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Postdoctoral Researcher (Le Group)

An exciting opportunity has arisen for a microbiologist/cell biologist/biochemist to join the Le Group at the John Innes Centre, working on understanding horizontal transfer of genetic information in bacteria.

About the Le Group

Horizontal gene transfer (HGT) is a fundamental process for exchanging genetic information among bacteria. Horizontal gene transfer contributes to drive the evolution of bacterial genomes and is one of primary means for a rapid spread of antibiotic resistance and pathogenicity. Our lab is particularly interested in horizontal gene transfer by plasmids, phages, and phage-like element. Environmental studies have showed that plasmids and phages transfer antibiotic resistance genes at extremely high frequency, which could have a major impact on antibiotic resistance gene reservoirs, hence research on this subject is of clinical and economic importance.

The role

The project aims to answer the following important questions:
1.    How is the production of the phage particles and gene transfer regulated and integrated with the host physiology?
2.    What is the mechanism for the self-assembly of phage particles?
3.    What is the impact of plasmids/phages on horizontal gene transfer and the evolution of bacterial genomes?
4.    What are the roles of ParB-like proteins and CTPases in plasmids/phage genome segregation and host physiology?

The practical end point of the research is to identify new target for anti-bacterial therapies and to possibly prevent/reduce phage-mediated antibiotic resistance.

In this role, you will also have the opportunity to

• Shape your own project/ideas
• Engage in manuscript and proposal writing
• Use next-generation sequencing techniques (ChIP-seq, RNA-seq) and data analysis

The ideal candidate

The ideal candidate will have a PhD or equivalent experience in microbiology or cell biology. You will have expertise in microbiological/biological techniques and a proven ability to carry out innovative research with important, publishable outcomes.

You will have practical experience with gene knockout, plasmid constructions and epifluorescence microscopy.

Good basic mathematical, statistical, bioinformatic and computing skills are essential, as well as a proven ability to grasp and apply new skills and concepts. You will also be able to demonstrate intellectual independence, rigor and creativity. Experience of high level of organisation and high-quality record keeping are also essential for this role.

Practical experience in protein purification, enzymology, X-ray crystallography would be advantageous but not essential.

Additional information

Further information and details of how to apply can be found here, or contact the Human Resources team on 01603 450462 or  quoting reference 1004113

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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