train and support students and Postdoctoral Researchers working on plant-microbe interactions, insect-microbe interactions, molecular microbiology and some natural products chemistry.

The Research Assistant will also deputise for the Group Leader, which will include overseeing the day-to-day management of the lab, managing equipment and training, supervising visiting students and PhD students, arranging lab meetings and seminars but also leading on interactions with collaborators in the UK, Europe, Asia and the US.

Key Relationships

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

External: Collaborators in the UK, Europe, Asia and the US

Main Activities & Responsibilities

Percentage
Independently plan, develop and deliver high level innovative research activity
40
Deputise for the Group Leader, ensuring the effective management and delivery of resources to support the research team and encouraging scientific excellence. This will include:
• Overseeing the day-to-day management of the lab and research activities, to proactively manage emerging issues and ensure continued performance and wellbeing of the group
• Supervising PhD and Masters students, meeting with them regularly to review progress against objectives
• Presenting at seminars, conferences and other external meetings
• Leading on external research collaborations, sharing data and materials and updating partners as required
10
Manage the StrepStrains collection, shipping strains to academics and industry under Material Transfer Agreements.
5
Manage essential equipment in the lab including AKTA FPLC system, plate readers and qRT-PCR. This includes maintenance, calibration and an annual service. Train students and new Postdoctoral Researchers in the safe use of this equipment.
5
Design and supervise small research projects for students
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
Assist in the preparation of research proposals and manuscripts, collaborating internally and externally as appropriate
5
Disseminate research findings and establish reputation through participation in national conferences and exhibitions
5
Support the profile and reputation of the Institute by participating in relevant engagement activities (eg, school visits or open days)
5
Continually strive for excellence, seeking out and acting on feedback and relevant learning and development opportunities
5
Enhance the output of a research group by executing and refining existing experimental protocols and/or administrative procedures, assisting colleagues with trouble-shooting as necessary
5
As agreed with line manager, any other duties commensurate with the nature of the post, for example, contributing to Institute committees
5

Person Profile

Education & Qualifications

Requirement
Importance
PhD or equivalent in Molecular Microbiology
Essential
BSc or equivalent in Biology
Essential

Specialist Knowledge & Skills

Requirement
Importance
In depth knowledge and understanding in the field of Streptomyces. Streptomyces culturing and molecular biology, including genome sequencing and genome editing
Essential
Good understanding of Streptomyces specialised metabolism. Studying the interactions of Streptomyces and other actinomycetes with higher organisms, i.e., ants or plants.
Essential
Knowledge of natural products chemistry, this will include extraction of specialised metabolites from growth media and analysis using LCMS.
Essential
Skilled at leading on interactions with research collaborations in the UK, Europe, Asia and the US
Essential

Relevant Experience

Requirement
Importance
Experience working with Streptomyces bacteria, including genetic modification, and their interactions with other organisms, e.g., insects or plants.
Essential
Demonstrated ability to perform research
Essential
Previous experience overseeing the day-to-day running of a lab
Essential
Experience of working across shared projects
Essential
Experience in Streptomyces molecular biology and natural products chemistry
Essential
Significant experience completing Material Transfer Agreements
Essential
Supervision of students and visiting workers
Essential
Preparing data / information for grant proposals
Essential
Proven record in scientific writing
Essential
Experience of oral research presentations
Essential
Provided technical training
Desirable

Interpersonal & Communication Skills

Requirement
Importance
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 prioritise to meet the demands of the group
Essential
Excellent communication skills, both written and oral, including the ability to present complex information with clarity
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

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

The group works on the chemical ecology of Streptomyces bacteria, i.e, focussed on understanding the ecological roles of these bacteria and their specialised metabolites. We use plants (barley, wheat, pea, Arabidopsis, ferns and liverworts) and insects (fungus growing ants) as models. We are also interested in how the biosynthesis of antibiotics is regulated at the transcriptional and post translational levels and in discovering new antibiotics that can be developed for us in the clinic.

Living in Norfolk

Advertisement

Research Assistant
Salary:                  £42,050 – £51,950 per annum depending on qualifications and experience.
Contract:             Indefinite, full-time
Location:             John Innes Centre, Norwich, UK.
Closing date:      6th December 2022
Reference:          1004363

An exciting opportunity has arisen for a Research Assistant to join the Hutchings Group at the John Innes Centre, working on cutting-edge science in the field of Streptomyces.

About the John Innes Centre:

The John Innes Centre is an independent, international centre of excellence in plant and microbial sciences. We nurture a creative, curiosity-led approach to answering fundamental questions in bioscience, and translate that knowledge into societal benefits. Our strategic vision, Healthy Plants, Healthy People, Healthy Planet, sets out our ambitious long-term goals for the game changing impact of our science globally. 

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 Hutchings Group:

The Hutchings group works on the specialised metabolites made by Streptomyces species and closely related actinomycete bacteria, which include more than half of all known antibiotics.

They are particularly interested in the chemical ecology of these bacteria and their natural products.

For example, antibiotic-producing actinomycete bacteria interact with insects and plants and protect them against infection by pathogenic bacteria and fungi in return for food and housing. This is called a defensive mutualism (mutually beneficial symbiosis).

Understanding these interactions will help find new and useful natural products, including new antibiotics, and will also help protect important crop plants against disease.

The role:

The Research Assistant will undertake day to day running of the lab and research group, including supervision of visiting researchers and students.

They will assist in various research projects investigating the interactions between Streptomyces bacteria and higher organisms such as insects and plants and the regulation of antibiotic biosynthesis as well developing their own independent research projects.

The post-holder will also be responsible for managing external collaborations and arranging meetings, including the weekly lab meetings. They will develop skills in proteomics and metabolomics, including LCMS and NMR - full training will be provided. 

The ideal candidate:

Candidates should have a PhD in molecular microbiology and previous experience working on Streptomyces molecular biology and natural products. The ideal candidate will have previous experience of overseeing the day-to-day running of a lab and managing external collaborations. Good communication and organisation skills with the ability to work independently are essential. 

Additional information:

For further information and details of how to apply, please visit our website http://jobs.jic.ac.uk or contact the Human Resources team on 01603 450814 or nbi.recruitment@nbi.ac.uk quoting reference 1004363.

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.