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Job description

Durham University

Durham University is one of the world's top universities with strengths across the Arts and Humanities, Sciences and Social Sciences. We are home to some of the most talented scholars and researchers from around the world who are tackling global issues and making a difference to people's lives.

The University sits in a beautiful historic city where it shares ownership of a UNESCO World Heritage Site with Durham Cathedral, the greatest Romanesque building in Western Europe. A collegiate University, Durham recruits outstanding students from across the world and offers an unmatched wider student experience.

Less than 3 hours north of London, and an hour and a half south of Edinburgh, County Durham is a region steeped in history and natural beauty. The Durham Dales, including the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, are home to breathtaking scenery and attractions. Durham offers an excellent choice of city, suburban and rural residential locations. The University provides a range of benefits including pension and childcare benefits and the University's Relocation Manager can assist with potential schooling requirements.

Durham University seeks to promote and maintain an inclusive and supportive environment for work and study that assists all members of our University community to reach their full potential. Diversity brings strength and we welcome applications from across the international, national and regional communities that we work with and serve.

The Department

The Department of Biosciences is composed of 51 academic staff and research fellows; around 50 research and technical support staff; over 90 Research Postgraduate students and over 500 Single Honours undergraduate students, and also teaches students from the Natural Sciences programme. The Department is committed to an ethos of research-led teaching at both BSc and MBiol levels, and was ranked 5th in the UK for Biological Sciences Departments in the Complete University Guide 2018.

The Dept. of Biosciences was also ranked in the top ten UK Biology Departments for research impact in the REF2014. Our basic science underpins applications across each-and-every sector of the bio-economy, including Biotechnology, Ecology and Agritechnology. Research programmes are grouped in the following areas: Molecular Plant Sciences; Biomolecular Interactions; Ecology, Evolution and Environment; and Animal Cells and Systems. These groups organise focused seminar series, Research Away Days, manage joint research facilities, oversee mentoring, internal peer review and serve to nucleate larger research projects. Along with our excellent research facilities such as bioimaging, proteomics, metabolomics and genomics we offer a high quality and supportive environment for our research staff.

The Dept. of Biosciences partners with other areas of research strength in Durham University including Computational Sciences and Chemistry, and encourages multidisciplinary research for Health and Wellbeing. Durham University was listed in the Times Higher World Top 50 Life Science Challengers (July 2017).

The Department holds an Athena SWAN Bronze award. Athena SWAN is a national initiative that recognises the advancement of gender equality, representation and progression. The Department embraces excellence in all of its forms and invites all qualified applicants to apply. We particularly welcome applications from women and black and minority ethnic candidates who are under-represented in the academic sector.

The Role

Applications are invited for an innovative Postdoctoral Research Associate with Dr Heather Knight and Dr Tim Hawkins to investigate the role of the cell wall in the plant response to freezing. The research project is an exciting opportunity to be part of a multidisciplinary team investigating how ice develops in plants under freezing conditions and the effect it has on plant survival. The PDRA will work with the supervisory team to develop a novel imaging platform to allow visualisation of rapid ice growth in plant tissues. The successful candidate will develop methods to image ice on the macro and micro scales in combination with stress assays on wild type and mutant Arabidopsis plants. The PDRA will work in conjunction with our collaborators at University of Warwick, who will be using (atomistic) classical molecular dynamics simulations to investigate the formation of ice through the plants cell wall.

The successful applicant will be expected to perform whole plant infra-red thermal imaging, high-speed cryomicroscopy, mechanical measurements, plant freezing assays and routine molecular analyses of mutants.

Responsibilities :

  • To understand and convey material of a specialist or highly technical nature to the team or group of people through presentations and discussions that leads to the presentation of research papers in conferences and publications.
  • To prepare and deliver presentations on research outputs/activities to audiences which may include: research sponsors, academic and non-academic audiences.
  • To publish high quality outputs, including papers for submission to peer reviewed journals and papers for presentation at conferences and workshops under the direction of the Principal Investigator or Grant-holder.
  • To assist with the development of research objectives and proposals.
  • To conduct individual and collaborative research projects under the direction of the Principal Investigator or Grant-holder.
  • To work with the Principal Investigator or Grant-holder and other colleagues in the research group, as appropriate, to identify areas for research, develop new research methods and extend the research portfolio.
  • To deal with problems that may affect the achievement of research objectives and deadlines by discussing with the Principal Investigator or Grant-holder and offering creative or innovative solutions.
  • To liaise with research colleagues and make internal and external contacts to develop knowledge and understanding to form relationships for future research collaboration.
  • To plan and manage own research activity, research resources in collaboration with others and contribute to the planning of research projects.
  • To deliver training in research techniques/approaches to peers, visitors and students as appropriate.
  • To be involved in student supervision, as appropriate, and assist with the assessment of the knowledge of students.
  • To contribute to fostering a collegial and respectful working environment which is inclusive and welcoming and where everyone is treated fairly with dignity and respect.
  • To engage in wider citizenship to support the department and wider discipline.
  • To engage in continuing professional development by participation in the undergraduate or postgraduate teaching programmes or by membership of departmental committees, etc. and by attending relevant training and development courses.


This post is fixed term and is funded for a period of 3 years.

The post-holder is employed to work on research/a research project which will be led by another colleague. Whilst this means that the post-holder will not be carrying out independent research in his/her own right, the expectation is that they will contribute to the advancement of the project, through the development of their own research ideas/adaptation and development of research protocols.

Successful applicants will, ideally, be in post by 2nd January 2022.

How to Apply

For informal enquiries please contact Dr Heather Knight;[email protected]

All enquiries will be treated in the strictest confidence.

We prefer to receive applications online via the Durham University Vacancies Site. https://www.dur.ac.uk/jobs/. As part of the application process, you should provide details of 3 (preferably academic/research) referees and the details of your current line manager so that we may seek an employment reference.

Applications are particularly welcome from women and black and minority ethnic candidates, who are under-represented in academic posts in the University .

What to Submit

All applicants are asked to submit:

  • A CV and covering letter which details your experience, strengths and potential in the requirements set out above.


Next Steps

The assessment for the post will include a remote presentation and interview. Shortlisted candidates will be invited for interview and assessment on tbc.The RequirementS

Essential:
  • Qualifications
    • A good first degree in Biosciences
    • A PhD (or be close to submission) in Biosciences


  • Experience
    • Experience in conducting high quality academic research.
    • Demonstrable ability to write material of a quality commensurate with publication in highly-ranked journals.
    • Demonstrable ability to present research papers at national/international conferences and communicate complex information to specialists and within the wider academic community.
    • Experience of microscopic observation of plants and plant tissue.
    • Experience in growth and handling of plants
    • Understanding of plant physiology.
    • Numerate with a strong grasp of mathematics.


  • Skills
    • Demonstrable ability to work cooperatively as part of a team, including participating in research meetings.
    • Ability to work independently on own initiative and to strict deadlines.
    • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills.
    • Proven/Demonstrable ability to design experiments-


    Desirable:
  • Experience
    • Experience of working with Arabidopsis mutants
    • Molecular biology skills
    • Experience with confocal microscopy in plant tissues
    • Experience with plant stress assays
    • Experience of studying ice in plant tissue
    • Experience and understanding of the following:
      • plant cell wall
      • plant freezing tolerance
      • whole plant imaging methods
      • mechanical properties of the cell
      • plant biochemistry
    • Aptitude for engaging in multi-disciplinary projects
    • Experience of equipment design for experimental purposes
    Job Sector
    Graduate
    Job Position
    Research
    Estimated Salary
    £33,797.00 - £40,322.00
    City/Town
    Durham
    Address
    Durham, UK Show on map
    Location
    Durham
    Post date
    Closing date

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