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View Vacancy -- Postdoctoral Scientist - Structural Studies - Dr Sjors Scheres - LMB 482

Open Date
24/02/2016 12:40
Close Date
26/03/2017 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 new laboratory 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.

MRC – PostDoc
£30,162 - £32,975
Fixed Term
Full Time
3 Years

Overall purpose:

To work within the Group of Dr Sjors Scheres at the Laboratory of Molecular Biology (LMB), within a programme aimed at the structural characterisation of amyloid filaments involved in neurodegenerative disease. Specifically, to undertake research to investigate the relationship between the structure of tau protein (and possibly alpha-synuclein and amyloid-beta) filaments and their ability to spread through the brain. The work will involve purification of filaments from human brain tissue as well as reconstitution of filaments in vitro, and their subsequent structural characterisation with cryo-electron microscopy. Handling of human tissue and "functional" characterisation will be done in close collaboration with the group of Michel Goedert, who is also at LMB.

Main duties:

•  To undertake research aimed at characterising the structure of amyloid filaments, and their ability to spread through the brain.
•  To identify, develop and apply a broad range of techniques to pursue the research objectives.
•  To present scientific work at seminars within the Laboratory and at external meetings.
•  To contribute to Laboratory-wide discussions on developments within the field.
•  To draft scientific papers, and contribute to the overall preparation of research for publication.
•  To contribute to the LMB’s mission in the public engagement of science, and the translation of research findings into improvements in health care.
•  To assist in the training of PhD Students and other members of the LMB.

Key Responsibilities:

Within the overall direction of the programme, the Group, the remit of the project and in discussion with the Group Leader, you will make a significant input into determining the direction of the project within a three year lifespan.

To plan your own work and objectives on a 12 month basis and manage your experimental work within the project along with your Supervisor.

To work with limited supervision to identify, develop, modify and apply the necessary techniques to achieve the goals of the project.

To introduce and apply new techniques across a wide range of disciplines and to have the creativity and initiative to develop novel approaches and methods where required.

To ensure the research is carried out in accordance with good practice and in compliance with local policies and legal requirements.

To contribute to the smooth running of the Group, including the effective use of resources, training of others and taking responsibility for use of communal facilities.

To enhance your research and generic skills through a tailored development programme.

Working relationships:

You will report to Dr Sjors Scheres and will interact and collaborate with other Postdoctoral Scientists, Research Support Staff and Students, not only in your Group, but also across the LMB and with external Groups as necessary.

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. You will get the choice upon appointment of undertaking a Career Development Fellowship or the MRC Post-Doctoral Training Scheme. 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.

Education / Qualifications / Training required:

Essential: PhD in a biological subject or due to complete doctoral studies within 6 months of applying (in a biological subject).

Previous work experience required:

Essential: An affinity for biophysical methods and data analysis.
Desirable: Experience in the biophysical/biochemical characterisation of amyloid filaments is an important advantage. Experience in experimental cryo-electron microscopy is also a plus.

Knowledge and experience:

Creativity and Initiative
•  Ability to carry out experimental programme.
•  Demonstrated ability to develop novel experimental approaches e.g. new methodologies and techniques.
•  Ability to contribute ideas and provide support to other projects in the Groups.

Desirable: Has developed new techniques/methodologies which have added value to scientific work.

Independent working
Essential: Proven skills in working independently to solve experimental problems.

Verbal and written communication skills
Essential: Experience in presenting scientific work, both written and orally.
Desirable: First-authorship on at least one scientific paper.

Desirable: Has experience of training others "on the job".

Collaborations/ Influencing Skills
Essential: Has strong skills and experience in working collaboratively as a member of a team.

Personal skills/behaviours/qualities:
Essential: Motivated individual with a strong desire for self and team development

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 means that you will have access to a whole host of benefits from a final salary pension scheme and excellent holiday entitlement to access to employee shopping/travel discounts and salary sacrifice cycle to work scheme and childcare vouchers, as well as the chance to put the MRC 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.


Final appointments will be subject to pre-employment screening.

This opportunity is closed to applications.