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Job Title PDRA, I23
Job Reference 008/17/CH
Post Type Full time / 3 year Fixed Term Contract
Division Life Sciences
Salary information £32,480 to £38,211 (Discretionary range to £43,943)
Application deadline 05/03/2017

Job Description

Diamond Light Source is the UK’s national synchrotron science facility. Located on the Harwell Science & Innovation Campus in Oxfordshire a 20 minute drive south of Oxford in a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Diamond Light Source conducts world-class research in virtually all fields of science and offers rewarding career opportunities covering both technical and scientific disciplines.

The long-wavelength macromolecular crystallography beamline I23 is a unique facility for solving the crystallographic phase problem, using the small anomalous signals from sulphur or phosphorous which are present in native protein or RNA/DNA crystals. This will be of increased importance for projects where protein labelling to introduce anomalous scatterers is not feasible. In addition, the beamline's wavelength range will provide access to the M-edges of elements, with huge anomalous signals offering new opportunities for phasing large molecular complexes. Over the past months a number of difficult projects could be solved and currently the beamline is in an optimization phase.

We are seeking a highly motivated PDRA to carry out their own innovative research using long-wavelength macromolecular crystallography. In addition, the successful candidate will play an active role in the commissioning of the beamline and then to assist users with their experiments once the beamline is operational.

As the beamline will be tunable over a wavelength range not accessible at any other MX beamline at the moment (down to λ = 5 Å), this position will allow you to get involved in setting up novel experiments to push the boundaries of MX at synchrotrons. Important studies will be the investigation of the optimal wavelength as function of crystal size, radiation damage at wavelengths > 2 Å, testing of the analytical absorption software based on X-ray tomography and evaluation of different data collection and processing / merging strategies and their application to MAD experiments at the uranium Mv edge. Candidates are encouraged to indicate their personal research interests in the application.  

The Rutherford Appleton site with its world leading facilities, including Diamond, ISIS and CLF offers a highly multidisciplinary environment. Together with the suite of five existing MX beamlines, the electron Bio-Imaging Centre (eBIC) and the Membrane Protein Laboratory (MPL) embedded in Diamond, the adjacent Research Complex at Harwell houses a range of life and physical science activities, including both CCP4 and state of the art structural biology laboratories providing exceptional opportunities for synergies and collaborations. If you enjoy working as part of a highly motivated team, this position will offer you a great opportunity to contribute to this unique project and to work at a world-class facility.

For further information please contact: armin.wagner@diamond.ac.uk

Duties / Responsibilites

The I23 beamline is a novel instrument for long-wavelength high-resolution diffraction experiments in vacuum. The PDRA will be in the unique position to perform novel studies nobody else is currently able to perform. These studies will systematically explore the new wavelength range accessible on I23 to optimise the beamline for future user experiments. It is expected that the work will yield some high impact publications. 

Work in the team in the following areas:

  • Carrying out research activities independently or in collaboration with others as appropriate;
  • Performing experiments, analysing data and publication of results;
  • Keeping up with latest results and research directions internationally;
  • Support of users in performing experiments on the beamline, including data analysis and training;
  • Assisting beamline staff with beamline commissioning;
  • Beamline upgrade, development and testing of new equipment and software;
  • Maintenance of the beamline components and equipment during operations.

Qualification & Experience - Essential

  • Appropriate First Degree;
  • PhD degree;
  • Ability and initiative to get to the heart of the problem and take it effectively through to completion;
  • Good interpersonal, communication and presentational skills;
  • Good organisational and planning skills;
  • Ability to interact effectively with staff at all levels;
  • Ability to work as part of a multi-disciplinary team;
  • Ability to work flexibly including weekend and out-of hours working as required;
  • Self motivation;
  • Must be available to travel occasionally within the UK and abroad, including overnight absences;
  • Good understanding of macromolecular crystallography;
  • Track record of successful SAD and / or MAD structure solutions;
  • Knowledge of MX data reduction, structure solution and refinement software;
  • Experience working with Unix based computer systems.

Qualification & Experience - Desirable

  • Experience with beamline operation;
  • Knowledge of beamline instrumentation;
  • Knowledge of a scripting computer language (preferably python).

Further Information

Applying for employment

For further details on applying for employment at Diamond, please visit our 'Application Form' page.

Appointments will be made depending on the skills and experience of the candidate. Electronic Diamond application forms in MS-Word are preferred. These should be emailed to recruitment@diamond.ac.uk

Other information