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Postdoctoral Researcher (Balk Group)

Applications are invited for a Postdoctoral Researcher to join the Laboratory of Dr Janneke Balk.


The group of Janneke Balk is interested in iron homeostasis in plants, with a focus on iron cofactors and intracellular transporters.

They use genetics, cell biology and biochemical approaches to understand the function of proteins involved in basic processes, such as mitochondrial respiration and nitrogen fixation. The basic knowledge they gain can be used for improving plant nutrition, including enhancing the iron levels in plant foods through molecular breeding, a process known as biofortification.

They work closely together with the group of Professor Cristobal Uauy on increasing iron in wheat grain (Connorton et al., Plant Physiol 174, 2434-44), and collaborate with Hong-Qing Ling in the Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology, Beijing, on putative iron-sensing proteins (Rodriguez-Celma et al., Proc Natl Acad Sci USA in press).

The role

The Postdoctoral Researcher will enhance our research programme on iron biofortification of wheat, in which we are exploring different approaches, GM and non-GM, to increase iron in the white flour fraction. The project addresses fundamental questions of iron distribution and transport in developing wheat grains and aims to identify novel genes in these processes.

The successful candidate will prepare samples for RNA-seq and analyse the results, followed by selection of genes regulated by iron for functional studies in yeast and Arabidopsis. They will also investigate newly developed wheat lines for changes in iron distribution and the levels of endogenous iron chelators.

The ideal candidate

Candidates should have a PhD in Biology, Biochemistry or a related discipline, with previous experience in carrying out laboratory research in standard molecular biology techniques and bioinformatics. Experience with chromatography (HPLC) is also desirable. Good communication in English and organisational skills with the ability to work independently is essential.

Additional information

Salary on appointment will be within the range £31,625 to £38,575 per annum depending on qualifications and experience. This is a full time post for a contract of 18 months, starting 1 October 2019, and is a collaboration between the labs of Janneke Balk and Cristobal Uauy at the John Innes Centre, Norwich, and Hong-Qing Ling at the Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology in Beijing.

Further information and details of how to apply can be found here, or contact the Human Resources team on 01603 450462 or  quoting reference 1003742.

Click here to find out more about working at the John Innes Centre.

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. The John Innes Centre is also proud to hold a Gold Award from Athena SWAN and is a member of Stonewall’s Diversity Champions programme.

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