Senior Research Assistant / Senior Scientist (Protist Genomics)
Post Details
Job Title
Senior Research Assistant / Senior Scientist (Protist Genomics)
Post Number
1003808
Closing Date
3 Dec 2019
Grade
SC6 or SC5
Starting Salary
£31,625 - £48,775
Hours per week
37
Project Title
Darwin Tree of Life
Expected/Ideal Start Date
02 Jan 2020
Months Duration
36
Interview Date
12 Dec 2019

Job Description

Main Purpose of the Job

Applications are invited for a Senior Research Assistant / Senior Scientist in protist genomics to support the Darwin Tree of Life project at the Earlham Institute (EI), based in Norwich, UK.

The Senior Research Assistant (SRA) will operate across the Genomics Pipelines and Single-Cell Technology Development Groups to support the delivery of the Darwin Tree of Life Project, which aims to sequence the genome of all eukaryote species in the British Isles.

The SRA will have a particular focus in developing and applying high-throughput, methodologies for large-scale sequencing of single-celled eukaryotes (protists). The SRA will validate new and existing single-cell technologies for production-scale sequencing of protist genomes using advanced cell-sorting equipment and liquid handling robotics platforms.

The SRA will work closely with other laboratory and research staff in the Genomics Pipelines/Single-Cell Technology Development Groups and bioinformaticians in other Faculty Groups to meet the objectives of the Darwin Tree of Life Project. The SRA will also contribute to the smooth day-to-day running of the laboratory and training activities in single-cell analysis.

Candidates with substantial relevant experience will be considered for the Senior Scientist post, at grade SC5. Candidates at an earlier stage in their career will be considered for the Senior Research Assistant post, at grade SC6.

Key Relationships

Internal: Genomics Pipelines Group, including Project Management Team, production teams, and Head of Genomics Pipelines. Single-Cell Technology Development Group. Core Bioinformatics Group. Other Technology Development and Faculty Groups. Communications and Outreach team. Advanced Training Team. Institute Director(s) and Business Support colleagues.
External: National and international collaborators in the Darwin Tree of Life/Earth BioGenome projects. NBI colleagues, Health and Safety co-ordinators, and other stakeholders. Industry partners and technology suppliers (e.g. single-cell and robotics platform providers).

Main Activities & Responsibilities

Percentage
Developing, validating and applying high-throughput methodologies for large-scale sequencing of protist genomes to meet the objectives of the project, including cell sorting and automated library preparation, and providing continuous improvements and extensions to current systems; this will involve working at the interface of the Genomics Pipelines and Single-Cell Technology Development Groups to translate single-cell methodologies into robust, production-scale protocols and deliver high-quality data using these protocols
65
Ensuring that research and record keeping is carried out in accordance with good practice, scientific integrity and in compliance with local policies and any legal requirement; keeping accurate and timely records of tasks performed using LIMS and electronic notebook software; drafting and updating Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)
10
Ensuring that laboratory equipment is run safely and efficiently, including compliance to health and safety procedures and SOPs; contributing to the smooth running of the laboratory, including effective use of resources and maintenance/management of single-cell platforms; contributing to supervision of visitors to the laboratory, assisting with training others, and encouraging scientific excellence
10
Contributing to sharing and dissemination of laboratory protocols and preparing results, reports and manuscripts for publication in leading scientific journals and other relevant media
10
Any other duties commensurate with the nature of the role, as agreed with Line Manager
5

Person Profile

Education & Qualifications

Requirement
Importance
PhD or Degree in Molecular Biology or equivalent experience
Essential

Specialist Knowledge & Skills

Requirement
Importance
Familiarity with standard techniques and instrumentation used in genomics, including laboratory automation workflows
Essential
Detailed understanding of modern DNA sequencing technologies
Essential
Good understanding of automation principles and workflows for molecular biology techniques
Essential
Demonstrated rigorous and methodical approach to work
Essential
Ability to troubleshoot and solve problems
Essential
Demonstrated organisational skills, including ability to plan work of self
Essential
Meticulous scientific technique and attention to detail
Essential
Familiarity and demonstrated confidence in use of Microsoft office programs, especially Word, Excel and PowerPoint
Essential
Working knowledge of fluorescence activated cell-sorting (FACS) and other cell separation technologies (essential for SC5 post)
Desirable
Familiarity with tools and algorithms used for analysis of next-generation sequencing (NGS) data (essential for SC5 post)
Desirable

Relevant Experience

Requirement
Importance
Experience in validating and rolling out new protocols into production
Essential
Experience in automated liquid handling processes (e.g. Beckman Coulter, Perkin Elmer, Hamilton systems)
Essential
Experience working in a laboratory environment, delivering high quality analyses to standard operating procedures
Essential
Experience in writing scientific reports and manuscripts
Essential
Extensive hands-on experience in the preparation of next-generation sequencing libraries
Essential
Proven experience in writing automated scripts utilising commonly deployed lab automation software (e.g. Hamilton Venus software, Beckman Coulter Biomek software or Perkin Elmer Mosaic software) (essential for SC5 post)
Desirable
Experience with Laboratory Information Management Systems (LIMS)
Desirable
Experience of working in a high-throughput facility and/or service environment (essential for SC5 post)
Desirable
Demonstrable experience with single cell analysis platforms (including FACS) (essential for SC5 post)
Desirable
Demonstrable experience in single-cell genomics and/or method development in a genomics context (essential for SC5 post)
Desirable
Demonstrable experience in microbial genomics (essential for SC5 post)
Desirable
Experience in processing and analysis of NGS data using command line tools and/or programming languages (e.g. R, Perl, or Python)
Desirable

Interpersonal & Communication Skills

Requirement
Importance
Excellent written and oral communication skills with the ability to express self clearly to colleagues and communicate complex concepts efficiently
Essential
A collaborative attitude and the ability to work well under pressure
Essential
The ability to clearly and routinely document research work so that others can easily understand and repeat it
Essential
Excellent communication and diplomacy skills
Essential
Good interpersonal skills, with the ability to work well as part of a team
Essential

Additional Requirements

Requirement
Importance
Attention to detail
Essential
Willingness to participate in occasional training of other institute members and visitors, and as part of formal training programmes hosted at the institute
Essential
Willingness to travel and work a non-conventional work pattern at times
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
Willingness to interact with other scientists to develop a thorough understanding of the computational challenges of single-cell analysis, arising at all stages from sample collection and processing through to data assessment and analysis
Essential
Willingness to embrace the expected values and behaviours of all staff at the Institute, ensuring it is a great place to work
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

Genomics Pipelines Group

Group Details

The Genomics Pipelines Group oversees the BBSRC-funded National Capability in Genomics and Single-Cell Analysis and the Earlham Institute’s state-of-the-art DNA sequencing facilities. We provide scalable infrastructure and tools for data-driven science, backed by one of the largest high-performance computing data centres dedicated to life sciences in Europe. We work closely with EI’s Science Faculty to develop and implement the genomics pipelines which support the Institute’s core scientific programmes and provide wider access to our technologies to the UK bioscience community through cutting-edge services.

The main focus of the Single-Cell Technical Development Group is to develop and establish high-throughput single-cell sequencing approaches. The group has considerable experience in single cell genomics, in particular in the development of novel “multi-omics” approaches - in which both the genome (or epigenome) and the transcriptome of a single cell can be assayed in parallel. Applying and extending such methods provides key insights into biological heterogeneity at the single cell level. The group has access to a number of platforms for single cell analysis, including a Fluidigm C1 and a “Facs-in-a-Petri”, as well as extensive laboratory automation solutions for implementation of multi-omics approaches such as G&T-seq. The group also works closely with other faculty members as well as the platforms and pipelines team to ensure that new technologies and developments are implemented to support and enhance the scientific activity of the institute.

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Senior Research Assistant / Senior Scientist (Protist Genomics)

Applications are invited for a Senior Research Assistant / Senior Scientist in protist genomics to support the Darwin Tree of Life project at the Earlham Institute (EI), based in Norwich, UK.

Background:

This exciting position forms part of the Darwin Tree of Life Project to provide high-quality genome assemblies for all eukaryotic species in the British Isles. EI, along with the University of Exeter, will be leading the analysis of protists (single-celled eukaryote) genomes. Protists are often referred to as ‘biology’s dark matter’ as there is so little known about their biology and biodiversity. There are potentially millions of species, yet very few have been described. The project aims to pilot new methods to sample protist biodiversity in the UK and use comparative genomics tools to study the ecology and biology of these enigmatic organisms.

The role:

This role will develop, validate and apply high-throughput methodologies for large-scale sequencing of protist genomes, including cell sorting and automated library preparation, and providing continuous improvements and extensions to current systems; this will involve translating single-cell methodologies into robust, production-scale protocols and generate high-quality data using these protocols.

Candidates with substantial relevant experience will be considered for the Senior Scientist post, at grade SC5. Candidates at an earlier stage in their career will be considered for the Senior Research Assistant post, at grade SC6.

The ideal candidate:

Applicants should possess a PhD or equivalent experience in molecular biology and a good understanding of modern DNA sequencing technologies. Experience in the preparation of next-generation sequencing (NGS) libraries, laboratory automation, and validation of new protocols is essential. Experience in single-cell and/or microbial genomics would be advantageous.

The ideal candidate for the Senior (grade SC5) post will also be familiar with tools and algorithms used for analysis of next-generation sequencing (NGS) data, and have demonstrable experience with fluorescence activated cell-sorting (FACS) analysis platforms and single-cell genomics and/or method development in a genomics context.

Additional information:

Appointments made at the Senior Research Assistant level (grade SC6) will attract an annual salary of £31,625 - £38,575. Appointments made at Senior Scientist level (grade SC5) will attract an annual salary of £39,990 - £48,775. Salaries are dependent on qualifications and experience. This is a full-time post for a period of 3 years.

We welcome applications from candidates seeking part-time or other flexible working arrangements.

Interviews will be held on 12 December 2019.

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

The closing date for applications will be 3 December 2019.