Research Associate in Bacterial Super-resolution Microscopy

Research Associate in Bacterial Super-resolution Microscopy

Heriot-Watt University

Edinburgh, United Kingdom

Detailed Description:

Applicants are invited for a post-doctoral RA position that will examine the Type VI secretion system (T6SS) found in many Gram-negative bacteria. We recently discovered that the T6SS can also be used as a potent weapon against fungal competitors and identified the first fungal-specific T6SS effector proteins, which cause fungal cell death. This system is likely to be widespread and represent a key determinant of competitive inter-microbial interactions in diverse polymicrobial communities, including those relevant to health and disease. In this project, we have assembled an expert, multi-disciplinary team to investigate the nature, role and molecular basis of T6SS-mediated anti-fungal activity.

The successful applicant will work as part of this multi-disciplinary team to use super-resolution microscopy to study the formation and action of the T6SS in bacterial cells and visualise the fate of T6SS-delivered proteins in intoxicated fungal cells. We will apply a range of state of-the-art-techniques, including STED, sptPALM, dSTORM and TCSPC-FLIM, to this exciting new biological system. This Wellcome Trust funded project started in November 2019 and the position is available for 31 months in the first instance, with the possibility of further extension.

Candidates should have a PhD in a relevant scientific discipline and a proven track record in bacterial or fungal biology or microscopy. Previous expertise in some of the technical aspects of this project, including molecular biology, microbiology, microscopy and image analysis, would be advantageous. Candidates should also have excellent communication and presentation skills and be able to work as part of an interdisciplinary team. The PDRA will primarily be based at Heriot-Watt University but will be required to perform specific work packages (genetic manipulation and phenotypic analysis of microbial strains) at the University of Dundee. In addition, there will be opportunities for the PDRA to visit other partner institutions involved in the project. The successful candidate will be expected to perform all aspects of the project and will have the opportunity to present their work at national and international conferences.

Key duties and responsibilities, the post holder will be required to:

The post holder is required to:

  • Conduct all experiments required to complete the aims of the project. This will encompass molecular biology, microbiology, super-resolution microscopy and quantitative image analysis;
  • Maintain written records of research results and progress towards project aims. Write research reports and contribute to the production of publications;
  • Analyse and interpret the results of own research and generate original ideas based on outcomes and review of the published literature. Use initiative and creativity to identify areas for research, develop new research methods and extend the research portfolio;
  • Build contacts throughout the project team and participate in project meetings for the exchange of information and to form relationships for future collaboration. Work with academic colleagues on areas of shared research interest and contribute to collaborative decision making;
  • Expand external contacts through attendance at both national and international meetings to present findings through oral and poster presentations.

Education, Qualifications & Experience:


  • Bachelors or Masters degree (2.1 or higher) in a relevant discipline;
  • Applicants should hold a PhD in a relevant area of microbiology, biochemistry or a related subject, and at least one first-author publication in an internationally-recognised, peer-reviewed scientific journal;
  • A strong background and proven expertise in either molecular microbiology or fluorescence microscopy;
  • Ability to formulate and progress work on their own initiative;
  • Must be able to work as part of a team on the experiments at Heriot-Watt and more widely with the other project partners at other Universities;
  • A record of high-quality publications, and evidence of contribution to the writing of these publications proportionate to opportunity;
  • Excellent communication and presentation skills, both in technical reports/papers and by oral presentation.


  • Strong theoretical understanding and thorough practical experience in experimental techniques relevant to the project;
  • Previous experience with one or more of the following: molecular biology, protein expression and chemical labelling, bacterial biology, fungal biology, microscopy and super-resolution microscopy;
  • Experience in programming for quantitative image analysis;
  • Proficient in the computational analysis and presentation of data with associated mathematics skills;
  • Evidence of ability to guide other researchers, e.g. PhD students and undergraduate project students;
  • Capability to be self-directed and think innovatively.

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© EuroJobsites 2022

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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