View Vacancy -- Senior Scientist (Software Engineer) - Neurobiology - Dr Marta Zlatic - LMB 1578

Open Date
19/05/2021, 10:50
Close Date
17/06/2021, 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 - 3
£40,016 - £53,270 per annum
Fixed Term
Full Time
Until end of grant 31/12/2023
Overall purpose:

To lead on a range of projects within the group of Dr Marta Zlatic at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology (LMB), as part of an overall programme on understanding the circuit basis of learning and decision-making by analysing large behaviour and imaging datasets of neural activity in the entire brain in intact animals.   

Inspired ideas for research for the next 3-5 years in the context of the work of the division.

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.

Contribute to the strategic development of the group and of the division overall.

To be a focus of expertise on image registration, image processing, big data analysis.

Main duties:

•    Under the general leadership of the Group Leader, to be responsible for development of new software, maintenance and upgrades of existing software, and contribute to analysing the data.
•    To maintain lab servers.
•    To maintain software in open access version-control repositories.
•    To contribute to laboratory-wide discussions on developments within the laboratory.
•    To contribute to the overall preparation of research for publication.
•    To disseminate research findings in the form of publications and thus support the QQR mission of the division.
•    To identify, develop and apply a broad range of programming skills to pursue the research objectives.
•    To keep up to date with developments in the field, proposing or implementing changes and upgrades to software as necessary.
•    To train students, Postdoctoral Scientists and others and 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 develop new software, and maintain existing software essential for addressing key questions within the remit of the research group.  You will be expected to provide the intellectual energy and independent thinking necessary to deliver the software and to play a major role in shaping the overall success of the group.

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 interact effectively with a wide range of staff, students and others to ensure the smooth running of the research group. This will include setting an example in the effective use of resources, training others in methods and use of software and taking responsibility for the use of communal facilities.

To contribute to writing scientific papers.

To maintain all software well documented in a public version control repository.  
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 agree the overall strategic direction of your projects. You will be expected to take managerial and budgetary responsibility for your research projects, especially the procurement of external funding.

Line management responsibilities will be undertaken; these responsibilities, to include staff development and performance management, should be applied in accordance with the MRC’s policies and procedures. Training will be given if necessary.

Working relationships:

You will be appointed to a Senior Investigator Scientist position and report to Dr Marta Zlatic. You 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.
Academic qualifications and experience:

PhD in computer science, physics, maths, engineering, biology, or a related field.
Extensive professional experience in software engineering.

Technical skills and expertise:

Extensive experience in software engineering, with emphasis on data management skills, database setup and optimization (ideally postgres), SQL, design and implementation of image processing pipelines, and proficiency in python.

Significant experience in the development of front-end applications in JavaScript and back-end applications in not only python (ideally with knowledge of Django) but also with the ability to drop down to a low-level language such as C or Rust.

Knowledge of LabView.

Track record of research:

Demonstrable track record in software development, for example, existence of scientific publications that use the software developed by the candidate and has been able to show their portfolio of applications in a public version control repository such as GitLab or GitHub, including contributions to public, open source projects hosted in these collaborative platforms.

Other relevant evidence of:

•    Independent working and decision making.
•    Excellent standards of work conduct.
•    Originality.
•    Communication skills.
•    Leadership.

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.