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Postdoctoral Researcher (Lomonossoff Group)

An exciting opportunity has arisen for a Postdoctoral Researcher to join the Lomonossoff Group at the John Innes Centre, working on cutting-edge science researching the expression of virus-like particles in plants.

About the John Innes Centre

The John Innes Centre is an independent, international centre of excellence in plant science, genetics and microbiology. We nurture a creative, curiosity led approach to answering fundamental questions in bioscience, and translate that knowledge into societal benefits.

Our employees enjoy access to state-of-the-art technology and a diverse range of specialist training opportunities, including support for leadership and management. Click here to find out more about working at the John Innes Centre.

About the project

Despite the huge success of vaccination programmes, poliovirus still poses a threat to human health. This project is based on the prediction that vaccination against polio will continue into the foreseeable future. The original goal of stopping vaccination after the disease has been controlled is likely to be too risky as the reintroduction of virus from whatever source, for example from the few chronic shedders of virus that are known to exist or from deliberate release as an act of bioterrorism, into a naïve population would be disastrous. Vaccines for use in the post-eradication era will necessarily be non-infectious, like the current Inactivated Poliovirus Vaccine (IPV). However, production of such chemically inactivated vaccine inevitably involves the growth of large amounts of live virus with accompanying risk of accidental release into the environment. The aim of the current project is to use plant-based transient expression to produce non-infectious poliovirus virus-like particles (VLPs) with superior stability and immunogenicity as compared to current IPV. Preliminary results have shown that these stabilized VLPs can be successfully produced in plants. Thus we now need to progress this technology towards the production of novel recombinant polio VLP virus-free vaccines.

The role

The post-holder will be involved in the production of stabilised poliovirus VLPs in plants and their supply to collaborators for immunological testing. They will also be involved in the design, expression and testing of additional constructs based on stabilised mutants identified by other members of the WHO-funded consortium.

The ideal candidate

Candidates are required to have a PhD as well as knowledge of plant-based transient expression and an interest in virology. Skills and experience in preparing virus-like particles from plants is essential, as is a proven record in scientific writing.

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 1004015.

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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