Project Scientist
Post Details
Job Title
Project Scientist
Post Number
1004107
Closing Date
26 Sep 2021
Grade
SC7
Starting Salary
£25,568 - £31,384
Hours per week
37
Project Title
Reservoirs of mobile antibiotic resistance genes in the gut microbiome of preterm infants
Expected/Ideal Start Date
01 Oct 2021
Months Duration
15

Job Description

Main Purpose of the Job

This post will provide an exciting opportunity for a motivated individual to join a dynamic, multi-disciplinary research team investigating the preterm gut microbiota and antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

The goal of the position is to support a joint project between the Hall lab and Prof Willem van Schaik's team at the University of Birmingham to identify and characterise important antibiotic resistance bacteria in the preterm gut and to understand the processes involved in horizontal gene transfer of these AMR elements.

Key Relationships

Liaise with Hall group members and van Schaik team members to deliver and coordinate project outputs

Main Activities & Responsibilities

Percentage
Microbiological studies (isolation of AMR bacteria, culturing, creation of stocks and antibiotic susceptibility tests)
30
Co-culture studies, including model colon experiments
25
Liaise and work with Hall and van Schaik lab members with respect to project deliverables
10
Train students and visitors to the lab
10
DNA extraction for WGS (with potential genomics/bioinformatics analysis) and PCR assays for AMR studies
10
Identification of suitable clinical samples for downstream experiments (sample organisation, database management, etc)
10
As agreed with line manager, any other duties commensurate with the nature of the post
5

Person Profile

Education & Qualifications

Requirement
Importance
BSc or equivalent in biomedical science
Essential

Specialist Knowledge & Skills

Requirement
Importance
An understanding of biological research methods
Essential

Relevant Experience

Requirement
Importance
Experience of working in biomedical laboratory/industry based research
Essential
Microbiology experience (isolations, culturing, phenotypic analysis, molecular work)
Essential
Experience with antimicrobial resistance studies
Desirable
Experience with co-culture studies (including model colon experimental set-ups)
Desirable
Bioinformatics experience (AMR and/or genomic studies)
Desirable

Interpersonal & Communication Skills

Requirement
Importance
Ability to work under time pressure and to tight deadlines
Essential
A desire to learn, to innovate and to move out of their comfort zone
Essential
Good organisational and time management skills
Essential
Good interpersonal skills, with the ability to work as part of an active research team
Essential
Demonstrated ability to work independently, using initiative and applying problem solving skills
Essential
Excellent communication skills, both written and oral, including the ability to present complex information with clarity
Essential
Promotes and strives for continuous improvement
Essential
Ability to communicate with collaborators across a broad range of fields
Desirable

Additional Requirements

Requirement
Importance
Attention to detail
Essential
Willingness to undertake any necessary training for the role
Essential
Willingness to work outside standard working hours when required
Essential
Able to present a positive image of self and the Institute, promoting both the international reputation and public engagement aims of the Institute
Essential
Willingness to embrace the expected values and behaviours of all staff at the Institute, ensuring it is a great place to work
Essential
Promotes equality and values diversity
Essential
Ability to maintain confidentiality and security of information where appropriate
Essential

Who We Are

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.

The Quadram Institute is a diverse and multicultural scientific community. We thrive on our international and European links, appointing staff from across the world. Any candidate who would like further information on current or anticipated immigration requirements can contact the HR Team on +44 (0)1603 450888 or nbi.recruitment@nbi.ac.uk.

For more information about working at Quadram Institute Bioscience, please click here.

Department

Gut Microbes and Health

Group Details

The Hall Lab’s research focus involves defining the complex interactions of the intestinal microbiota, particularly during the early life developmental window. The group is focused on how microbial communities and specific microbiota members (e.g. Bifidobacterium) interact with other microbes and the host including: (i) the impact of diet, (ii) how these microbes modulate critical infection (i.e. colonisation) resistance, and (iii) beneficially impact host responses, including immune regulation. Another key goal is to identify bifidobacterial communities and their components that can restore a disturbed early life microbiota back into one able to promote health. We utilise multi-disciplinary approaches to answer these key questions including; microbiology (in vitro model-colon chemostat systems for complex culturing, molecular microbiology), metabolomics (NMR, MS), next generation sequencing (RNASeq, 16S rRNA, WGS, both host and microbe), bioinformatics tools, in vivo models (germ-free and infection models) and human studies (preterm/term infants and adults).

Living in Norfolk

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Project Scientist

Applications are invited for a Project Scientist to join the Laboratory of Prof Lindsay Hall in the Gut Microbes and Health Programme at Quadram Institute Bioscience (QIB), based in Norwich, UK.

Background:

The Project Scientist will join the Hall Lab to work on a joint BBSRC-funded project with Prof Willem van Schaik's team at the University of Birmingham. The primary goal of this project is to identify commensal bacteria in the gut microbiome of preterm infants that carry antimicrobial resistance genes (ARGs) and to determine their ability to transfer these ARGs to opportunistic pathogens.

Opportunistic bacterial pathogens are increasingly acquiring resistance to antibiotics. One of the pathways by which bacteria acquire antibiotic resistance is through the horizontal transfer of resistance genes from other bacteria that inhabit the same ecosystem. ARGs that spread via horizontal gene transfer (HGT) are of particular concern as they can rapidly disseminate through bacterial populations.  Recent studies have highlighted that the complex microbial ecosystem of the human gut ('the gut microbiome') harbours a large diversity of ARGs. Notably, ARGs are not exclusively found in opportunistic pathogens. Several recent studies have determined that essentially harmless commensal bacteria in the human gut are the most prominent reservoirs of ARGs. These findings suggest that gut commensals may serve as a reservoir of antibiotic resistance genes that can be acquired by opportunistic pathogens by HGT. 

Preterm infants represent a particularly susceptible patient group for multidrug resistant bacterial infections, and in this project we will determine the bacterial 'hosts' of ARGs in the gut microbiome of preterm infants and quantify the ability of bacteria carrying ARGs to transfer these to opportunistic pathogens.

The role:

This role will allow the post holder work alongside the collaborative team to isolate and characterise potential pathogens in the preterm gut microbiota (using wet and dry lab techniques) and also use co-culture and model colon systems to follow the transfer of ARGs between bacteria.  

There will also be scope for experimental studies with the team at the University of Birmingham

The ideal candidate:

The ideal candidate will have a BSc or equivalent in biomedical science and an understanding of biological research methods. Experience of working in a biomedical laboratory/industry-based research is essential. Experience with antimicrobial resistance studies would be advantageous.

Additional information:

Salary on appointment will be within the range £25,568 to £31,384 per annum depending on qualifications and experience. This is a full-time post for a contract of 15 months.

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 dedicated to understanding how food and microbes interact to promote health and prevent disease. Its mission is to deliver healthier lives through innovation in gut health, microbiology and food. A partnership between Quadram Institute Bioscience, the University of East Anglia, the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital and BBSRC, it brings together scientists and clinicians in a state-of-the-art building on the Norwich Research Park. This is one of Europe’s largest centres of life sciences and home of the John Innes Centre and The Earlham Institute. (https://quadram.ac.uk/).

The closing date for applications will be 26th September 2021

The Quadram Institute Bioscience is a registered charity (No. 1058499) and is an Equal Opportunities Employer.