Research Fellow in Plant Molecular Biology or Cryo-Electron Microscopy

University of Leeds

Leeds, United Kingdom

Job posting number: #7072382 (Ref:FBSBY1126)

Posted: November 20, 2020

Job Description

Are you an ambitious researcher looking for your next challenge? Do you have an established background in either Plant Molecular Biology or Cryo-Electron Microscopy? Do you want to further your career in one of the UKs leading research intensive Universities?

We are looking for a motivated postdoctoral researcher to join a new, BBSRC-funded project that is a collaboration between the groups of Professor Brendan Davies (Plant Science), Dr. Juan Fontana (Structural Biology) and Dr. Julie Aspden (Translation and RNA biology). 

Regulating gene expression to produce the appropriate level of each protein, in response to an ever-changing environment, is a particular challenge for sessile organisms such as plants. This project aims to understand a novel form of regulation, which acts at the translational level. We will look at evolutionarily conserved short upstream open reading frames (CPuORFs) that have the ability to conditionally control the translation of downstream open reading frames, so that the protein product is only made in certain circumstances. We have identified three CPuORFs that respond to environmental signals. This novel form of regulation has the potential to be used in research, synthetic biology and agriculture. In this project we will use biochemical, genetic, transgenic and structural biology approaches to study the interaction between the CPuORF-encoded nascent peptide and the ribosome, with the aim of understanding the mechanism through which translation is conditionally promoted or inhibited. In the longer term, by understanding how this form of regulation works, we could design switches capable of responding to specific applied chemicals/conditions in the field. 

Due to the interdisciplinary nature of the project, it would be an ideal opportunity for a postdoctoral scientist with a strong background in molecular biology (especially plant molecular biology and/or regulation of translation) to gain expertise in the use of cryo-EM to study structural biology. Alternatively, a postdoctoral scientist with a strong background in cryo-EM/structural biology could use this project to enhance their skills in molecular biology. You would join a strong and experienced team, so would be well supported as you develop new skills.

To explore the post further or for any queries you may have, please contact: 

Brendan Davies, Professor of Plant Development

Tel: +44 (0)113 343 3123, Email:

Location:  Leeds - Main Campus
Faculty/Service:  Faculty of Biological Sciences
School/Institute:  School of Biology
Category:  Research
Grade:  Grade 7
Salary:  £33,797 to £40,322 p.a.
Post Type:  Full Time
Contract Type:  Fixed Term (3 years)
Release Date:  Thursday 19 November 2020
Closing Date:  Thursday 03 December 2020
Reference:  FBSBY1126

The University community is made up of a wide range of people with diverse backgrounds and circumstances, which we value and regard as a great asset. As part of our continued commitment to equality and inclusion, we strive to create an environment where everyone can reach their full potential and have a real opportunity to participate in and contribute to our activities.

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