Postdoctoral Training Fellow

Postdoctoral Training Fellows are expected to lead their own projects and collaborate within the lab and externally. The ability to work in a team is essential.

Key information

Job reference
R979
Salary
From £40,125 with benefits, subject to skills and experience
Application close date
08 January 2023, 23:59 GMT
Hours per week
36 (full time)
Posted 01 November 2022
Background texture taken from the lab imagery.

Job title: Postdoctoral Training Fellow – E Johnson lab

Reporting to: Eachan Johnson, Group Leader

Contact term: This is a full-time, fixed term (4 years) position on Crick terms and conditions of employment.

The Research Group

The Systems Chemical Biology of Infection and Resistance Lab studies how pathogenic bacteria survive and infect, using chemical biology and genetic tools to define new gene targets and their chemical inhibitors. Ultimately, we aim to enable antimicrobial therapies which exploit key weaknesses in the ability of pathogenic bacteria to evolve resistance to antibiotics. Working at the interface of genetics, chemical biology, and machine learning, we discover and use small molecules to precisely disrupt the cellular machinery of pathogenic bacteria and study consequent effects on survival, infection, and evolution.

We primarily study Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the causative agent of tuberculosis (TB), and Klebsiella pneumoniae, the cause of many antibiotic resistant hospital- and community-acquired infections. We use small molecules to complement genetic studies because they are easily applied to disparate cell types and species, precisely perturb specific functions of multifunctional gene products, and directly bridge the gap between implication of genes in disease and new therapeutics.

The Systems Chemical Biology of Infection and Resistance Lab opened in January 2021 and is supported by Crick core funding, the BBSRC, and the UKRI Horizon Europe Guarantee. We work with cutting edge Scientific Technology Platforms including Advanced Sequencing, Flow Cytometry, Proteomics, Metabolomics, and High-Throughput Screening. The lab currently has eight members with a balanced mix of postdocs, PhD students, and Laboratory Research Scientists. Over the next two years, we expect to expand to twelve people.

The Project

The project focuses on the intersection of systems biology and chemical biology approaches to the problem of antimicrobial resistance in tuberculosis. As soon as new antimicrobial drugs are discovered and used in the clinic, pathogenic bacteria inevitably evolve resistance, driving an unsustainable cycle threatening the twentieth century’s improvements to public health. Antibiotics revolutionized modern medicine, but once again millions of lives are threatened by pathogenic bacteria like M. tuberculosis.

The successful candidate will first develop high-throughput assays to enable genome-wide identification of genes responsible for bacterial survival of and adaptation to stress during infection. In the second phase of the project, the successful candidate will use the PROSPECT platform to identify chemical inhibitors of these genes in order to prototype next-generation anti-tuberculosis therapies.

Almost all projects in the lab require a combination of wet lab and computational work. The successful candidate will not necessarily have a background in both, but will be provided training in necessary skills allowing them to bridge the wet and dry labs.

In this project, some of the specific aims could include but not be limited to:

  • Developing high-content phenotyping assays and analysis pipelines to refine our understanding of M. tuberculosis biology
  • Developing experimental and computational methods to rapidly assign mechanism of action to new small molecule inhibitors of M. tuberculosis growth
  • Screening for small molecule inhibitors of new targets in M. tuberculosis and experimentally validating their mechanisms of action

The postholder will be responsible for:

  • Designing experiments in consultation with the PI
  • Carrying out experiments and analysing data
  • Keeping accurate and timely records of their work
  • Engaging in professional development opportunities
  • Presenting work at lab meetings and conferences

Postdoctoral Training Fellows will lead their own projects, contribute to other projects on a collaborative basis (both in the lab and with external collaborators) and may guide PhD students in their research. The ability to work in a team is essential.

Key experience and competencies

The post holder should embody and demonstrate our core Crick values:

Bold; Open; Collegial

Essential

  • PhD (or in the final stages of PhD submission) in chemistry, chemical biology, molecular biology, microbiology, systems biology or related field
  • Deep knowledge of microbial genetics, microbiology, and host-pathogen interactions
  • Experience of working with intracellular bacterial pathogens
  • Familiarity with flow cytometry
  • Enthusiasm to work with large high-content phenotypic datasets
  • Eagerness to develop computational skills, including machine learning, to analyse large datasets
  • Ability to work independently and as part of a team
  • Strong oral and written communication skills
  • Enthusiasm and initiative to develop new skills and new methods
  • Interest in applying synthetic biology approaches to answering fundamental biological questions
  • Motivation to integrate biology and chemical biology to prototype new therapeutics
  • Motivation to use interdisciplinary and quantitative approaches to answer scientific questions

Desirable

  • Understanding of next-generation sequencing platforms
  • Familiarity with cell-based high-throughput screening assays
  • Experience in synthetic biology approaches
  • Experience with Python or R

About Us

At the Crick, we conduct research at the forefront of biomedical research. We combine rigour with an open and collaborative culture, and are outward-looking, reflecting our status as a partnership of six organisations aiming to pool knowledge, ideas and resources.

We have a wide research portfolio with no divisions or departments, bringing biomedical researchers together with clinicians, physical scientists and applied scientists from our pharmaceutical partners.

We aim to attract the most talented researchers and support them to tackle innovative research questions. Our science technology platforms provide our researchers with access to state-of-the-art technology and expertise.

We provide an excellent learning environment with dedicated education programmes in public engagement with science, education and personal development, and a postdoc training programme that prepares scientists for leadership roles in science.

  • If you are interested in applying for this role, please apply via our website.
  • The closing date for applications is 8 January at 23:59
  • All offers of employment are subject to successful security screening and continuous eligibility to work in the United Kingdom.
  • If you require a visa to work in the UK we will help support your application should you be successful