View Vacancy -- Head of Mass Spectrometry Facility - Cell Biology - Mass Spectrometry - LMB 1948

Open Date
20/09/2022, 11:00
Close Date
18/11/2022, 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 X-ray crystallography of proteins, 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.

With the opening of our new laboratory the LMB provides an unsurpassed environment for both young 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 - 2
£52,877 - £65,348 per annum
Technical & Scientific Professionals
Full Time

Overall purpose: 

The aim of the post is to ensure research at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology (LMB) is supported by state-of-the-art technology and expertise in mass spectrometry. The post holder will lead the Mass Spectrometry Facility conducting research to develop new methodology, working collaboratively with research groups throughout the LMB to harness the technique to address major research problems and managing the Facility to provide a high-quality service to all users including appropriate support and training. 

Main duties:

•    To maintain and run a state-of-the-art Mass Spectrometry Facility, which meets the needs of the LMB, including a service to users. 

•    To work collaboratively with other research groups in the LMB in addressing major research questions. This will often involve work at the cutting edge of the technology, where high level technical expertise in mass spectrometry is required and the post holder will be expected to bring skill and rigour to their part of the collaboration to match the input from the collaborators on the biological problem under investigation.

•    To supervise the provision of the Mass Spectrometry Facility. This will be done largely through line management of three to four members of staff, but the post holder will be expected to oversee the quality of the service, its cost effectiveness and the appropriate use of its resources.

•    To train students, post docs and others, both within the Facility and in collaborators’ groups in the use of mass spectrometry techniques, sample preparation, data analysis, and appropriate experimental design. 

•    To lead their own research programme to develop methodologies in mass spectrometry, particularly as applied to molecular, structural and cellular biology.

•    To keep up-to-date with developments in the field, proposing or implementing changes of direction within the Laboratory as necessary. This can include new techniques, new analytical tools, and new instrumentation. 

•    To make recommendations on the purchase of equipment, determining what is required for the LMB and sourcing and investigating options with full consideration for the cost effectiveness of different solutions.

•    To disseminate research findings both within the Laboratory and externally in the form of publications, presentations, and reports and thus support the QQR mission of the LMB.

•    To contribute to the MRC’s engagement with the public and in the translation and exploitation of research findings into improvements in health care.

Key responsibilities:

•    To ensure the LMB has cutting edge facilities in mass spectrometry, developing and applying novel approaches and techniques in the field. 

•    To maintain a broad, balanced and informed perspective of current scientific issues especially those pertaining directly to the area of mass spectrometry.

•    To manage existing collaborations, and establish new collaborations. This will involve interacting effectively with a wide range of staff, students and others to ensure the smooth running of the Facility. 

•    To undertake cutting edge research, aimed at key questions within the remit of the LMB, providing 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 Facility.

•    To ensure all research involving mass spectrometry is conducted in accordance with good practice and in compliance with local policies and legal requirements.

•    To train others in the use of the methodology and equipment.

•    To balance the different aspects of the role.

•    To be responsible for all aspects of line management of members of the Facility, including recruitment, development and performance management in accordance with the MRC’s policies and procedures.

•    To write scientific papers and to present at internal and external meetings. 

•    To contribute as a senior scientist within the LMB to the Institute’s aims for public engagement and translation and exploitation, recognising opportunities for the creation of intellectual property and co-operating in patent protection and exploitation.

Working relationships: 

Reporting to the Head of the Cell Biology Division, the post holder will have line management responsibilities for 3 to 4 members of staff involved in the Facility. The post-holder and staff members will interact collaboratively with members of research groups across the LMB and with external collaborators. They will liaise with the Chief Operating Officer on matters related to the development of the Facility, especially with regards equipment and resources.

Academic qualifications and experience: 

•    PhD in a relevant biological subject.

•    Trained in use of instruments in the LMB mass spectrometry facility. Ability to perform trouble shooting and straightforward maintenance of standard instruments.

Technical skills and expertise:

•    Proven ability in mass spectrometry, including leading research projects, developing methodology, and applying the technique to cutting edge biological problems.

•    Experience of running a service, and marrying this with an independent research programme and other collaborative research programmes.

•    Capacity to design and lead a research project, choose the best approaches, and rigorously analyse results.

•    Ability to design new methods or variations of existing methods to solve previously unencountered problems.

•    Capable of initiating collaborations with other research groups across a range of disciplines in biology.

•    Experience in fields relevant to the LMB. Experience of using mass spectrometry for proteomic research.

Track record of research:

This will include:
•    Considerable experience in presenting scientific work, both written and orally. 
•    Significant publication record, including first author and/or senior author publications in relevant field.

Other relevant evidence of: 

•    Independent working and decision making
•    Excellent standards of research conduct
•    Mentoring
•    Originality
•    Influencing skills
•    Communication skills
•    Leadership
•    Intellectual Property

Additional information: 

Mass spectrometry is technically very demanding, requiring an extensive understanding of the methodology, the implications of different approaches, an ability to analyse complex data and assess what it means. In this role the post holder will be working with a wide range of collaborators with very different research projects, and there will be a need to understand the biological problems sufficiently to be able to contribute as an equal partner in pursuing the research problem. 

The post holder will be expected to combine several roles, in terms of conducting their own research, working collaboratively with others, and leading a service. These are likely to come into conflict, in terms of use of machine time or technical resources, and these conflicts will need to be managed so that best use is made of skills and facilities, and so that individual research projects are not unduly favoured, or neglected.

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.