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Postdoctoral Researcher (Smith Lab)

Applications are invited for a Postdoctoral Researcher to join the Laboratory of Professor Alison Smith.


Starch in the endosperm of cereal seeds is the single largest source of calories in the human diet, and an important raw material for industry. Despite its importance we know very little about how starch granules are formed during endosperm development. It is apparent that the temporal and spatial patterns of initiation of starch granules have diverged and diversified enormously during the 66 million years of evolution of the Pooideae subfamily to which temperate cereals and forage grasses belong.

The project will be conducted in the Alison Smith lab, in close collaboration with the David Seung lab. Both labs have strong interests and expertise in molecular, genetic and biochemical aspects of the synthesis and turnover of starch in model and crop plants, and access to a wide range of other expertise and technologies that may be necessary for the project.

The project is a collaboration with Steve Kelly and his team in Plant Sciences, University of Oxford, who have expertise in comparative transcriptomics analyses.

The role

The aim of this project is to identify the genetic basis of starch granule diversity in endosperms, using techniques including screens of mutant populations, transgenesis, cell biology and microscopy, and modelling.

The postholder will use a range of visualisation and quantitation techniques to deduce how different spatial and temporal patterns of starch granule formation arise during seed development. They will work alongside and collaborate with a researcher using transcriptomic and bioinformatic approach to identify genes that underlie seed starch diversity

The post holder will be encouraged to attend courses in technical and professional skills, to travel to national and international meetings, and to present their discoveries to internal and external audiences.

The ideal candidate

Applicants must have a background that includes plant biochemistry/metabolism, genetics and molecular biology. Experience of working with cereals or grasses and with transgenic plants is desirable. The project requires good interpersonal skills and the ability to work both independently and as part of a team.

Additional information

Salary on appointment will be within the range £31,250 to £38,100 per annum depending on qualifications and experience.  This is a fulltime contract of 3 years.

Interviews will be held on 22 July 2019.

Further information and details of how to apply can be found here. Or contact our Human Resources team on 01603 450462 or, quoting reference 1003664.

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.

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


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