Skip to content
Leading science for better health

View Vacancy -- Postdoctoral Scientist - Structural Studies - Dr Madan Mohan - LMB 496

Open Date
15/03/2017 10:30
Close Date
17/04/2017 23:55
UKRI 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.

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 - 4
£30,162 - £32,975
Fixed Term
Full Time
3 Years
Overall Purpose:

To work within the Group of Dr. M. Madan Babu at the Laboratory of Molecular Biology (LMB), within a programme aimed at understanding the principles and biological functions of in vivo phase transition. Specifically to undertake research to investigate how intrinsically disordered proteins or regions (IDP/IDR) drive the processes of reversible or irreversible phase transition and the role of short-linear motifs (SLiMs) in the IDP/IDRs during phase transition.

This study aims at deriving general principles on the sequence-structure-function explanation for IDP/IDR with specific emphasis on phase transition, as well as understanding the biological function and dysfunction associated with it. The study will provide insight on novel mechanisms of regulation and shed light on basic understanding on the molecular and cellular level for human diseases closely related to phase transition involving IDP/IDRs, including Alzheimer’s disease (AD), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), etc.

Main Duties:

•  To undertake research aimed at discovery of new short-linear motifs involved in in vivo phase transition and understanding the mechanisms underlying the phase transition using a combination of computational biology, genomics and biophysical studies.
•  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 3 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 M. Madan Babu 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. 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.

Academic Qualifications:

PhD in a biophysical, computational or other relevant science subject or due to complete doctoral studies within 3 months of applying (in a relevant subject).

Research experience working with biochemical and biophysical characterization of intrinsically disordered proteins is desirable.

Technical Skills and Expertise:

Experience of and ability to perform techniques relevant to the project.  Particularly essential is:
•  Experience of working with purification of intrinsically disordered proteins, as well as biochemical and biophysical characterization of disease related disordered proteins/regions.
•  Extensive experience in molecular cloning.

It will be desirable to have:
•  Good skills in developing fluorescence based assays and extensive experience working with multiple fluorescence techniques.
•  Experience in computer programming.
•  Experience working with mass spectrometry characterizing intrinsically disordered proteins.
•  Other experiences characterizing protein-protein interaction and protein-lipid interaction.

Track Record of Research:

•  Published at least three papers (at least one first-author paper) in high-impact journal.
•  Demonstrated good writing skills.
•  Experience in presenting scientific works publicly including poster presentation, preferably in the form of giving talks, and in situations like international conferences.
•  Demonstrated ability of conceiving own project and carrying out to completion.
•  Experience in maintaining good collaboration with research group specifying other techniques.

Other relevant evidence of:

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

Additional Information:

The post is available to applicants with a strong background in biophysics, and shows strong interest in integrating experimental skills with computational studies. Applicants with no formal training in computational work but who have self-taught to a high level or show strong aptitude for learning will be considered, if they have other complementary biological qualifications. Applicant with good skills in communicating science and establishing collaborations is desired.

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.

Final appointments will be subject to pre-employment screening.

This opportunity is closed to applications.