Jobs in Structural Biology and Related Fields

Postdoctoral Research Associate

University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Application deadline: 10 Aug 2020

A Postdoctoral Research Associate position is available at the University of Edinburgh’s Wellcome Trust Centre for Cell Biology on a research group led by Marcus Wilson, studying the role of chromatin in DNA damage repair. Research focuses on the reading, writing, and erasing of epigenetic marks, using a combination of structural biology, biochemical and biophysical techniques.

The successful candidate will be a highly motivated and enthusiastic individual with an outstanding academic track record, good communication skills, and the ability to work on a team. The candidate will benefit from training in the vibrant intellectual and collaborative environment of the newly formed Wilson lab, with access to state of the art technology platforms including a cryo-electron microscopy facility, including a 200kV F20 Microscope, and access to the newly established Scottish Centre for Macromolecular Imaging.

Applicants should have (or be near completion of) a PhD in Biochemistry, Structural biology or related discipline. Applicants with experience in single particle cryo-EM and/or biochemistry are encouraged to apply.

The post is a full-time, fixed-term contract, initially for two years with the possibility of extension. Informal enquiries should be addressed to

Salary: £33,797 to £40,322 per annum
Closing date is 10 August 2020 at 5pm GMT.

1. Job Details

Job title: Postdoctoral Research Associate
School: School of Biological Sciences
Unit: Institute Quantitative Biology, Biochemistry and Biotechnology, Wellcome Trust Centre of Cell Biology
Line manager: Marcus Wilson

2. Job Purpose

To conduct research in the Wilson lab, contributing to the development of new ideas, approaches, concepts and techniques. To contribute to the overall direction and management of the research project or programme, and to contribute to publishing or otherwise disseminating the outputs of research. The postholder will contribute to the development of a programme of high quality research in the field of gnome instability and epigenetics using structural biology and biochemical approaches.

3. Main Responsibilities

Responsible for the planning and execution of specific elements of the research project, acting under general guidance from the PI. Conduct experimental work on epigenetic marks and chromatin using techniques including protein purification, cryo-electron microscopy. Ensure all data production and recording is handled with integrity and that records and documentation are maintained correctly. (75%)

Present and discuss research findings within and beyond the research group. Disseminate research findings by contributing to publications as first or co-author, presentation at conferences etc. (10%)

Supervise students and junior staff working on the project as required. (7%)

Keep up-to-date with relevant scientific developments through literature review, seminar attendance, etc. (8%)

4. Planning and Organising

The post holder will be responsible for the day-to-day organisation of the research activity, and will be expected to contribute to the planning of experimental strategies and approaches in consultation with the PI. They will be expected to assimilate information from published literature and apply it to their experimental design, and prioritise activities in order to meet agreed milestones and deadlines. The post requires an organised person with good record-keeping skills and an ability to multi-task and manage their time effectively.

5. Problem Solving

The post holder will design and implement experiments agreed upon in consultation with the PI, and will be expected to consult published literature and use their own experience and initiative in order to optimise new experimental protocols and trouble-shooting any problems that arise. The post holder will be responsible for analysing, collating and interpreting data and designing follow-up analyses based on conclusions drawn, and will be encouraged to use their creativity in order to identify potential new lines of enquiry. They will also be expected to contribute to the progress of the team by helping other lab members to overcome problems in their own projects.

6. Decision Making

Decisions on the overall development and implementation of the research strategy will be made in consultation with the PI. The post holder will be expected to make day-to-day decisions about experimental design and organisation in order to ensure that objectives are met in an effective and timely manner. They will also be expected to interpret experimental results and decide on the logical next steps for the project based on their conclusions

7. Key Contacts/Relationships

The post holder will be supervised by the PI. They will be expected to interact with other members of the lab on a daily basis and in weekly lab meetings, and to liaise with collaborators both within the institute and externally as required.

8. Knowledge, Skills and Experience Needed for the Job

A PhD (or shortly to obtain a PhD) in structural biology, biochemistry or other closely related field.

Knowledge, Skills and Competencies
Advanced knowledge of molecular and cellular biology
A proven track record in delivering high quality data suitable for publication.
Expertise in protein purification and biochemical techniques
High degree of self-motivation and ability to work under pressure while maintaining a high degree of accuracy
Ability to work independently
Ability to communicate complicated information effectively both orally and in writing
Effective project and time management skills
Good interpersonal skills

Advanced knowledge of structural biology, biochemical and biophysical techniques
Experience working with bacterial, insect and human cells for protein production
Expertise in structural biology techniques such as electron microscopy or X-ray crystallography, including data processing and/or model building.
Experience of chemical biology approaches
One or more first-author publication in a respected peer-reviewed journal
Passion and interest in chromatin biology and epigenetics

Personal Attributes
Enthusiasm and commitment to research
Motivation and initiative to drive a project forward successfully

Creativity and adaptability to identify and develop new lines of enquiry

9. Dimensions

To work as part of the Wilson group comprising approximately 2-4 research staff and students.

10. Job Context and any other relevant information

This is a demanding but exciting opportunity for an ambitious, driven individual to develop their research skills

For more information and to apply, see the University of Edinburgh website.

Edinburgh, United Kingdom

Postdoctoral Research Associate