Research Assistant (Molecular Biology)
Post Details
Job Title
Research Assistant (Molecular Biology)
Post Number
1004421
Closing Date
12 Apr 2023
Grade
SC7
Starting Salary
£26,600 - £32,800
Hours per week
37
Project Title
MARPLE diagnostics: developing new tools for interrogating cereal invaders
Expected/Ideal Start Date
02 May 2023
Months Duration
24

Job Description

Main Purpose of the Job

A Research Assistant position is available in the Saunders group at the John Innes Centre to lead further development and deployment of our exciting Mobile And Real-time PLant disEase (MARPLE) diagnostics platform (see: https://marple-diagnostics.org).

The post holder will assist with further development of the MinION mobile sequencing platform for crop pathogen diagnostics, particularly its expansion to wheat stem rust and of monitoring host resistance. This will require extensive optimisation of all wet-lab components, working with the MinION portable sequencing device. Hence, the appointee will require excellent skills and experience in molecular biology.

Furthermore, the appointee will assist with the deployment of MARPLE diagnostics in Africa and Asia, including assisting with the organisation and execution of training workshops and logistical arrangements. This is an exciting opportunity to join an international, multi-partner project and have a direct impact on enhancing disease diagnostic capacity for some of the most devastating diseases of wheat worldwide.

Key Relationships

The appointee will join a large research group at the John Innes Centre and be expected to interact with other members of the Saunders group, whilst also interacting with other researchers working on wheat rust diseases at the John Innes Centre. The successful candidate will work independently day-to-day with guidance and training in specific techniques provided by other lab members and the group leader. In addition to their own research project they may be required to support other lab members as appropriate. This project is a collaboration between JIC and CIMMYT and other research organisations in Africa and Asia. The appointee will also regularly interact with these organisations and provide support for the development of MARPLE diagnostics hubs in several locations.

Main Activities & Responsibilities

Percentage
Plan, perform and trouble-shoot DNA extraction methods and library preparation methods
65
Sequence samples on the MinION platform
15
Organising and conducting training for partner institutes
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
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
BSc or equivalent in Biological Sciences
Essential
MSc or equivalent in Biological Sciences
Desirable

Specialist Knowledge & Skills

Requirement
Importance
Documented experience and expertise in molecular biology
Essential
Excellent time management and organisational skills
Essential

Relevant Experience

Requirement
Importance
Demonstrated ability to perform research and develop novel ideas
Essential
Provided technical training
Desirable
Experience of oral research presentations
Desirable
Experience of supervising/training others (e.g students and visiting workers)
Desirable

Interpersonal & Communication Skills

Requirement
Importance
Ability to collaborate with internal and external stakeholders
Essential
Ability to follow instructions/Standard Operating Procedures
Essential
Demonstrated ability to work independently, using initiative and applying problem solving 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
Promotes and strives for continuous improvement
Essential
Good interpersonal skills, with the ability to work as part of a team
Essential

Additional Requirements

Requirement
Importance
Promotes equality and values diversity
Essential
Ability to maintain confidentiality and security of information where appropriate
Essential
Willingness to embrace the expected values and behaviours of all staff at the Institute, ensuring it is a great place to work
Essential
Ability to undertake occasional travel (national and international) related to collaborations and/or seminars
Essential
Willingness to work outside standard working hours when required
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 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

Crop Genetics

The Department of Crop Genetics undertakes fundamental research on the biology of cereals, brassicas and legumes to understand the genetic and molecular basis of phenotypic variation. A major goal is to develop the technologies and knowledge base to provide a predictive framework that will underpin conventional and novel plant breeding strategies. This will enable high-yielding, stress and disease resistant varieties, with a particular end-use quality, suitable for an efficient but benign agriculture.

Group Details

The Saunders group focuses on studying (re-)emerging plant pathogens that pose a significant threat to agriculture. We use an array of different approaches, integrating molecular genetics, microbiology, plant pathology, population genetics, genomics and data mining to improve our understanding of how pathogens cause disease. For instance, we have numerous projects studying the wheat yellow rust pathogen, Puccinia striiformis f. sp tritici that is a substantial threat to wheat production worldwide and more recently re-emerged as a major constraint on UK agriculture.

Living in Norfolk

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Research Assistant (Molecular Biology)
Salary:            £26,600 - £32,800 per annum depending on qualifications and experience.
Contract:        2 years, full time
Location:        John Innes Centre, Norwich, UK.
Closing date:  12 April 2023
Reference:     1004421

An exciting opportunity has arisen for a Research Assistant to join the Saunders group at the John Innes Centre to lead further development and deployment of our award-winning Mobile And Real-time PLant disEase (MARPLE) diagnostics platform.

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 Saunders Group:

The Saunders group focuses on studying (re-)emerging plant pathogens that pose a significant threat to agriculture. We use an array of different approaches, integrating molecular genetics, microbiology, plant pathology, population genetics, genomics and data mining to improve our understanding of how pathogens cause disease.

This is an exciting opportunity to join an international, multi-partner project and have a direct impact on enhancing disease diagnostic capacity for some of the most devastating diseases of wheat worldwide. The post holder will assist with further development of the MinION mobile sequencing platform for crop pathogen diagnostics, particularly its expansion to wheat stem rust.

The role:

The role will require extensive optimisation of all wet-lab components, working with the MinION portable sequencing device. The appointee will work closely with other members of the group to use the latest molecular techniques and sequencing technology to genotype pathogen strains in infected wheat leaf samples and further develop the MARPLE diagnostics platform. Furthermore, the Research Assistant will assist with the deployment of MARPLE diagnostics in Africa and Asia, including assisting with the organisation and execution of training workshops and logistical arrangements.

The successful applicant will join a large research group at the John Innes Centre and can be expected to interact with other members of the Saunders group, whilst also interacting with other researchers working on wheat rust diseases at the John Innes Centre.

They will work independently day-to-day with guidance and training in specific techniques provided by other lab members and the Group Leader. In addition to their own research project, they may be required to support other lab members as appropriate. This project is a collaboration between JIC and CIMMYT and other research organisations in Africa and Asia. The appointee will also regularly interact with these organisations and provide support for the development of MARPLE diagnostics hubs in several locations.

The ideal candidate:

You will have a BSc or equivalent in Biological Sciences. The post holder will have excellent experience and expertise in molecular biology and a demonstrated ability to perform research and develop novel ideas. It is advantageous if you have experience in supervising/training others.

Additional information:

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.