Postdoctoral Research Associate, Beamline I04-1

This vacancy is now closed
Job Title Postdoctoral Research Associate, Beamline I04-1
Job Reference DIA0886/CH
Post Type Full time, three year fixed term
Division Science
Salary information circa £33K
Application deadline 01/01/2014

Job Description

Diamond Light Source is the UK’s national synchrotron and a leading scientific facility of its type in the world. Located on the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus in South Oxfordshire, we host research facilities supporting cutting edge research in all fields of science.

I04-1 is one of Diamond’s 5 operational beamlines for macromolecular crystallography, and as a fixed wavelength side-station, is dedicated to high-throughput crystallography.  Since late 2012, its scientific program is focussed on driving chemical biology directly through X ray crystallography.  This is a joint research partnership with the Protein Crystallography group of the Structural Genomics Consortium (Oxford University), via the I04-1 Principal Beamline Scientist who also is Principal Investigator of the SGC group.

Specifically, I04-1 is establishing medium throughput fragment screening by soaking and X ray diffraction as routine part of the Diamond MX user program; fragment libraries and infrastructure for compound dispensing and verification are already in place.  However, the experimental protocols still require extensive investigation, since there is still no published consensus on how best to proceed, not least since large scale systematic studies have not to date been feasible.  The new I04-1 infrastructure now changes this situation.

This post’s scientific project will be to investigate systematically how best to perform fragment soaking experiments, to maximize hit rate with minimal effort.  Using the beamline’s upgraded high-throughput set-up that allows unattended serial data collection, and testing against a broad panel of crystals from inhouse-, SGC- and collaborator projects, you will perform fragment campaigns or coordinate them with collaborators, and assemble the outcomes into a publishable study that establishes broadly applicable best practice for such experiments.  You will also be co-authoring the specific collaborator studies that exploit these fragment campaigns.

You will work on the I04-1 chemical biology project in the following areas:

  • Run a research project addressing best practice in fragment soaking campaigns, involving a diverse set of collaborators.
  • Test, commission and develop the crystal soaking and harvesting infrastructure, by developing hardware protocols, writing scripts, interacting with the Diamond software groups and external vendors, and coordinating maintenance of the peripheral laboratory.
  • Contribute to the group's scientific output by regularly publishing papers and presenting work at scientific meetings.
  • Coordinate the maintenance of the beamline peripheral laboratory.
  • Contribute to training of users, collaborators and students through day-to-day supervision.
  • Support users of the beamline as Local Contact


Qualification & Experience - Essential

  • Appropriate PhD degree or equivalent qualification or experience;
  • Ability to perform a research project independently and bring it to a scientific conclusion;
  • Fully versant in macromolecular crystallography;
  • Experience with crystal handling and soaking;
  • Experience of programming (preferably Python, and Java);
  • Ability to design and perform rigorous scientific experiments and draw convincing conclusions;
  • Ability to write scientific papers;
  • Ability to present at scientific meetings;
  • Ability to manage scientific collaborations;
  • Ability to work as part of a multi-disciplinary team;
  • Good interpersonal, communication and presentational skills;
  • Good organisational and planning skills;
  • Ability to interact effectively with staff at all levels.


Qualification & Experience - Desirable

  • Experience with fragment screening (any);
  • Experience of synchrotrons / X-ray beamlines;
  • Experience with Windows/Linux/Unix;
  • Experience with database programming;
  • Ability to manage interactions with vendors.


Further Information

Must be available to travel occasionally within the UK and abroad, including overnight absences.
For an informal discussion about this vacancy, please email and your enquiry will be directed accordingly.


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

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