Experimental Scientist - Postdoctoral Research Associate

RFI - Rosalind Franklin Institute

Experimental Scientist - Postdoctoral Research Associate

RFI - Rosalind Franklin Institute

Harwell and Oxford, United Kingdom

The Rosalind Franklin Institute is a new National Research Centre, funded by the UK government through UK Research and Innovation, dedicated to promoting transformative changes in life science through interdisciplinary research and technology development. We are currently looking for a Postdoctoral Research Associate to join our Next Generation Chemistry theme’s proteomics team. One of the major goals of all themes is to improve their technologies by a factor of ten. In the case of this project, we want design new gas phase ion chemistries that will allow the development of superior approaches for the characterisation of proteins. Specifically, we want to study ion-ion and ion-photon reactions to inform protein chemistry approaches. The key aspect of this project will be to develop and characterise a versatile new ion trap design. The instrument will be based around a Thermo Exploris 480 that will be modified to contain an additional unique design of ion trap (the omnitrap) that possesses multiple light-, inert gas- and electron- injection approaches for ion reactions and fragmentation. We envisage the discovery of new reactions and fragmentation methodology by exploiting this state-of-the-art bespoke gas-phase ion trap system which will ultimately allow a new phase of protein characterisation as well as chemical proteomics and discovery of new reactions for synthetic biology. We also want to create new approaches to characterise protein post-translational modifications on a proteome-wide scale. The successful candidate will design, develop, characterise, and maintain this bespoke mass spectrometer. You will also use this system with other members of the group in demonstration of proteomic applications.

The project is a collaboration with other themes at the Franklin and with industrial (Thermo and Fasmatech) and academic collaborators, with whom you will work extensively, while liaising with academic experts in the UK and beyond. The post, which is for 3 years in the first instance, reports to the Franklin’s Head of Mechanistic Proteomics, and will work alongside other researchers in the Franklin. Please email informal enquiries to Shabaz.Mohammed@chem.ox.ac.uk.

Role overview and responsibilities

We are currently looking for an experienced Experimental Scientist - Postdoctoral Research Associate with excellent skills in the following areas:

  • Experience with instrumentation for the manipulation of ions;
  • Experience in working with vacuum systems;
  • Knowledge of ion optics;
  • Practical experience with handling and maintaining lasers;
  • The ability to carry out analytical approaches for the characterisation of reactions to a high degree of precision;
  • Able to analyse quantitative data with a degree of statistical rigour using common freely available software packages.

The main specific responsibilities of this role will include:

  • Design, construct, and maintain a bespoke orbitrap based mass spectrometer including its lasers;
  • Experimentally characterise and computationally model several ion fragmentation regimes including collision-, electron- and photon- based approaches. Design new multi-stage fragmentation modes;
  • Characterise a range of pertinent biomolecules (e.g peptides and sugars) with these approaches;
  • Analyse data with a degree of statistical rigour using common freely available software packages;
  • Act as a source of information and advice to other members of the group on scientific protocols and experimental techniques;
  • Assist with general laboratory maintenance including the troubleshooting and upkeep of nanoLCs, centrifugal evaporators, liquid handlers, and various MS equipment.

You will also

  • Collaborate with appropriate academic and industrial partners;
  • Work with other themes and researchers to develop the burgeoning Franklin environment to be as suitable as possible for such work;
  • Work together with the surrounding facilities to ensure efficient methods at the Franklin and Harwell environment;
  • Publish research articles in leading academic journals;
  • Present findings at national and international meetings/conferences;
  • Take a formal or informal role (as required) in the supervision of research students, including recruitment, mentorship and career development;
  • Raise research funds through grant applications, and manage own area of a larger research budget;
  • Participate in and support the public engagement and widening access activities of the Franklin;
  • Any other duties that come up in the normal running of the facility and that can be reasonably requested of the post-holder.

Selection criteria


  • A PhD (or close to completion) or equivalent in physics, engineering, chemistry or a cognate field;
  • Practical experience with instruments relating to the manipulation of gas phase ions;
  • Practical experience with lasers;
  • Experience in the design of instrumentation;
  • Experience in practical and computational ion optics;
  • Ability to co-ordinate multiple aspects of work to meet deadlines;
  • Ability to work as part of a team as well as independently;
  • Ability to solve problems using innovative and flexible thinking;
  • Excellent organisational and communication skills;
  • Experience with developing routinely usable methods;
  • Experience with devising research questions and to develop strategies to address them;
  • Ability to travel occasionally for training or dissemination of your work;
  • Experience with project management and demonstrated ability to deliver agreed milestones in a timely manner, adapt to changing priorities;
  • Ability to discuss and coordinate experiments with a variety of colleagues from different disciplines.


  • Practical experience with peptide fragmentation approaches;
  • Practical experience with proteomics sample preparation;
  • Proficiency in handling large datasets including bioinformatics and biostatistics;
  • Knowledge of complementary structural and biophysical methods;
  • Knowledge of biological chemistry.

In return we offer

  • 25 days holidays;
  • Generous pension scheme (employer’s contribution currently up to 18%);
  • Training and development opportunities for staff at all levels;
  • Bus pass discount scheme;
  • Access to employee discount platform;
  • Subsidised canteen;
  • Free on-site parking;
  • Campus location in beautiful countryside with social and sports clubs open to staff.

Closing date: Application accepted until sufficient amount had been received.

Applicants should refer to our Candidate Privacy Policy.

Area: Scientific
Type of Post: Full Time
Period of appointment: 3 years’ fixed term contract in the first instance with a possibility to be extended
Salary: £33,000 - £39,000 per annum
Ref No: 10116

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EuroJobsites is a registered company number: 4694396 VAT number: GB 880 9055 04

Registered address: EuroJobsites Ltd, Unit 8, Kingsmill Business Park, Kingston Upon Thames, London, KT1 3GZ, United Kingdom

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