View Vacancy -- Electron Microscopy Research Assistant - Structural Studies - Shaoxia Chen - LMB 958

Open Date
29/10/2018, 15:00
Close Date
26/11/2018, 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 - 5
£22,201 - £25,976
Technical & Scientific Professionals
Full Time

Overall purpose:

The Research support assistant will provide technical support at the world-class Electron Microscopy (EM) facility at MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology (LMB).

The EM facility at LMB includes 10 electron microscopes and a suite of associated equipment for sample preparation. The Research Support Assistant, together with the existing facility staff, will be responsible for day-to-day provision of the facility’s services to LMB scientists.

Main duties and responsibilities:

Together with other facility staff, to be responsible for day-to-day provision of the facility’s services and equipment to users of the facility. In particular to:

  • Ensure that equipment such as the Tecnai Spirit electron microscopes, plasma cleaner, vacuum coater, vitrobot and glow discharger run in a smooth manner, addressing and resolving hardware and software problems within an appropriate timeframe and implementing a maintenance programme.
  • Provide training in electron microscopy and cryo-electron microscopy to users of electron microscopes such as the Tecnai spirits and F20, and training on sample preparation equipment such as plasma cleaner, vacuum coater, vitrobot and glow discharger.
  • Provide support to users of electron microscopes such as the Tecnai spirits and F20, and sample preparation equipment such as plasma cleaner, vacuum coater, vitrobot and glow discharger, diagnosing and troubleshooting problems and providing advice on best use of the systems. 
  • Help users with loading specimens into the electron microscope and setting up data collections, or perform these independently.
  • Assist with cryo-specimen storage systems and liquid nitrogen supply.
  • Obtain quotes for parts and place orders. Assist with engineer visits, and with the installation of new or replacement equipment or software.
  • Assist the other facility staff in tasks including protocol writing, record keeping and communication with users.
  • Contribute to research projects on methodology development for cryo-electron microscopy.
  • Obtain and maintain a good knowledge of the equipment and its usage, and keep up to date with developments.

Working relationships:

You will work under the supervision of, and report to, the EM Facility Manager or in her absence the Research Support Officers. You will work alongside, and with advice from, two Research Support Officers. The entire EM facility is overseen by a Group Leader. 

You will interact with other Group Leaders, research support staff, post-doctoral scientists and students across the LMB and with external collaborators.

Additional information:

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. 

Education / qualifications / training required:

Essential: BSc or an equivalent level of training in engineering, sciences or a related technical field.

Desirable: MSc or an equivalent level of training in engineering, sciences or a related technical field.

Previous work experience required:

Essential: Experience working with precision scientific or technical instrumentation.

• Experience in the maintenance or installation of precision scientific or technical instrumentation.
• Experience working with electron microscopy or microscopy.

Knowledge and experience:

Technical skills

• Excellent knowledge of precision scientific or technical instrumentation.
• The ability to acquire new techniques quickly.
• Good IT skills.

Desirable: Experience in the design of technical instrumentation.

Independent working

• Proven skills in working independently to solve problems.
• The ability to perform technical tasks accurately using a defined protocol.

Desirable: Has developed new protocols or new methodologies in technical fields. 

Verbal and written communication skills

Essential: Excellent verbal and written communication skills with the ability to communicate at all levels of technical complexity with both novices and experts.

Personal skills / behaviours / qualities:

• Excellent standards of conduct.
• Good time management with the ability to re-prioritize a demanding workload under pressure.
• Excellent interpersonal skills.
• An ability to work as a member of a small team.
• Self-motivated with a strong desire to learn new techniques.
• A pro-active and conscientious attitude to work. 

• Experience in liaising with users/customer.
• Ability to multitask in a dynamic environment. 

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.