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Research Assistant (Byers Group)

An exciting opportunity has arisen for a Research Assistant to join the Dr Kelsey Byers Group.

Dr Byers started at the John Innes Centre in August 2020, so this is a chance to help build a lab from the ground up and contribute your expertise and passion to the group and its culture. The lab is a part of the Cell and Developmental Biology department and the Genes in the Environment ISP at the John Innes Centre.

The group studies the effect of floral scent on the evolution of flowering plants from a genetic, phenotypic, and ecological perspective, focusing particularly on how it drives interactions with animal pollinators. We use several different plant systems, including monkeyflowers (Mimulus), orchids (Gymnadenia), and bedstraws (Galium).

The role

As a Research Assistant, your role will be to manage the lab’s day to day affairs, including managing a wet molecular and chemical ecology lab, greenhouse/glasshouse plant populations, and potentially assisting with fieldwork both within the UK and in the United States and central Europe.

You may be asked to assist others in the lab with experiments and tasks, including Postdoctoral Researchers and PhD students, and there may be the scope to develop some of your own interests as well, pending funding, space, and time availability.

Depending on your project involvement, you may also be asked to help prepare or edit manuscripts (for which you would receive authorship credit where appropriate) and talks for publication and presentation.

Work will be primarily with plants, but may also include work with pollinating insects, including bees (subject to a risk assessment for e.g. allergies). You will be an active part of the lab group.

The ideal candidate

The ideal candidate will have at least a BSc (undergraduate) degree in life sciences with wet lab experience. A Master’s or PhD in life sciences or equivalent experience is desirable.

You’ll be passionate about science and have experience with molecular biology and genetics techniques (ideally including plant transformation through e.g. VIGS, Agrobacterium, CRISPR, etc., as well as library preparation for genome/transcriptome/marker sequencing), strong record-keeping skills (e.g. lab notebook, collections maintenance, data storage and organisation) and a strong command of written and spoken English.

You’ll also be comfortable maintaining the lab on a day to day basis, including developing standard operating procedures, ordering and maintaining laboratory supplies, managing and disposing of chemical inventory safely, and working with greenhouse/glasshouse plant collections. You will have experience with plant cultivation and plant science.

You will be comfortable working both independently and as a member of a larger team, as well as having good time management, attention to detail, and prioritisation skills.

You’ll be comfortable collaborating with international and local colleagues from diverse cultures and backgrounds.

You will be able to travel locally and internationally for e.g. collaborations, meetings, and fieldwork, and may be asked to work limited unsociable hours for crucial experiments. Some fieldwork may take place in remote areas without public transport access (but reasonable adjustments will be considered in the case of a disability).

Additional information

The position is available for 23 months in the first instance, with the possibility of further renewal.

Interviews will be held in early October either in person or via video conference depending on travel needs and current restrictions; no particular preference will be given to candidates who are able to interview in person.

Further information and details of how to apply can be found here or contact the Human Resources team on 01603 450462 or  quoting reference 1003931.

We are an equal opportunities employer, actively supporting inclusivity and diversity, and particularly encourage applications from individuals often underrepresented in STEM, including racial and ethnic minorities, Indigenous, and BAME individuals; LGBTQIA+ individuals; individuals with disabilities, Deaf individuals, and those with chronic illness(es); and women and gender minorities. 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 a member of Stonewall’s Diversity Champions programme and 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. Dr Byers is committed to maintaining a respectful, inclusive, and friendly working environment for all staff and students, as well as promoting your personal and career development.

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

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