Research Assistant for the Membrane Protein Laboratory (MPL)

Diamond Light Source

Oxfordshire, United Kingdom

Job Description

The successful applicant will report directly to Dr Isabel Moraes, the MPL Group Leader. In the group he/she will primarily assist the MPL users with molecular biology (cloning), expression in insect cell and mammalian, protein purification and/or crystallisation. In addition, the post holder should be familiar with all the facility equipment and also be involved in the in the day-to-day running of the laboratory, including equipment maintenance, ordering and health and safety procedures (Risk Assessments, GM forms and COOSH). The person will also be involved in sample preparation for EM and XFEL applications.

The successful candidate should have a Masters degree in biological sciences, or the equivalent in professional qualifications. In addition to good English verbal and written communication skills, methodical approaches to work and the ability to pay close attention to details is also desired. You will also have good interpersonal and organisational skills as well as the ability to work as part of a team.


Under the direction of the line manager the post holder will be involved with:

  • To assist in the day-to-day running of the projects and help planning appropriate experiments;
  • Taking initiatives in the planning of research;
  • Identifying and developing suitable techniques, and apparatus, for the collection and analysis of data;
  • Conducting analysis ensuring its validity and reliability of data at all times;
  • Maintaining accurate and complete records of all findings;
  • Running analyses and tests using specified and agreed techniques and models;
  • Producing accurate report-ready data and to assist in the preparation of written publications and progress reports as required;
  • Reporting to regular laboratory meetings, journals clubs and internal and external seminars;
  • Any other duties commensurate with the grade of this post as directed by the line manager/supervisor.

Main duties and techniques to be applied include:

  • Clone and perform test expressions (insect cells and mammalian) of membrane proteins;
  • Investigate the stability of those proteins that express well;
  • Perform purification of membrane proteins and investigate stability of protein produced;
  • Perform crystallisation experiments in LCP and vapour diffusion and screen the results, using both the robots and manually.

Qualification & Experience - Essential

  • A BSc in Biochemistry/Biology or equivalent vocational qualification or relevant laboratory based experience;
  • A MSc in Biochemistry/Biology or relevant laboratory based experience;
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills;
  • Methodical approach to work;
  • Close attention to detail;
  • Good interpersonal and organisational skills;
  • Ability to work with limited supervision and keep meticulous records;
  • Ability to prioritise own work in response to deadlines;
  • Ability to work as part of a team;
  • Experience in laboratory-based research;
  • Practical experience with protein purification;
  • Computer literacy using Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint;
  • Experience in some or all of the following techniques:
    • Protein expression;
    • Cell Culture;
    • Mutagenesis and cloning techniques.
  • Willing to work as part of a multidisciplinary team and to be open-minded and cooperative;
  • Discipline and regard for confidentiality and security at all times;
  • Commitment to meeting deadlines.

Qualification & Experience - Desirable

Experience in some or all of the following techniques:

  • Crystallisation;
  • Flexible approach to working hours according to the requirements of the technical procedures;
  • Willing to assist in contributing to reports and preparation of results for publication;
  • Flexible attitude towards work;
  • Good time keeping.

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