Vacancy Ref: : 053214 Closing Date : 12-Oct-2020
Contact Person : Dr Stephen Wallace Contact Number :
Contact Email : Stephen.Wallace@ed.ac.uk
We are seeking a highly motivated Research Assistant in Chemical Biotechnology to join our laboratory based at the Institute for Quantitative Biology, Biochemistry and Biotechnology (IQB3) within the King’s Buildings campus of the University of Edinburgh. The appointee will support ongoing research in the Wallace Lab (http://wallacelab.bio.ed.ac.uk) focused on the combined use of chemical and biological catalysis in microbial cells for the sustainable production of industrial chemicals.
The role will be primarily focussed on research but will also include a significant supervisory role, including the management of day-to-day research activities in the group, organisation of lab strains, coordination of group meetings and seminars. Key aspects of the role will include the assembly and optimisation of new biosynthetic pathways in E. coli, the screening of new biocompatible catalysts, and the analysis of novel metabolites using a variety of analytical techniques.
The applicant should have a MSc or PhD-level qualification in biotechnology, biocatalysis, chemical biology, or a related field, and be motivated to join a newly-established, energetic and multidisciplinary research environment. The applicant should be driven, well-organised with significant prior research experience and be motivated to develop novel biological alternatives to existing petrochemical methods of chemical synthesis
This Research Assistant position is full time, and fixed term until 30/04/2024.
Salary: UE06 £28,331 to £32,816 pa.
Closing date is 5pm (GMT) on 12th october 2020.
1. Job Details
Job title: Research Assistant
School/Support Department: School of Biological Sciences
Unit: Institute for Quantitative Biology, Biochemistry and Biotechnology (IQB3)
Line manager: Dr Stephen Wallace
2. Job Purpose
To provide research assistance and ensure the smooth running of the Wallace Lab with a focus on contributing to the combined use of chemical and biological catalysis in living microorganisms as part of a recent UKRI-funded research project.
3. Main Responsibilities (Approx % of time)
- Research work (80%) to include:
Provide specialised technical support and conduct research experiments using a range of clearly defined research methods. To support the objectives of the project, collect and analyse a variety of chemical and microbiological data and contribute to publications.
Assist with supervision of student projects and/or instruction of students (including other research group members) in the use of lab equipment and the demonstration of techniques.
- Project administration and lab maintenance (20%) to include:
Maintaining stocks of biological material and chemical reagents, and minor maintenance of equipment
Be responsible for health and safety records and risk assessments
4. Planning and Organising
- The post holder will have responsibilities for a range of duties in the Wallace Lab, which will require prioritisation and forward planning of research activity.
- Plan own work in accordance with the overall timetable for the project(s) ensuring that all deadlines are met.
- Contribute to the planning of the research through scheduling a programme of research experiments, and organisation of data analysis and review
- Co-ordinate with other staff on the project to ensure timely progress
- Planning provision of material and joint experiments with other research partners.
- Maintaining the lab’s stocks of biological (microorganisms, DNA) and chemical (biocompatible catalysts, reagents) materials that will be used or generated in the project and electronic records of the stocks.
- Planning and a training schedule for staff and students involved in the project in techniques and correct use of equipment.
5. Problem Solving
- To apply clearly defined research methods and techniques to research questions.
- To analyse their own results and assess the quality and reproducibility of the data.
- Resolve problems with experiments, making refinements to improve accuracy and reproducibility
- Providing technical advice and problem solving for other lab members from chemistry and biology backgrounds working on the project
6. Decision Making
- Responsibility for prioritisation of allocated research duties, including how and when to schedule research experiments.
- To make decisions about the experiments that need to be prioritised
- To decide on what equipment and reagents to use for his/her experiments and to carefully record any changes to overall research methods.
- Refer all decision-making regarding non-standard issues to line manager and seek guidance/direction, as required.
- Reconciling conflicting demands for lab resources and equipment.
7. Key Contacts/Relationships
(i)Internal: (/i) Line manager and members of the immediate research team, members of other labs in IQB3. School Professional Services staff (Health and Safety, Building Manager).
(i)External: (/i) Collaborators in the School of Chemistry and industrial partners involved in this research.
8. Knowledge, Skills and Experience Needed for the Job
- MSc-level qualification in biotechnology, biocatalysis, chemical biology or a related field
- Experience in DNA assembly, cloning and the recombinant expression of enzymes in bacteria or yeast. Genome modification techniques in bacteria and yeast. Experience in HPLC and/or GC.
- Knowledge of cellular metabolism, culturing techniques and molecular biology tools to manipulate cellular function. Skills in molecular biology and a competency in chemical synthesis.
- Strong organisational skills and ability to perform accurate experimental work, including maintaining clear and accurate records
- Ability to communicate effectively both orally and in writing at a level appropriate to the research, and collaborate with a multidisciplinary team
- A PhD in biotechnology, biocatalysis or chemical biology or a related field
- Experience in Health and Safety within a chemistry or molecular biology lab environment and of GM risk assessment and good practice in microbial research.
- Experience in managing stocks of chemical and biological material (including electronic records).
- Knowledge of chemical synthesis, catalysis and biocompatible chemistry
To work as part of the Wallace group (http://wallacelab.bio.ed.ac.uk) comprising approximately 8 research staff and students.
- Responsibility for meeting research project milestones
- Provide technical training and advice to 6 PhD students and 2 BSc/MSc students per year
- Responsibility for operation and maintenance of equipment
10. Job Context and any other relevant information
The appointee will support ongoing research in the Wallace Lab (http://wallacelab.bio.ed.ac.uk) on the combined use of chemical and biological catalysis in microbial cells for the sustainable production of industrial chemicals. The role will be primarily focussed on research but will also include a significant supervisory role, including the management of day-to-day research activities in the group, organisation of lab strains, coordination of group meetings and seminars. Key aspects of the role will include the assembly and optimisation of new biosynthetic pathways in E. coli, the screening of new biocompatible catalysts, and the analysis of novel metabolites produced in cell cultures via various analytical techniques (e.g. NMR, GC, HPLC). The applicant should have a strong background in biotechnology, biocatalysis, chemical biology and/or organic chemistry at MSc or PhD level with a desire to pursue the development of novel biological solutions to environmental issues facing the chemical industry.
All applicants should apply online by clicking the apply link at the bottom of this and submitting an up to date CV. The application process is quick and easy to follow, and you will receive email confirmation of safe receipt of your application. The online system allows you to submit a CV and other attachments.
You will be notified by email whether you have been shortlisted for interview or not.
The closing date is 5pm on 12th October 2020.
Right to Work
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Conditions of Employment
This role is grade UE06 and therefore the post holder is automatically included in membership of the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS), subject to the USS membership criteria, unless they indicate that they choose not to join the Scheme.
For further information please visit our Pensions website.
The role is grade UE06 and attracts an annual salary of £28,331 to £32,816 for 35 hours each week. Salary is paid monthly by direct transfer to your Bank or Building Society account, normally on the 28th of the month. Salaries for part-time staff are calculated on the full-time scales, pro-rata to the Standard Working Week.
The University reserves the right to vary the candidate information or make no appointment at all. Neither in part, nor in whole does this information form part of any contract between the University and any individual.
The Institute of Structural & Molecular Biology
ISMB studies the structural nature and impact of biomolecules from details of their atomic structure, through their assembly into larger scale molecular machines on up to studying the large scale effects of these molecular assemblies. ISMB contains groups investigating molecular structure using techniques such as biomolecular nuclear magnetic resonance, X-ray crystallography and computational structure prediction, as well as the full panoply of methods for protein production and biological characterisation. Facilities include high through-put DNA sequencing, protein production and purification, biophysical and kinetic analysis of proteins, in silico screening for drug leads, proteomics, optical and electron microscopy.
This diverse structural information is often combined with various other physical methods to comprehensively characterise biomolecules of interest to the pharmaceutical and food industries. The range of molecules studied is large, ranging from cell cycle control, cytoskeletal construction, electron transfer, control/implementation of biosynthetic pathways, molecules implicated in the import, export and persistence of bacterial cells within host cells. ISMB has close collaborative research links with the School’s Institute of Cell Biology, with SynthSys (synthetic and systems biology (http://www.csbe.ed.ac.uk/)) and with colleagues in the College of Medicine & Veterinary Medicine, amongst other groupings. With links to the Centre for Science at Extreme Conditions (CSEC (http://www.csec.ed.ac.uk/)) we are also interested in the mechanisms by which biomolecules survive in conditions that would normally lead to their destruction.
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The University of Edinburgh
For more than four centuries, our people and their achievements have rewritten history time and again. They’ve explored space, revolutionised surgery, published era-defining books, paved the way for life-saving medical breakthroughs and introduced to the world many inventions, discoveries and ideas from penicillin to Dolly the sheep. We have believed that anything is possible, we still do.
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