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Postdoctoral Researcher

Postdoctoral Researcher

Applications are invited for a Postdoctoral Researcher to join the group of Prof Martin Howard in the Department of Computational and Systems Biology at the John Innes Centre, Norwich, UK.

About the John Innes Centre:

The John Innes Centre is an independent, international centre of excellence in plant science, genetics and microbiology. We nurture a creative, curiosity led approach to answering fundamental questions in bioscience, and translate that knowledge into societal benefits.

Our employees enjoy access to state-of-the-art technology and a diverse range of specialist training opportunities, including support for leadership and management. Click here to find out more about working at the John Innes Centre.


The Howard group combines simple, predictive mathematical modelling with long-lasting experimental collaborations, to dissect biological mechanisms too complex to unravel by experiments alone. In many cases complex biological dynamics have been rationalised into simple underlying mechanisms, with few components and interactions. The group's approach is highly interdisciplinary and relies heavily on the techniques of statistical physics and applied mathematics, as well as on close collaboration with experimental groups. This truly interdisciplinary approach allows us to get to the heart of biological mechanisms more speedily. At present the main focus of the group is epigenetic dynamics, probing how epigenetic memory states are set up and then stably maintained. In this context, we work with histone modification memory systems, as well as on DNA methylation, collaborating with experimentalists in systems ranging from plants to mammalian stem cells. A particular focus has been the Polycomb epigenetic system, where we have proposed an all-or-nothing epigenetic switching mechanism, with epigenetic gene silencing directly antagonised by transcription. The group regularly publishes in the most prominent multidisciplinary journals, with recent papers in Nature, Science, Cell Systems, eLife and PNAS. Several previous members of the Howard group now hold independent faculty positions of their own, including in Amsterdam, Singapore and Munich.

The role:

The primary aim of the post holder will be to develop new interdisciplinary collaborations with experimental groups at the Babraham and Gurdon Institutes in Cambridge, where Prof Howard holds honorary/associate Group Leader positions. These projects are likely to involve topics in epigenetic and/or developmental dynamics. There is considerable flexibility in the choice of project going forward and this position would therefore suit an individual with a high degree of independence and vision. The successful candidate will have a rare opportunity to work on fundamental biological processes in a truly interdisciplinary environment, with seamless collaboration with leading experimentalists.

The ideal candidate:

The ideal candidate will possess a PhD in Theoretical Physics, Bio-Mathematics or Computational Biology. They will possess a strong interest in biological problems and have achieved demonstrable scientific success in previous roles. Prior experience of biological modelling is desirable but not essential.

Additional information:

Salary on appointment will be within the range £32,255 to £39,345 per annum depending on qualifications and experience. The post is full-time and for a period of 3 years. This post is funded by the BBSRC.

Interviews will be held on 8 June 2021.

For further information and details of how to apply, please visit our web site http://jobs.jic.ac.uk or contact the Human Resources team on 01603 450462 or quoting reference 1004034.

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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