Research Fellow (108072-1023)

University of Warwick Campus, Coventry
School of Life Sciences
Full Time, Fixed Term
Fixed Term Contract for 60 months from start date
Up to £44,363 applicable to your knowledge skills and experience

Fixed term ideally starting first quarter 2024 until 31.12.2028 (i.e. up to a maximum of 60 months)

Postdoctoral researcher in single molecule biophysics of protein dynamics

KEYWORDS: BIOPHYSICS | SINGLE MOLECULE FLUORESCENCE | MICROSCOPY | SPECTOSCOPY | PROTEIN DYNAMICS

We are recruiting a postdoctoral researcher to investigate the biophysics of bacterial cell wall synthesis proteins using in vitro single molecule FRET and related methods.

You will join an ambitious team science project to uncover fundamental molecular principles of bacterial cell wall remodelling. Bacteria are surrounded by a mesh-like peptidoglycan cell wall which gives them their shape, protects them from bursting and is one of the best targets for antibiotics. Remarkably, we know very little about how the protein complexes that build the cell wall function at a molecular level. This represents a key knowledge gap in our fundamental understanding of bacteria, which you will contribute to addressing during your post-doc.

The goal of your project is to reveal key biophysical principles by which a multi-protein complex called the elongasome [1,2] functions as nanoscale molecular machine to construct the bacterial cell wall. You will focus on determining the molecular principles of elongasome function by in vitro single molecule FRET measurements of protein conformational dynamics and synthetic activity. To achieve this, you will principally use in vitro single molecule FRET spectroscopy and microscopy, quantitative analysis of single molecule data, and underpinning methods such as sample and surface preparation for single molecule experiments.

The position will be based in Séamus Holden group, at the University of Warwick. The post is for a maximum of 5 years.

You will work closely with the groups of David Roper (microbial biochemistry, Warwick), Phill Stansfeld (computational biophysics, Warwick) and Stephen Cochrane (synthetic chemistry, Queens University Belfast).

For more information, please contact Séamus Holden (seamus.holden@warwick.ac.uk) or visit the lab website (https://holdenlab.github.io/).

[1]         Nygaard et al, Nat. Commun. 14 (2023) 5151. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-023-40483-8  

[2]         Middlemiss, BioRxiv (2023) https://doi.org/10.1101/2023.05.10.540107.

Applicants should either have a PhD in a relevant subject such as biophysics or biochemistry or be due to complete their PhD within 6 months. Applicants should be able to demonstrate a focused interest in single molecule studies of biomolecules.

Desirable skills include: expertise in in vitro single molecule FRET microscopy and/ or spectroscopy; expertise in the application of single molecule methods to study protein dynamics and/ or conformation; proficiency in analysing single molecule data using a common scientific data science language such as Python or MATLAB; experience in preparation of samples for single molecule FRET studies, such as dye labelling of proteins and surface passivation.

Prior expertise in bacteriology is not required.

For further information regarding the skills required for this role please see the personal specification section of the attached job description.

If you are near submission or have recently submitted your PhD but have not yet had it conferred, any offers of employment will be made as Research Assistant at the top of level 5 of the University grade structure. Upon receipt of evidence of the successful award of your PhD, you will be promoted to Research Fellow on the first point of level 6 of the University grade structure. Application of a higher salary within the University grade structure at appointment or on award of PhD will be based on skills, knowledge and experience   

You will join the Holden Lab at Warwick University. We are a diverse group of interdisciplinary scientists who study bacterial cell biology and biophysics using super-resolution microscopy and single molecule methods. See e.g.: Middlemiss et al bioRxiv (2023), Whitley et al bioRxiv (2023), Nature Communications 12, 2448 (2021), Science 355 739-743 (2017). 

We are based at the new Interdisciplinary Biosciences Building at the School of Life Sciences, University of Warwick, a collaborative environment with world class facilities for microbiology and single molecule biophysics. We and the wider University of Warwick environment offer substantial opportunities for professional development including regular opportunities to attend international conferences.

School of Life Sciences

For further information about the School of Life Sciences please see our website at

http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/sci/lifesci

We believe that collegiality, openness, inclusivity and diversity are essential for an excellent environment; this ethic has enabled us to gain an Athena SWAN Silver award.  We are dedicated to building a diverse and inclusive workplace, so if you are excited by this role, we encourage you to apply, even if your past experience does not match exactly.  We also encourage applications from all groups with protected characteristics (traditionally under-represented in STEM fields.)

In your application, you can also include any career breaks you may have taken (e.g. parental/caring/long-term sick leave, part-time work, secondments) or any periods where you were unable or restricted to work because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Right to work in the UK

If you do not yet have the right to work in the UK and/or are seeking sponsorship for a Skilled Worker visa in the UK points-based immigration system please click on this link which contains further information about obtaining right to work in the UK and details about eligibility for sponsorship for a Skilled Worker Visa.

For those eligible, the University of Warwick offers relocation and Immigration Support Scheme packages to assist with costs of relocating and any associated visa applications and Immigration Health surcharge (IHS) fees.

Born in the 60s with a mindset of boldness, imagination and collaboration, the University of Warwick is a world-leading research-intensive university with the highest academic and research standards. We’re one of the world’s top universities, ranked 67th in the world and 10th in the UK*, with 92% of our research assessed to be ‘world leading or internationally excellent’**. 

You'll be joining a diverse, innovative and globally connected community committed to igniting real world progress. Here at Warwick, we offer you opportunities to follow your ambitions as long as you bring the energy and determination to succeed.

*QS World University Rankings 2024

** Research Excellence Framework 2021

To find out more about us visit our website.

Applications should include a CV along with list of publications) and a covering letter expressing the reasons for your interest in this post. 

Within this information you should demonstrate how you meet the requirements of this role by specific reference to each of the essential, and where applicable, desirable criteria detailed in the person specification. 

Please note that if you do not evidence the essential requirements, we may not be able to shortlist your application.

Interview date TBC 

Closing Date: 21 November 2023.

We will provide you with a great range of benefits, which include an attractive pension scheme, 30 days holiday plus Christmas closure, excellent learning and development opportunities, and savings on a wide range of products and services. We offer a generous maternity/paternity/adoption/parental leave policy, and onsite childcare facilities. 

We recognise the importance of a healthy work/life balance and offer you access to flexible working, for more information click here. 

We are proud to say that we are a Living Wage employer.

Warwick is committed to building an organisation of mutual respect and dignity, promoting a welcoming, diverse, and inclusive working and learning environment.  We recognise that everyone is different in a variety of visible and non-visible ways, and that those differences are to be recognised, respected, and valued.  Where possible, we go beyond legislation to provide a place where everyone can thrive, supporting all staff to achieve their full potential. We aspire to remove economic, social, and cultural barriers that may otherwise prevent people from succeeding. 

We therefore welcome and encourage applications from all communities regardless of culture, background, age, disability, sex/gender, gender identity or expression, ethnicity, religion/belief, or sexual or romantic orientation. To find out more about our social inclusion work at Warwick visit our webpageshere. 

The University currently holds aRace Equality Charter Bronze Award, Athena Swan Sliver Awardand aDisability Smart Bronze Award. The University of Warwick is also one of the six founder institutions of the EUTOPIA European University Alliance. 

Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS)

The University of Warwick complies with the DBS Code of Practice and undertakes not to discriminate unfairly against anyone who makes a Disclosure relating to a conviction or other information revealed.  More information is available on the University’s Vacancy pages and applicants may request a copy of the DBS Code of Practice.

If you do not yet have the right to work in the UK and/or are seeking sponsorship for a Skilled Worker visa in the UK Points-based Immigration System please follow the link which contains further information about obtaining the right to work in the UK and details about eligibility for sponsorship for a Skilled Worker Visa.

This opportunity is closed to applications.