View Vacancy -- Postdoctoral Scientist - Cell Biology - Dr John O'Neill - LMB 1189

Open Date
10/10/2019, 14:00
Close Date
11/11/2019, 23:55
MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology

The MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology (LMB) is one of the birthplaces of modern molecular biology and has played an important role in the development of many new techniques, most notably protein crystallography, cryo-electron microscopy, DNA sequencing and monoclonal antibodies.  The LMB has a clear goal of understanding biological processes at the molecular level, with the ultimate aim of using this knowledge to tackle specific problems in human health and disease.  We aim to tackle difficult, long-term problems, which often require investment over many years.

There are four scientific Divisions - Structural Studies, Protein and Nucleic Acid Chemistry, Cell Biology and Neurobiology.  However, scientific collaboration between the different Divisions is extensive.  Scientists are well supported by excellent scientific facilities and by the LMB Operations Group which maintains the core infrastructure and services of the institute.

The LMB provides an unsurpassed environment for both new and established researchers.  Scientists are drawn to the LMB from all over the world, thus creating a lively and international community for the exchange of ideas and technical innovation.

UK Research and Innovation is a new entity that brings together nine partners to create an independent organisation with a strong voice for research and innovation, more information can be found at

MRC – PostDoc
£30,464 - £33,305
Fixed Term
Full Time
3 years
0verall purpose:

1) To work within the Group of Dr John O’Neill at the Laboratory of Molecular Biology (LMB) and in association with Dr Kevin Moreau of AstraZeneca.
2) To lead a project entitled Clock PROTAC: Circadian regulation of and by PROteolysis Targeting Chimeras. The project will involve multiple phases. In the first phase, circadian regulation of PROTAC efficiency will be investigated, with specific mechanisms being delineated and tested in the second phase. In the final phase, functional perturbation of mammalian circadian timing will be explored using clock-targeting PROTACs.
3) To play a major role in the work of the Research Group, through the conduct of research, introduction of new ideas, dissemination of research results, support and training of others.
4) To be a focus of expertise on mechanisms and physiologic importance of protein quality control.

Main duties:

•    Under the general leadership of the Group Leader, to be responsible for all aspects of the research projects, including defining the direction of the work, conducting the research, analysing the data, preparing the work for publication and disseminating the results at meetings.
•    To contribute to Laboratory-wide discussions on developments within the Laboratory, particularly in the use of new techniques or new equipment.
•    To identify, develop and apply a broad range of techniques to pursue the research objectives including by working in collaboration with others to achieve joint research projects.
•    To keep up to date with developments in the field, proposing or implementing changes of direction as necessary.
•    To prepare the research for publication.
•    To present your work at seminars within the Laboratory, AstraZenceca and at external meetings.
•    To work in collaboration with others to achieve joint research projects.
•    To train Students, Postdoctoral Scientists and others and undertake the line management of Group members where appropriate.
•    To contribute to the MRC’s engagement with the public and in the translation of research findings into improvements in health care.

Key responsibilities:

The key responsibility is to undertake cutting-edge research, aimed at key questions within the remit of the Research Group.  Different phases of the work will be conducted within the Research Group Laboratory at the LMB and at AstraZeneca laboratories in Cambridge. You will be expected to provide the intellectual energy and independent thinking necessary to deliver the research and to play a major role in shaping the overall aims and success of the group.
While some advice will be available from others in the Laboratory, you will be expected to have the skill and understanding to be able to act independently in solving problems, many of which may require novel approaches.  This will require the integration of different activities to ensure the successful delivery of the research projects.
To introduce and apply new techniques across a wide range of disciplines and to have the creativity and initiative to develop novel approaches.
To interact effectively with a wide range of Staff, Students and others to ensure the smooth running of the Research Group as well as colleagues at AstraZeneca. This will include setting an example in the effective use of resources, training others in methods and use of equipment and taking responsibility for the use of communal facilities. 
To potentially take on specific responsibilities for managing equipment.
To write scientific papers and to present at internal meetings and at conferences. 
To ensure the research is conducted in accordance with good practice and in compliance with local policies and legal requirements.
To recognise opportunities for the creation of intellectual property and to cooperate in patent protection and in exploitation.
To identify new equipment which will assist the Group programme and to present argued cases for new purchases.
To identify opportunities for additional funding and to apply for external grants where appropriate.
Where line management responsibilities are undertaken, these responsibilities, including staff development and performance management, should be applied in accordance with the MRC’s policies and procedures. Training will be provided if required.

Working relationships:

You will report to Dr O’Neill in association with Dr Moreau of AstraZeneca and will liaise with other Research Support Staff, Postdoctoral Scientists and Students, not only in your Group, but also across the LMB and with external collaborators, particularly in AstraZeneca.

Additional information:

This is a 3-year training and development position for a Postdoctoral Scientist who has recently completed their doctoral studies, is moving into a new research discipline or has limited experience of key transferable skills. We support Postdoctoral Scientists with a range of formal and on-the-job training, including:
•    MRC training courses.
•    External training and personal development courses.
•    One-to-one training with your Supervisor and other Scientists.

You will commit to undertaking the following:
•    Developing and following a personal development plan.
•    Attending training courses.
•    Identifying additional training which will support you to develop your career.

The above lists are not exhaustive and you are required to undertake such duties as may reasonably be requested within the scope of the post.  All employees are required to act professionally, co-operatively and flexibly in line with the requirements of the post and the MRC.

Academic qualifications:
A PhD in a relevant biological subject or due to complete their doctoral studies within 3 months of applying.

Technical skills and expertise:

Experience of standard molecular and cell biology techniques (western blotting, live cell confocal microscopy, cloning, cell culture) and proven ability to perform techniques relevant to the project are essential. Prior knowledge of simple organic chemistry, the ubiquitin-proteasome system and experience with circadian rhythms research is desirable.  

Particularly useful will be experience in and knowledge of PROTAC strategies for modulating protein function, high-throughput in vitro assay design, and the culture of mammalian microtissue/organoid models.
Track record of research:

This will include achievements, and contributions to published papers.

Other relevant evidence of:

•    Commitment.
•    Originality.
•    Ability to communicate.
•    Working with others.

Additional information:

The successful candidate will be highly motivated and organised, with excellent laboratory, communication and interpersonal skills.

The MRC is a great place to work and progress your career, be it in scientific research or the support functions.The MRC is a unique working environment where our researchers are rewarded by world class innovation and collaboration opportunities that the MRC name brings. The MRC is an excellent place to develop yourself further and a range of training & development opportunities will be available to you, including professional registration with the Science Council.

Choosing to come to work at the MRC (part of UKRI) means that you will have access to a whole host of benefits from a defined benefit pension scheme and excellent holiday entitlement to access to employee shopping/travel discounts and salary sacrifice cycle to work scheme, as well as the chance to put the MRC and UKRI on your CV in the future.

Our success is dependent upon our ability to embrace diversity and draw on the skills, understanding and experience of all our people. We welcome applications from all sections of the community irrespective of gender, race, ethnic or national origin, religion or belief, sexual orientation, disability or age. As "Disability Confident" employers, we guarantee to interview all applicants with disabilities who meet the minimum criteria for the vacancy.

UKRI supports research in areas that include animal health, agriculture and food security, and bioscience for health which includes research on animals, genetic modification and stem cell research. Whilst you may not have direct involvement in this type of research, you should consider whether this conflicts with your personal values or beliefs.

We will conduct a full and comprehensive pre-employment check as an essential part of the recruitment process on all individuals that are offered a position with UKRI. This will include a security check and an extreme organisations affiliation check.

This opportunity is closed to applications.