Postdoctoral Research Scientist position vacant @ Institute of Food Research, UK

Postdoctoral Research Scientist position vacant @ Institute of Food Research, UK

In early 2018, a brand new £81.6m state-of-the-art facilities will open dedicated to food & health, collaborative, interdisciplinary research called the Quadram Institute ( This will a be a world leading centre into food and health research and is a collaborative venture between the IFR, the University of East Anglia and the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

The Hall lab’s research focus involves defining the complex interactions of the host with the intestinal microbiota and pathogens at mucosal surfaces. More specifically the group is focused on how members of the early life microbiota, including the genus Bifidobacterium, interact with the host including:

• colonisation processes (including bacterial components and dietary influences)
• resistance to pathogens (direct and in-direct mechanisms – including immune modulation)
• antibiotic-induced disturbances leading to a breakdown in pathogen protection and induction of inflammation
• bifidobacterial communities and their components for restoration of a disturbed microbiota back into one able to promote health.

The Hall lab utilises 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).

Applications are invited for a Postdoctoral Research Scientist to join the Laboratory of Dr Lindsay Hall (Wellcome Trust New Investigator) in Gut Health and Food Safety Programme at the Institute of Food Research.

The project takes place on the Norwich Research Park (including UEA, IFR, JIC and TGAC) which is the leading centre in UK in the study of the interactions of the gut microbiota and the host.

Job Title: Postdoctoral Research Scientist

Starting Salary: £30,500 – £37,500

Hours per week: 37

Project Title: ISP core funded position

Ideal Start Date: 1 May 2016

Months Duration: 36

Specific project background:

During pregnancy, the maternal environment including the maternal microbiota may have a significant impact on foetal development as well as early and later life health outcomes. However it is currently unclear how microbiota members and/or their products are transmitted to the foetus from the gut to facilitate this very early life development.

The goal of this position is to define the mechanisms of gut-foetal transmission.

Hypothesis will be tested that specific microbiota members (including Bifidobacterium) can translocate to the developing foetus via specific microbial factors and interact with specific immune cells to facilitate this gut-in utero transfer.  In vivo models will be utilized (including germ-free studies) and real time, longitudinal imaging (Bruker Xtreme) and confocal microscopy to track bacteria and determine what bacterial molecules are critical for the process (including GM bacteria lacking molecules potentially important for the transmission). A similar approach will be used to tract host cells (e.g. NK cells) to explore this transmission process, confirming importance of these cells with transgenic animals. Host and immune profiling will be via the flow cytometry and RNASeq. For comprehensive characterisation and profiling of the microbiota we will employ a variety of NGS methods (DNA and RNA, including 16s, shotgun sequencing and RNASeq for microbiome profiles at different stages of pregnancy (mother and foetus) and also transcriptional responses (microbe and host).

Applicants should have a strong background in host response (which may include reproductive biology and/or immunology)and potentially microbiology experience, and have a keen interest in learning about microbiota-host interactions at the first stages of life.

Educational Requirements:

  • A PhD degree in a relevant biological subject (e.g. biological science, reproductive biology, immunology, microbiology-host response)
  • Good publication record in peer-reviewed journals relevant to career stage
  • Presentation skills is desirable


  • Experience in in vivo models (e.g. reproduction, immune or microbe models) and host response analysis (e.g. flow, imaging) is essential
  • Experience in NGS (e.g. knowledge, sample preparation, basic analysis), report writing and microbiology ( e.g. culturing, genetic manipulation) is desirable

Interpersonal and Communication Skills:

  • Ability to work under time pressure and to tight deadlines
  • Outstanding personal initiative
  • Ability to work as part of an active research team
  • Good organisational skills
  • A desire to learn, to innovate and to move out of their comfort zone
  • Ability to train and supervise group members
  • Demonstrable communication skills in English Language
  • Ability to communicate with collaborators across a broad range of fields

Additional Requirements:

  • Willingness to undertake any necessary training for the role
  • Promotes equality and values diversity

Application Procedure:

To apply for this job, download, save and complete a copy of the application form using Microsoft Word. In order to download, click below

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To apply online, prepare a copy of your CV that contains all the information requested in the application form, submit your application document (single file in word or acrobat format) together with your Personal details, Referees and Equal Opportunities Monitoring data and click below

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Application Deadline: 17 April 2016

Prapti Shah Gandhi
Peace-lover, creative, smart and intelligent. Prapti is a foodie, music buff and a travelholic. After leaving a top-notch full time corporate job, she now works as an Online Editor for Biotecnika. Keen on making a mark in the scientific publishing industry, she strives to find a work-life balance. Follow her for more updates!