Postdoctoral Research Scientist

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Quadram Institute Bioscience

The Quadram Institute is at the forefront of a new interface between food science, gut biology and health, developing solutions to worldwide challenges in food-related disease and human health.

We are engaged in fundamental and translational food and health research, alongside clinical studies, endoscopy and industry, working together to become a leading international hub for food and health research, combining scientific excellence and clinical expertise, delivering impacts on patient care and accelerating innovation.

In preparation for the full opening of the Quadram Institute in 2018, the Institute of Food Research transitioned into Quadram Institute Bioscience on April 28th 2017.

Post Details

Job Title
Postdoctoral Research Scientist
Post Number
Closing Date
31 May 2018
Starting Salary
£31,250 - £38,100
Hours per week
Project Title
Gut and blood microbiomics for studying the effect of a polyphenol-rich dietary pattern on intestinal permeability in the elderly
Expected/Ideal Start Date
01 Mar 2018
Months Duration

Main Purpose of the Job

Undertake research that makes a significant contribution to the objectives of the JPI-HDHL MaPLE project. Contribute to writing the research up in the form of manuscripts for publication and progress reports for consortium meetings and the JPI.

In addition, the post-holder will be expected to stay abreast of relevant literature and contribute to the research group.


Food and Health

Group Details

The post-holder will join the Kroon group who are seeking to understand how polyphenols in plant foods interact with the body to induce beneficial health effects. We seek to demonstrate beneficial health effects of specific polyphenols and polyphenol-rich diets, understand the metabolism of the polyphenols by the gut microbiota and human tissues, identify active metabolites and determine the mechanisms of action. The research is increasingly focussed on the important role of the gut microbiota which has a number of crucial functions. For example, the gut microbiota transforms ingested polyphenols to give microbial catabolites which are typically the most abundant absorbed forms, and we are investigating if these catabolites have important health effects (e.g. in preventing CVD). Also, the gut microbiota are involved in generating disease promoting chemicals from food components and we are investigating the potential for polyphenols to inhibit this activity. The gut microbiota are also involved in the normal functioning of the gut, but it can become deranged, for example in old age, and we are investigating the potential for polyphenols to maintain a healthy microbiota. The gut microbiome research is done in collaboration with Professor Arjan Narbad.

Advert Text

Applications are invited for a Postdoctoral Research Scientist to work on a diet and healthy ageing research project in the Food Innovation and Health Programme at the Quadram Institute Bioscience (QIB).

We seek to recruit a postdoctoral scientist to work on an exciting collaborative project funded through the EU Joint Programming Initiative Healthy Diet for a Healthy Lifestyle programme (Gut and blood microbiomics for studying the effect of a polyphenol-rich dietary pattern on intestinal permeability in the elderly - MaPLE). The project is investigating whether a polyphenol-enriched diet can prevent and/or reduce the high gut permeability (leaky guts) phenotype that is observed in the elderly and which is thought to contribute to systemic low-grade inflammation ('inflammaging'). The project is a collaboration between QIB, the University of Milan and the University of Barcelona.

The role:
The successful applicant will join Dr Paul Kroon's group at the Quadram Institute and will also collaborate with Professors Arjan Narbad (gut microbial ecology) and Alastair Watson (gut biology). They will be expected to undertake experimental research, write progress reports and draft manuscripts for publication, stay abreast of relevant literature and contribute at MaPLE consortium meetings.

The post-holder will measure a range of relevant biomarkers of gut permeability and of gut microbiota structure and function using samples from elderly participants who took part in a human dietary intervention study. In addition, they will undertake experiments to investigate the mechanisms by which polyphenol-rich diets can improve gut barrier function, and seek to determine whether the changes are a direct effect of the polyphenols on the gut mucosa, or occur via polyphenol-induced changes in gut microbiota structure / function.

The ideal candidate:
Applicants should have a PhD in biology/biochemistry/immunology/molecular biology and have experience in several biochemical / immunological / physiological techniques including qRT-PCR, ELISAs, westerns, immunohistochemistry and of working with experimental animals, tissue samples and cultured cell models. Applicants must hold a current UK Home Office personal licence for working with experimental animals. Experience in assessment of gut barrier function and use of 16S rRNA profiling methods for assessing microbiota structure is desirable but not essential.

Additional information:
Salary on appointment will be within the range £31,250 to £38,100 per annum depending on qualifications and experience. This post is for a contract of 12 months.

For further information and details of how to apply, please visit our web site or contact the Human Resources team on 01603 450462 or quoting reference 1003400.

We are committed to equal opportunities and welcome applications from all sectors of society. The Institute supports equality of opportunity within the workplace and expects all employees to share and display these values. To support our commitment, we have a range of family, faith and diversity friendly working arrangements to help all staff achieve excellence in their area of work.

As a Disability Confident employer, we guarantee to offer an interview to all disabled applicants who meet the essential criteria for this vacancy.

About the Quadram Institute:
The Quadram Institute is a new interdisciplinary research institute at the forefront of a new era in food and health research. It brings together clinical and non-clinical scientists in a new state-of-the-art building due for completion in 2018. It is based on the Norwich Research Park, one of the largest centres of life sciences in Europe, and home of the John Innes Centre, The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, The Earlham Institute and the University of East Anglia. (

The closing date for applications is Thursday 31st May 2018. Please note that we reserve the right to close this vacancy at an earlier date. Interested applicants are strongly encouraged to contact Dr Kroon to discuss the project/post and submit an application well before the deadline to avoid disappointment.

Key Relationships

The post-holder will report to the Line Manager, Paul Kroon and will be expected to discuss progress and plans on a fairly frequent basis.

They will meet and work with the other senior scientists located at QIB who are involved in the project (Arjan Narbad, Alastair Watson).

They will occasionally meet with the research team from Milan (Italy) and Barcelona (Spain) during project meetings and will communicate via email.

They will interact with members of the Kroon, Narbad and Watson groups. They will receive training from experienced scientists where necessary and may be asked to train scientists in methods in which they have expertise.

Main Activities & Responsibilities

Undertaking laboratory-based experimental research on the MaPLE project
Reading relevant scientific literature
Writing progress reports and drafting manuscripts
Attending group meetings and MaPLE consortium meetings
Ensure research and record keeping is carried out in accordance with good practice, Scientific Integrity and in compliance with local policies and any legal requirements
Contribute to the smooth running of the group, including the effective use of resources, supervision of visitors to the laboratory and assisting with training others, encouraging scientific excellence
Continually strive for excellence, seeking out and acting on feedback and relevant learning and development opportunities
As agreed with the line manager, any other duties commensurate with the nature of the post

Education & Qualifications

PhD or equivalent in biology, biochemistry, molecular biology, immunology or similar
Holds a valid UK Home Office Personal Licence for working with experimental animals

Specialist Knowledge & Skills

Reasonable knowledge of gut biology and experience with a range of techniques for assessing gut immunological and barrier functions
Some knowledge of the gut microbiota and their interactions with the host
Skilled in relevant immunological and biochemical techniques including qRT-PCR, ELISAs, westerns blotting, flow cytometry, TEER measurements, LAL assays
Attention to detail
Some knowledge of dietary polyphenols and their potential health benefits

Relevant Experience

Experience of undertaking experimental studies with mice
Experience of undertaking experiments with cultured mammalian cells
Experience of extracting RNA/DNA and checking sample quality

Interpersonal & Communication Skills

Ability to communicate effectively with co-workers and contribute to the team
Ability to communicate effectively with other organisations and to foster collaborations
Demonstrated ability to work independently, using initiative and applying problem solving skills
Excellent time management and organisational skills
Promotes and strives for continuous improvement

Additional Requirements

Promotes equality and values diversity
Willingness to embrace the expected values and behaviours of all staff at the Institute, ensuring it is a great place to work
Able to present a positive image of self and the Institute, promoting both the international reputation and public engagement aims of the Institute
Ability to undertake occasional travel (national and international) related to collaborations and/or seminars