Research Assistant (Single-cell RNA-seq)
Post Details
Job Title
Research Assistant (Single-cell RNA-seq)
Post Number
Closing Date
28 Feb 2021
Starting Salary
£25,315 - £30,875
Hours per week
Project Title
Single-cell RNA-seq of immune cells
Expected/Ideal Start Date
31 May 2021
Months Duration
Interview Date
08 Mar 2021

Job Description

Main Purpose of the Job

We have an exciting opportunity for a Research Assistant to employ high-throughput methods for single-cell RNA sequencing, with a major focus on bovine immunity. Specific duties of the role include:
- Running single-cell RNA-seq experiments at EI, including Smart-seq2/3 and 10X Genomics experiments
- Preparation of sequencing libraries, quality control and submission for sequencing
- Leading and/or contributing to the development of more-cost effective approaches for single-cell sequencing and library preparation
- Liasing with collaborators, particularly those at the Roslin Institute
- Assisting with cell sorting where relevant
- Becoming expert in single-cell RNA-seq and contributing to the overall development of single-cell platforms at the Institute

Key Relationships

The postholder will interact on a daily basis with the line manager, Iain Macaulay, and the Macaulay group - consisting of Postdoctoral Researchers, PhD students and a Research Assistant.
The postholder will also work with EI's genomics pipelines team to oversee submission of sequencing data and with EI's core informatics team to manage data transfer, storage and to coordinate analysis.
The postholder will also interact with other groups at EI including Wilfried Haerty's group as well as EI leadership (Director of Operations and Director).

Externally, the postholder will interact regularly with the project leads, Tim Connelly and Musa Hassan at the Roslin Institute to assist with experimental design and coordination and to ensure timely delivery of data following sequencing.

Main Activities & Responsibilities

Performing Single-cell RNA-sequencing experiments (e.g. Smart-seq2), including cDNA amplification, library preparation and QC, and submission for sequencing
Improvement of processes and cost reduction in methods relating to single-cell RNA-seq
Management of sample and data storage and record keeping relating to samples and their processing
Preparation of text and figures for publication
Attending and presenting at lab meetings, journal clubs, internal and external meetings
As agreed with line manager, any other duties commensurate with the nature of the role

Person Profile

Education & Qualifications

Degree in molecular biology or similar subject

Specialist Knowledge & Skills

Demonstrable skills in molecular biology and genomics
Familiarity with single-cell sequencing methods
Demonstrable skills in single-cell RNA-seq, cell sorting, lab automation or sequencing

Relevant Experience

Experience of working in a genomics laboratory
Experience of single-cell RNA-seq methology
Experience of cell sorting
Familiarity with RNA-seq data handling and analysis

Interpersonal & Communication Skills

Excellent communication skills, both written and verbal
Able to work well as part of multiple teams, both local and remote
Evidence of presenting work and responding well to feedback to improve processes

Additional Requirements

Attention to detail
Promotes equality and values diversity
Evidence of good record keeping habits - e.g. lab book
Willingness to embrace the values of the Institute, ensuring it is a great place to work
Willingness to work outside standard hours as required

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.


Engineering Biology

Management and Leadership

Ability to demonstrate leadership around new technologies or approaches, and willingness to train others based on experience
Ability to independently manage lab work


Advert Text

We have an exciting opportunity for a Research Assistant to employ high-throughput methods for single-cell RNA sequencing, with a major focus on bovine immunity. 

The role:

This project aims to apply single cell RNA-sequencing approaches, in particular to enable studies of bovine immunity and response to pathogens. Working with both plate-based (e.g. Smart-seq2) and droplet-based (10X Genomics) approaches, the successful applicant will undertake single-cell RNA-seq experiments, managing the sample and sequencing library QC as well as overall management of transfer of samples and sequencing data. The successful candidate will also be able to contribute to experimental design and data analysis, with regular engagement with our project collaborators. The project is funded by the BBSRC and is a collaboration between the Macaulay group at the Earlham Institute (EI) and Dr. Tim Connelly and Dr. Musa Hassan at the Roslin institute.

Based at EI, the Research Assistant will use our automation and single-cell platforms to perform high throughput sequencing of thousands of FACS isolated T-cells, working with researchers on the project from experimental design through to analysis and publication. The successful applicant will be part of a supportive and highly collaborative research team with extensive experience of single-cell genomics approaches.

The ideal candidate:

The successful applicant will have an undergraduate degree in molecular biology or a relevant subject, and experience in method development and application in a genomics context. Practical experience with single-cell methods, such as Smart-seq2 would be desirable and familiarity of the associated data analysis and cell isolation approaches such as FACS would be desirable. The successful candidate will have excellent communication skills and experience with working collaboratively on projects, regularly presenting data to external collaborators and scientists. 

Additional information:

Salary on appointment will be within the range £25,315 to £30,875 per annum depending on qualifications and experience.  This is a fulltime post for a contract of two years.

Interviews are expected to be held on 8th March 2021.

This role does not meet the full salary requirements set by UKVI to allow for Skilled Worker visa sponsorship. However, some individuals may still be eligible for a Skilled Worker visa depending on their personal circumstances.  If you a Skilled Worker visa, please click here to find out if you qualify before applying. Please note, the occupation code for this role is 2119, which is not on the shortage occupation list.

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 28th February 2021.