Postdoctoral Researcher

    • Application Deadline
      11 October 2023
      (application date has expired)
    • Job Salary
      £35,300 to £43,750 per annum depending on qualifications and experience.
    • Website

    Postdoctoral Researcher
    Salary: £35,300 - £43,750 per annum depending on qualifications and experience.
    Contract: Five years, full-time
    Location: John Innes Centre, Norwich, UK.
    Closing date: 11 October 2023
    Reference: 1004535

    Applications are invited for a five-year Postdoctoral Researcher position in the group of Professor Anne Osbourn OBE FRS NAS at the John Innes Centre to design and apply computational approaches for predicting, accessing and optimising bioactives (triterpenoids and steroids) inspired by the chemical diversity of the Plant Kingdom. The post is part of a larger programme in the Osbourn lab on harnessing plant metabolic diversity for human health funded by a Wellcome Discovery Award, and builds on an established collaboration between the Osbourn lab and the group of Dr Brooks Paige (University College London/Alan Turing Institute).

    About the John Innes Centre:

    The John Innes Centre is an independent, international centre of excellence in plant and microbial sciences. We nurture a creative, curiosity-led approach to answering fundamental questions in bioscience, and translate that knowledge into societal benefits. Our strategic vision, Healthy Plants, Healthy People, Healthy Planet, sets out our ambitious long-term goals for the game changing impact of our science globally.

    Our employees enjoy access to state-of-the-art technology and a diverse range of specialist training opportunities, including support for leadership and management.

    The role:

    The Postdoctoral Scientist appointed to this position will be based in the Department of Biochemistry and Metabolism at the John Innes Centre in the laboratory of Professor Anne Osbourn and will join a multidisciplinary team working on plant natural products - biosynthesis, function, mechanisms of metabolic diversification, and engineering designer molecules for medicinal and agricultural applications. They will design and deploy computational approaches to:
    a) establish the theoretical space of triterpenoid/steroid chemistry;
    b) develop an in silico enzyme reaction toolkit to guide experimental investigation of the actual chemical space attainable;
    c) apply machine learning to predict the bioactivity of molecules and to optimise molecules for therapeutic applications.

    This post is part of a large eight-year project funded by a Wellcome Trust Discovery Award. The successful applicant will deliver the computational aspects of the programme, working closely with a multidisciplinary team.

    The successful candidate will join a multidisciplinary lab that integrates biology, biochemistry and chemistry with computational science. They will work as part of a team that operates across the disciplinary boundaries and will gain experience of how computational approaches can enable and synergise with wet bench science. The candidate will be encouraged to innovate and develop their own research areas within the overall remit of the Wellcome Discovery Award. They will also have the opportunity to interact with spin-out companies on the Norwich Research Park, including a new spin-out from the Osbourn lab, to gain insights into life in the commercial biotech sector. There will be regular meetings and discussions with collaborator Dr Brooks Paige throughout the course of the project.

    The ideal candidate:

    The successful applicant will have a PhD or equivalent in chemistry, biochemistry, or a related discipline, which includes a substantial quantitative component involving machine learning, computational statistics, or data science methods. Applicants with a PhD in machine learning or related discipline with a strong background in chemistry or biochemistry are also encouraged to apply. Strong proficiency in the Python programming language is required as well as familiarity with scientific computing libraries such as NumPy and RDKit. Familiarity with deep learning libraries (e.g. Pytorch, Tensorflow or Huggingface) is desirable. Experience with Linux and version control tools such as Git would be advantageous.

    Additional information:

    Interviews will take place in late October/November 2023.

    For further information and details of how to apply, please visit our website or contact the Human Resources team on 01603 450814 or [email protected] quoting reference 1004535.

    We are an equal opportunities employer, actively supporting inclusivity and diversity. As a Disability Confident organisation, we guarantee to offer an interview to all disabled applicants who meet the essential criteria for this vacancy. We are proud to hold a prestigious Gold Athena SWAN award in recognition of our inclusive culture, commitment and good practices towards advancing of gender equality. We offer an exciting, stimulating, diverse research environment and actively promote a family friendly workplace. The Institute is also a member of Stonewall’s Diversity Champions programme.

    The John Innes Centre is a registered charity (No. 223852) grant-aided by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.

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