Postdoctoral Research Scientist
Post Details
Job Title
Postdoctoral Research Scientist
Post Number
1004081
Closing Date
21 Oct 2021
Grade
SC6
Starting Salary
£32,578 - £39,938
Hours per week
37
Project Title
Mining metabolism
Expected/Ideal Start Date
03 Jan 2022
Months Duration
12

Job Description

Main Purpose of the Job

Applications are invited for a Postdoctoral Research Scientist to join the Patron Group in the Engineering Biology Department at the Earlham Institute, based in Norwich, UK.

The main purpose of the job is to contribute to projects investigating the metabolic diversity of UK flora and engineering the pathways of high-value natural products.

Specialised metabolites play vital roles in growth and adaptation to a constantly changing environment, often by mediating resistance or attraction to other organisms. In addition, natural products remain one of the best sources of novel ingredients for medicines and industry. In our lab, we interrogate genomic, transcriptomic and metabolomic data to uncover the genetic basis of plant specialised metabolites and engineer the production of plant pathways in heterologous organisms to improve the purity and yield of target products. The successful candidate will be responsible for the biochemical and molecular analysis of plants and the identification and characterisation of novel enzymes. They will also will assist in the supervision of PhD students.

Key Relationships

Internal: Group Leader, EI’s Deputy Directors, Director and Senior Management Team. EI’s Science Faculty and Research Teams.

External: Senior visitors to EI, collaborators, conference attendees, BBSRC and other key stakeholders

Main Activities & Responsibilities

Percentage
Conduct individual and collaborative research projects according to the overall needs of the research program
60
Assist in the training and supervision of PhD students
30
Attend collaboration, department meetings and conferences; prepare presentations, reports and manuscripts
5
As agreed with line manager, any other duties commensurate with the nature of the role
5

Person Profile

Education & Qualifications

Requirement
Importance
PhD in Biological Sciences, Biochemistry, Bioengineering or a related subject
Essential

Specialist Knowledge & Skills

Requirement
Importance
A general understanding of specialised metabolism and knowledge of techniques and approaches used in its study
Essential
A demonstrated interest in plant metabolites/natural products, metabolic diversity, metabolic engineering or plant biotechnology.
Essential
Knowledge of methods and experimental approaches used for detecting/quantifying metabolites
Essential
A general knowledge of methods and approaches used for characterising enzymes
Essential
Excellent problem-solving skills with the ability to solve problems with numerous and complex variables
Essential
Skills in the elucidation of plant metabolic pathways, plant metabolic engineering and plant synthetic biology
Desirable

Relevant Experience

Requirement
Importance
Experience in the use of mass-spectrometry techniques (e.g., GC-MS, LC-MS) for the detection and identification of metabolites.
Essential
Experience in general molecular biology techniques.
Essential
Experience in training others in laboratory methods.
Essential
Experience writing scientific papers.
Essential
Experience in biochemical laboratory methods.
Essential
Experience with transient expression in plant systems.
Desirable
Experience in molecular cloning/DNA assembly.
Desirable
Experience in the production and analysis of transgenic or genome-edited plants.
Desirable
Experience analysing transcriptome datasets.
Desirable
Experience mining genomes and conducting phylogenetic analyses.
Desirable

Interpersonal & Communication Skills

Requirement
Importance
Excellent communication skills, both written and oral, including the ability to present complex information with clarity.
Essential
Promotes and strives for continuous improvement.
Essential
Excellent time management and organisational skills.
Essential
Excellent interpersonal skills with the ability to work as part of a team.
Essential

Additional Requirements

Requirement
Importance
Attention to detail
Essential
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
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

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

Engineering Biology

Group Details

Work in the Patron lab focussed on exploring metabolic diversity and understanding the intrinsic and emergent properties of gene regulatory elements, the role of network motifs and, ultimately, how phenotypes emerge from network functions. These two areas come together to develop plants as platforms for photosynthetic biomanufacturing, in which we reconstruct metabolic with regulatory elements and engineer endogenous genes to balance expression and maximise yield. Our research benefits from a close association with the Earlham Biofoundry, the OpenPlant Synthetic Biology Research Centre and the Institutes across the Norwich Research Park.

Living in Norfolk

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Postdoctoral Research Scientist

Applications are invited for a Postdoctoral Research Scientist to join the Patron Group in the Engineering Biology Department at the Earlham Institute, based in Norwich, UK.

Background:

Work in the Patron lab is focussed on exploring metabolic diversity and understanding how genes are regulated. These two areas come together to enable the biomanufacturing of natural products, in which we reconstruct metabolic pathways using synthetic regulatory elements and engineer host genes to balance expression and maximise yield. Our research benefits from a close association with the Earlham Biofoundry, the OpenPlant Synthetic Biology Research Centre, and the Institutes across the Norwich Research Park.

The role:

The successful candidate will be responsible for the biochemical and molecular analysis of plants including the identification and characterisation of biosynthetic pathways. They will also assist in the training of PhD students. They will work in collaboration with other scientists at the Earlham Institute and John Innes Centre. 

The successful candidate is expected to have previous experience in the detection and analysis of metabolites. They will gain or build on existing skills in the elucidation of plant metabolic pathways, plant metabolic engineering and plant synthetic biology. This will include becoming proficient in a range of molecular and biochemical techniques currently established in the laboratory. They will also gain experience in training and supervising students. 

The ideal candidate:

The successful candidate will have a PhD in Biological Sciences, Biochemistry or Bioengineering or a related subject. They will have an interest in metabolic diversity, metabolic engineering or plant biotechnology and have experience in general molecular biology techniques and biochemical laboratory methods.

Additional information:

Salary on appointment will be within the range £32,578 to £39,938 per annum depending on qualifications and experience. 

This is a full-time post for a fixed term contract of 12 months.

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 21st October 2021.