Sorry, the application window for this position is now closed.
Other Vacancies

Postdoctoral Researchers (Smith Lab)

Applications are invited for two Postdoctoral Researchers to join the Laboratory of Professor Alison Smith at the John Innes Centre based in Norwich, UK.


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 M Smith lab, in close collaboration with the David Seung lab. Both labs have strong interests and expertise in the synthesis and turnover of starch in 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 roles

There are two positions available, each for a maximum of three years, to study the origins of starch granule diversity in cereal and grass seeds. One post holder will focus on cell biology and microscopy and the other will focus on bioinformatics and transcriptomics.

The aim of this project is to identify the genetic basis of this starch granule diversity, using techniques including transcriptome analysis and bioinformatics tools, screens of mutant populations, and identification, transgenesis, cell biology and modelling.

The post holders 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 candidates

One successful applicant is expected to have skills in cell biology and microscopy, and preferably in modelling. They will image cells and amyloplasts in developing endosperms to deduce how different spatial and temporal patterns of starch granule formation arise during seed development.

They will work alongside a second Postdoctoral Researcher who is expected to have experience of transcriptomics and associated bioinformatics. They will compare the transcriptomes of developing grass seeds with different patterns of granule initiation to identify genes that underlie seed starch diversity.

Applicants for both posts must have a background that includes plant biochemistry/metabolism, genetics and molecular biology, and should preferably have experience of working with cereals or grasses and with transgenic plants. 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.  Both posts are fulltime for a contract of 3 years.

Interviews will be held on 8 and 9 May 2019.

Further information and details of how to apply can be found here or contact the Human Resources team on 01603 450462 or  quoting reference 1003663 for the Bioinformatics and Transcriptomics post or 1003664 for the Cell Biology and Microscopy post. Click here for more information 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 closing date for applications will be 28 April 2019.  

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.

More Vacancies

  • Molecular Microbiology

    Postdoctoral Researcher (Le Group)

    We're looking for a structural biologist/biochemist to join a five-year Wellcome Trust-funded project in the Dr Tung Le Group, working on understanding bacterial chromosome organisation and segregation

    Find out more
  • Cell and Developmental Biology

    Research Assistant (Dean Group)

    We're looking for a Research Assistant to join the Professor Dame Caroline Dean Group to undertake plant transformation, identification of defined transgenic lines, crossing lines together, Q-RT-PCR analysis of FLC silencing in those lines and microscopy studying GFP puncta in nuclei

    Find out more