Postdoctoral Research Scientist / Research Associate
Post Details
Job Title
Postdoctoral Research Scientist / Research Associate
Post Number
1004684
Closing Date
25 Jun 2024
Grade
SC6
Starting Salary
£35,300 - £54,900
Hours per week
37
Months Duration
36

Job Description

Main Purpose of the Job

Applications are invited for a Postdoctoral Research Scientist to join the newly established Garrido-Oter group, at the Earlham Institute, based in Norwich, UK.

This position provide an exciting opportunity to develop and apply novel experimental and computational approaches to uncover fundamental principles in the assembly, functions, and dynamic behaviour of microbial communities associated with plants, algae and other photosynthetic organisms.

Recent work from our group has pioneered the development of highly tractable experimental systems that can be used to reconstruct synthetic microbial communities in the laboratory laboratory (Wippel et al., 2021; DurĂ¡n et al., 2022, Nature Communications). Using bacterial isolates from associated with plants and algae, we are able to design and build synthetic microbial ecosystems of reduced complexity, that can be subjected to controlled perturbation and monitored using sequencing and other high-throughput approaches. This experimental system has the potential to reveal novel ecological and molecular mechanisms driving microbiota behaviour and evolution.

The successful candidate will spear-head the development of this line of research at the Earlham Institute, and be part of an international, multi-disciplinary team of scientists. They will use established microbial culture collections to design and reconstitute synthetic communities in gnotobiotic systems. Using amplicon, shotgun and transcriptome sequencing, they will be able to track the behaviour of these microcosms and study its mechanistic basis by means of genetics and controlled perturbation of environmental parameters. Depending on experience and qualification, the successful candidate will also be involved in laboratory management, supervision of students, and long-term project development.

The post is available at an SC6 level, however candidates with demonstrable ability to lead research projects in the area of host-microbiota interactions and co-supervise students will be considered at an SC5.

Key Relationships

The Garrido-Oter group is a multi-disciplinary team that includes a newly established group at the Earlham Institute, as well as an ERC-funded laboratory at the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research in Cologne, Germany. The successful applicant will be based at EI and have close interactions with the rest of the team, as well as with key collaborators who are engaged in complimentary research.

Main Activities & Responsibilities

Percentage
Design and conduct experiments using synthetic microbial consortia in gnotobiotic systems, generating large-scale genome, transcriptome, and phenotypic datasets
40
Analyse and interpret high-throughput sequencing data in close collaboration with bioinformaticians in the group to test hypotheses and develop mechanistic models
30
Depending on experience and qualifications, the successful candidate could participate in supervision of students, laboratory management, and long-term development of research [essential for SC5 role]
25
Prepare results, reports and manuscripts for publication in scientific journals and other relevant media
5
As agreed with the line manager, any other duties commensurate with the nature of the post.

Person Profile

Education & Qualifications

Requirement
Importance
PhD in microbiology, molecular biology, plant science, microbial ecology or a related discipline.
Essential

Specialist Knowledge & Skills

Requirement
Importance
A broad understanding of molecular biology techniques
Essential
Experience in microbiology and interest in working with microalgae and/or bacterial communities
Essential
Experience with DNA/RNA extraction, sequencing library preparation
Essential
Interest in the development and optimization of laboratory protocols
Essential
Experience with high-throughput microbial cultivation systems, including chemostats, bioreactors, liquid-handling robots, millifluidic systems, etc.
Desirable
Interest in (meta-) genome and transcriptome data analyses
Desirable
Interest in developing and employing reductionist experimental systems for microbiology and synthetic ecology.
Desirable

Relevant Experience

Requirement
Importance
Experience in researching, developing and optimising molecular biology protocols
Essential
Experience with next generation sequencing projects
Essential
Algal growth systems, genetics and transformation protocols.
Desirable
Experience with microbial communities, for example with the plant, soil, or algae microbiota
Desirable
Bacterial genetics and transformation protocols; mutant libraries.
Desirable

Management and Leadership

Requirement
Importance
Experience overseeing day-to-day management of the lab [essential for SC5 role]
Desirable
Previous experience of supervising students [essential for SC5 role]
Desirable

Interpersonal & Communication Skills

Requirement
Importance
Good interpersonal skills, with the ability to work as part of a team.
Essential
Ability to follow instructions/Standard Operating Procedures
Essential
Excellent communication skills, both written and oral, including the ability to present complex information with clarity.
Essential
Demonstrated ability to work independently, using initiative and applying problem solving skills
Essential
Excellent time management and organisational skills
Essential
Promotes and strives for continuous improvement
Essential

Additional Requirements

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

About the Earlham Institute
The Earlham Institute is a hub of life science research, training, and innovation focused on understanding the natural world through the lens of genomics.

We are building a future where the biology of any organism can be understood by analysing its genome. Our mission is to decode the scale and complexity of living systems so we can understand, benefit from, and protect life on Earth.

The Earlham Institute is based on the Norwich Research Park and is one of eight institutes that receive strategic funding from the UKRI Biotechnology and Biological Science Research Council (BBSRC).

Our Science
Earlham Institute scientists specialise in developing and testing the latest tools and approaches needed to decode living systems and make predictions about biology.

We are home to state-of-the-art facilities and technology, creating a unique combination of expertise and infrastructure. We have dedicated laboratories for genome sequencing, single-cell analysis, engineering biology, and large-scale automation; as well as one of the largest supercomputing facilities for life science research in Europe. Our Advanced Training team also provides access to specialised scientific training to upskill the next generation of research and technical staff.

Our Culture
The Earlham Institute champions 'team science'. Our collegiate and innovative research environment comes with significant support, including a commitment to your professional development, research and administrative assistance, and opportunities to build collaborations with scientists and industry on the Norwich Research Park, across the UK, and internationally.

The Institute is also home to talented technical and operational staff, whose invaluable contributions enable our science to have the maximum impact. We aim to recognise, reward, and develop all staff and students so that every individual feels able to achieve their best with us.

We work hard to nurture an engaged and positive workplace, centred on core values that include openness, technical excellence, and collaboration. We attract staff from around the world who contribute to - and benefit from - an environment that enables them to deliver world-class science alongside a supportive and social community.

For more information about working at the Earlham Institute, please click here.

Further Information:

  • Our Vision and Mission
  • Our Strategy
  • Our Culture
  • Life at Earlham Institute
  • Department

    Research Faculty

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    Postdoctoral Research Scientist / Research Associate

    Applications are invited for a Postdoctoral Research Scientist to join the newly established Garrido-Oter group, at the Earlham Institute, based in Norwich, UK.

    Background:

    The Garrido-Oter group is a multi-disciplinary team that includes a newly established group at the Earlham Institute, as well as an ERC-funded laboratory at the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research in Cologne, Germany. The successful applicant will be based at EI and have close interactions with the rest of the team, as well as with key collaborators who are engaged in complimentary research.

    The role:

    This position provide an exciting opportunity to develop and apply novel experimental and computational approaches to uncover fundamental principles in the assembly, functions, and dynamic behaviour of microbial communities associated with plants, algae and other photosynthetic organisms.

    Recent work from our group has pioneered the development of a highly tractable experimental system that can be used to reconstruct synthetic phototrophic microcosms in the laboratory (Durán et al., 2022, Nature Communications). Using bacterial isolates from associated with plants and algae, we are able to design and build synthetic microbial ecosystems of reduced complexity, that can be subjected to controlled perturbation and monitored using sequencing and other high-throughput approaches. This experimental system has the potential to reveal novel ecological and molecular mechanisms driving microbiota behaviour and evolution.

    The successful candidate will spear-head the development of this line of research at the Earlham Institute, and be part of an international, multi-disciplinary team of scientists. They will use established microbial culture collections to design and reconstitute synthetic communities in gnotobiotic systems. Using amplicon, shotgun and transcriptome sequencing, they will be able to track the behaviour of these microcosms and study its mechanistic basis by means of genetics and controlled perturbation of environmental parameters. Depending on experience and qualification, the successful candidate will also be involved in laboratory management, supervision of students, and long-term project development.

    The post is available at an SC6 level, however candidates with demonstrable ability to lead research projects in the area of host-microbiota interactions and co-supervise students will be considered at an SC5.

    The ideal candidate:

    The ideal candidate will have a PhD in microbiology, molecular biology, plant science, microbial ecology or a related discipline. You will have a broad understanding of molecular biology techniques and an interest in the development and optimisation of laboratory protocols. You will have experience with DNA/RNA extraction, sequencing library preparation as well as experience in microbiology and interest in working with microalgae and/or bacterial communities. Candidates interested in the SC5 role should also have experience of overseeing day-to-day management of the lab and supervising students.

    Additional information:

    Salary on appointment will be within the range £35,300 to £43,750 per annum depending on qualifications and experience for the SC6 level role, and £43,550 to £54,900 per annum for candidates who meet the SC5 level criteria.  This is a full-time post for a contract of 3 years.  

    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 25 June 2024