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Postdoctoral Researcher (Morris and Smith Lab)

Applications are invited for a Postdoctoral Researcher to join the groups of Professor Richard Morris and Dr Richard Smith.


Plants adapt to their environment. In order to do so they continuously monitor their surroundings and encode relevant information into cellular signals which are used to trigger appropriate responses.

The groups are interested in the biophysics of how plants carry out this information processing and the mechanisms underlying their responses to external challenges.

In close collaboration with experimental groups we develop mathematical and computational approaches based on physical processes to provide mechanistic insights in complex phenomena. They use whichever approaches and techniques are the most appropriate to the problem we’re investigating.

Morris Group: Computational and systems biology; plant physics; biomechanics; information processing; bioinformatics.

Smith Group: Plant mechanics; computer simulation; computer graphics; plant development; morphodynamics.

The role

The groups are seeking a Postdoctoral Researcher to join a new BBSRC-funded collaboration “Shape shifting stomata: the role of geometry in plant cell function”.

This joint project between Sheffield (Fleming, Gray) and the John Innes Centre (Morris, Smith) will develop a mechanistic model of how 4-celled grass stomata (pressure operated valves) open and close.

Following our successful development of a computational model for Arabidopsis (Carter et al. (2017) Curr. Biol., 27, 297483; Woolfenden et al. (2018) TIPS 23, 822-32) we are taking an iterative experimental/modelling approach to investigate the function of 4-celled stomata (typically found in our most important crop species).

Within this interdisciplinary project your role will be to develop computational models of these cells and to investigate how their geometry and material properties influence their dynamical behaviour.

The ideal candidate

Your background will be in physics, computer science, mathematics, engineering or computational biology, with experience in scientific programming and ideally knowledge of biomechanics and plant development. Training in relevant areas will be provided.

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 3 years.

Further information and details of how to apply can be found here or contact the Human Resources team on 01603 450462 or  quoting reference 1003855.

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.

The closing date for applications will be 25 February 2020.  

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

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