Project Scientist

Applications Close: 26 September 2021

Salary: £25,568 to £31,384 per annum depending on qualifications and experience

Contract Length: 15 months

Applications are invited for a Project Scientist to join the Laboratory of Prof Lindsay Hall in the Gut Microbes and Health Programme at Quadram Institute Bioscience (QIB), based in Norwich, UK.


The Project Scientist will join the Hall Lab to work on a joint BBSRC-funded project with Prof Willem van Schaik’s team at the University of Birmingham. The primary goal of this project is to identify commensal bacteria in the gut microbiome of preterm infants that carry antimicrobial resistance genes (ARGs) and to determine their ability to transfer these ARGs to opportunistic pathogens.

Opportunistic bacterial pathogens are increasingly acquiring resistance to antibiotics. One of the pathways by which bacteria acquire antibiotic resistance is through the horizontal transfer of resistance genes from other bacteria that inhabit the same ecosystem. ARGs that spread via horizontal gene transfer (HGT) are of particular concern as they can rapidly disseminate through bacterial populations.  Recent studies have highlighted that the complex microbial ecosystem of the human gut (‘the gut microbiome’) harbours a large diversity of ARGs. Notably, ARGs are not exclusively found in opportunistic pathogens. Several recent studies have determined that essentially harmless commensal bacteria in the human gut are the most prominent reservoirs of ARGs. These findings suggest that gut commensals may serve as a reservoir of antibiotic resistance genes that can be acquired by opportunistic pathogens by HGT.

Preterm infants represent a particularly susceptible patient group for multidrug resistant bacterial infections, and in this project we will determine the bacterial ‘hosts’ of ARGs in the gut microbiome of preterm infants and quantify the ability of bacteria carrying ARGs to transfer these to opportunistic pathogens.

The role:

This role will allow the post holder work alongside the collaborative team to isolate and characterise potential pathogens in the preterm gut microbiota (using wet and dry lab techniques) and also use co-culture and model colon systems to follow the transfer of ARGs between bacteria.

There will also be scope for experimental studies with the team at the University of Birmingham

The ideal candidate:

The ideal candidate will have a BSc or equivalent in biomedical science and an understanding of biological research methods. Experience of working in a biomedical laboratory/industry-based research is essential. Experience with antimicrobial resistance studies would be advantageous.

Additional information:

Salary on appointment will be within the range £25,568 to £31,384 per annum depending on qualifications and experience. This is a full-time post for a contract of 15 months.

Further information and details of how to apply can be found here or contact the Human Resources team on 01603 450462 or quoting reference 1004107.

We are committed to equal opportunities and welcome applications from all sectors of society.  The Institute supports equality of opportunity within the workplace and expects all employees to share and display these values.  To support our commitment, we have a range of family, faith and diversity friendly working arrangements to help all staff achieve excellence in their area of work.

As a Disability Confident employer, we guarantee to offer an interview to all disabled applicants who meet the essential criteria for this vacancy.

About the Quadram Institute:

The Quadram Institute is a new interdisciplinary research institute dedicated to understanding how food and microbes interact to promote health and prevent disease. Its mission is to deliver healthier lives through innovation in gut health, microbiology and food. A partnership between Quadram Institute Bioscience, the University of East Anglia, the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital and BBSRC, it brings together scientists and clinicians in a state-of-the-art building on the Norwich Research Park. This is one of Europe’s largest centres of life sciences and home of the John Innes Centre and The Earlham Institute.

The closing date for applications will be 26th September 2021

The Quadram Institute Bioscience is a registered charity (No. 1058499) and is an Equal Opportunities Employer.