Postdoctoral Researcher (Webster Group)

We’re looking for a Postdoctoral Researcher to join the Webster Group to study the structure and function of the molecular machines involved in photosynthetic gene expression.

Research in the Webster group focuses on understanding the molecular machines that express photosynthetic genes. We aim to discover what determines the timing and level of photosynthetic proteins production. We use cryogenic electron microscopy (cryo-EM) to determine structural models of large and dynamic protein complexes and develop mechanistic models of their activity using biochemical and biophysical techniques. See, for example, Webster et al. 2020, Science 369:1355-59.

The role

Photosynthesis underpins oxygenation of the atmosphere and supports the global food chain. In plants it occurs within chloroplasts, which contain a genome that encodes core subunits of the photosynthetic complexes. Despite their importance, we lack a detailed understanding of how chloroplast genes are expressed. The Postdoctoral Researcher will study the structure and biochemical function of the molecular machinery that expresses photosynthetic genes in plants. They will prepare gene expression complexes from chloroplasts and recombinant expression. Atomic models obtained by cryo-EM will be interpreted alongside biochemical and biophysical experiments in answering a key question: what is the biochemical role of each subunit that makes it essential to greening in plants? These discoveries will support the long-term effort to control photosynthetic output and timing for improved crops and biotechnologies. They will also shed new light on the nature of the poorly-understood machinery of plastid gene expression.

The ideal candidate

Candidates should have a PhD in molecular biology or a similar subje ct. They should have experience in protein purification, characterisation of purified proteins by biochemical, biophysical or structural techniques, molecular cloning for recombinant expression of proteins, and a basic understanding of the biochemical process of gene expression.The applicant will be trained in diverse transferrable scientific and personal skills. Scientific skills include DNA manipulation, protein purification techniques, subcellular fractionation, negative stain electron microscopy, cryogenic electron microscopy (cryo-EM), biophysical analysis of molecular interactions, biochemical analysis of nucleic acid processing, high-resolution electrophoretic assays, protein identification by peptide mass fingerprinting, bioinformatic analyses and protein structure prediction.

Additional information

Interviews will be held on 21st February 2022.

Further information and details of how to apply can be found here or contact the Human Resources team on 01603 450462 or quoting reference 1004176.

We are an equal opportunities employer, actively supporting inclusivity and diversity.  As a Disability Confident organisation, we guarantee to offer an interview to all disabled applicants who meet the essential criteria for this vacancy. We are proud to hold a prestigious Gold Athena SWAN award in recognition of our inclusive culture, commitment and good practices towards advancing of gender equality. We offer an exciting, stimulating, diverse research environment and actively promote a family friendly workplace. The Institute is also a member of Stonewall’s Diversity Champions programme.

The John Innes Centre is a registered charity (No. 223852) grant-aided by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.

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