Postdoctoral Research Scientist
Post Details
Job Title
Postdoctoral Research Scientist
Post Number
1003630
Closing Date
10 Mar 2019
Grade
SC6
Starting Salary
£31,250 - £38,100
Hours per week
37
Project Title
Analysis of a regulatory networks in a complex plant genomes
Expected/Ideal Start Date
30 Apr 2019
Months Duration
36

Job Description

Main Purpose of the Job

Applications are invited for a Postdoctoral Research Scientist to join the Laboratory of Professor Anthony Hall in the Organisms and Ecosystems Programme at the Earlham Institute, based in Norwich, UK.

As part of the Earlham Institute Core Strategic Programme we aim to build regulatory networks in crop species and understand how breeding and genetic variation have shaped the architecture of these networks. As many crop species are polyploid, we aim to understand how these complex regulatory networks work across multiple genomes and whether this provides network robustness or increased flexibility. As an example of a complex network we will focus on the circadian system in hexaploid wheat. Key questions we will investigate are: What is the circadian network architecture? What components are under genetic selection? How does the clock work across multiple genomes?

The circadian clock is a 24h oscillator found throughout nature. The clock plays a critical role in coordinating the biochemistry and physiology of an organism to the correct phase of the external light dark cycle. In plants the circadian clock has a huge influence, with whole plant transcriptomics analysis studies predicting that between 35-37% of expressed genes are coupled to the clock. It has a critical involvement in many agronomically important traits.

Specifically this job will involve:
•     Identifying orthologues of the Arabidopsis clock in bread wheat and wild relatives, investigating temporal gene expression, promoter structure and genetic variation across a wheat diversity collection
•     Analysis of a temporal transcriptomic data set; reconstructing the circadian regulatory network and testing key components of this network
•     Developing molecular biology approaches to investigate clock transcription factor binding sites and validate network connections

Key Relationships

INTERNAL: Head of Plant Genomics, EI Deputy Directors, Director and Senior Management Team. EI Science Faculty and Research Teams (specifically Professor Hall’s team).
EXTERNAL: The International wheat yield programme teams, programme manager and director, other stakeholders (BBSRC, industry)

Main Activities & Responsibilities

Percentage
Analyse the temporal transcriptome of wheat
25
Use comparative approaches to identify and characterise circadian clock regulated networks in wheat
25
Isolation and analysis of clock mutants in wheat
15
Develop and implement novel molecular biology and next generation sequencing techniques
15
Personal development ie scripting, bioinformatics
10
Write reports, draft papers and assist in the preparation of grant proposals
5
Supervision and support of visiting or collaborating students and scientists
5
As agreed with line manager, any other duties commensurate with the nature of the role

Person Profile

Education & Qualifications

Requirement
Importance
PhD (or full award expected within 6 months) in biological science with a focus on plant biology
Essential

Specialist Knowledge & Skills

Requirement
Importance
Plant molecular biology
Essential
Plant genetics
Essential
Basic bioinformatics (BLAST searches, working with genome databases, gene expression databases)
Essential
Basic statistics
Essential
Developing molecular biology protocols
Essential
Knowledge of next generation sequencing approaches
Desirable
Creating and running workflows in CyVerse or Galaxy environments or on the command line (For example RNA-seq pipeline)
Desirable
Using R, python, matlab or perl
Desirable

Relevant Experience

Requirement
Importance
Working with wheat or a model plant in a research environment
Essential
Evidence of developing and optimising molecular biology protocols
Essential
Excellent computer literacy
Essential
Delivering training or teaching students
Desirable
Working with large data sets
Desirable
Writing papers
Desirable
Collaborating with groups in the UK or international research groups
Desirable

Interpersonal & Communication Skills

Requirement
Importance
Promotes and strives for continuous improvement
Essential
Excellent communication skills, both written and oral, including the ability to present complex information with clarity
Essential
Ability to follow standard operating procedures
Essential
Good interpersonal skills, with the ability to work well as part of a team
Essential
Excellent time management and organisational skills
Essential
Good presentation skills
Desirable
Able to deal effectively with international and national collaborations
Desirable

Additional Requirements

Requirement
Importance
Attention to detail
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 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
Promotes equality and values diversity
Essential

Who We Are

Earlham Institute

Earlham Institute is a vibrant, contemporary research institute and registered charity, working in an area of rapid technological development and innovation.

Earlham Institute is strategically funded by the BBSRC to lead the development of a skill base in bioinformatics and a genomics technology platform for UK bioscience. The Institute is located on the Norwich Research Park, together with its partners: the John Innes Centre, the Institute of Food Research, The Sainsbury Laboratory, the University of East Anglia and the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. The research park has an excellent reputation for research in plant and microbial sciences, interdisciplinary environmental science and food, diet and health, to which Earlham Institute contributes strengths in genomics and bioinformatics. Close links exist between the NRP partners and new opportunities for collaboration in exciting new initiatives are under development. The NRP recently received £26M of government investment to facilitate innovation and further develop infrastructure to attract science and technology companies to the Park to enhance the vibrant environment and realise economic impact from research investment.

Earlham Institute is a UK hub for innovative Bioinformatics through research, analysis and interpretation of multiple, complex data sets. It hosts one of the largest computing hardware facilities dedicated to life science research in Europe. This has been boosted recently by an e-Infrastructure grant to expand the data storage capacity to a multi-petabyte unit, deploying a high performance cluster and large-memory server enabling the allocation of processes requiring several terabytes of computing memory.

Earlham Institute’s state of the art DNA sequencing facility operates multiple complementary technologies for data generation that provide the foundation for analyses furthering our fundamental understanding of genomes and how they function. We aim to be at the forefront of technological advances and are developing and implementing technologies to generate and analyse new types of data. We also develop novel platforms to provide access to computational tools and processing capacity for multiple academic and industrial users and promoting applications of computational bioscience. Earlham Institute has one fully owned subsidiary, Genome Enterprise Ltd (GEL) via which it offers genomic and bioinformatics services on a trading basis and works with commercial providers on a partnership basis. Earlham Institute also receives specific funding to enable knowledge exchange programmes which are supported across the institute teams.

Department

Organisms and Ecosystems

Group Details

Professor Hall has worked on the circadian clock for twenty years and has established an international research profile in this area. The candidate will join a multi-disciplinary laboratory studying wheat genomics and the circadian clock. Professor Hall’s research group is based in a new state-of-the-art laboratory set up for the in vivo measurement of luciferase and associated circadian assays. The Earlham Institute provides a multidisciplinary, cutting-edge research environment. It applies cutting edge technologies to decode livings systems through the application of genomics, bioinformatics and high-throughput computing. The Institute is strategically supported by the BBSRC to provide the UK biological science community with access to genomics, synthetic biology and biological computing resources. It also ensures access to a skill base in genomics technologies and bioinformatics to deliver programmes leading to improved food security, advances in industrial biotechnology and improved human health and wellbeing. The Institute is located on the Norwich Research Park (NRP) which has an excellent reputation for research in plant and microbial sciences, interdisciplinary environmental science and food, diet and health.

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Applications are invited for a Postdoctoral Research Scientist to join the Laboratory of Professor Anthony Hall as part of the Core Strategic Programme “Genomics for food security" at the Earlham Institute, based in Norwich, UK.

Background:

Earlham Institute is a vibrant research institute with a strong skill base in genomics technologies and bioinformatics and we aim to deliver programmes leading to improved food security, advances in industrial biotechnology and improved human health and wellbeing.

Professor Hall has worked on the circadian clock for twenty years and has established an international research profile in this area. The candidate will join a multi-disciplinary laboratory studying wheat genomics and the circadian clock. Professor Hall’s research group is based in a new state-of-the-art laboratory set up for the in vivo measurement of luciferase and associated circadian assays.

The role:

This exciting position aims to develop the tools and resources for studying the circadian clock in wheat. The aim is to use the clock as a model to investigate how complex regulatory networks work across multiple genomes, whether this provides network robustness or increased flexibility and which components in the network are under selection.

Specifically the job will involve:

•     Identifying orthologues of the Arabidopsis clock in bread wheat and wild relatives, investigating temporal gene expression, promoter structure and genetic variation across a wheat diversity collection
•     Analysis of a temporal transcriptomic data set; reconstructing the circadian regulatory network and testing key components of this network
•     Developing molecular biology approaches to investigate clock transcription factor binding sites and validate network connections
•     Using a wheat tilling population in both forward and reverse genetic approaches to isolate clock mutants, and testing clock phenotypes using circadian assays developed in the lab
•     Providing service access to a luciferase imaging platform

In addition to these roles the post holder will have the opportunity to contribute to other projects and develop next generation sequencing protocols.

The ideal candidate:

Applicants should possess a PhD in biological science with a focus on plant biology. We are looking for team player with a broad knowledge of plant molecular biology, plant genetics, basic statistics and ability to run simple bioinformatic workflows. Experience of collaborating with other research groups would be advantageous.

Additional information:

Salary on appointment will be within the range £31,250 to £38,100 per annum depending on qualifications and experience. This is a full time post for a period of 3 years.

Interviews will be held in mid-March.

As a Disability Confident employer, we guarantee to offer an interview to all disabled applicants who meet the essential criteria for this vacancy.