The newly formed group of Dr Matthew Gilmour at the Quadram Institute is seeking applications for a discovery-focused Research Scientist to join us in Norwich, UK where we will research the genome dynamics and persistence of Listeria in the food chain.
The Gilmour group is interested in understanding the microbial traits of Listeria that contribute to its significant risk as a foodborne contaminant and then human pathogen. As an environmental microbe, Listeria may be present directly within raw foods or food ingredients and then survive food safety control efforts. Additionally, Listeria clones may progress to become established within food production or food service environments, also leading to contamination of foods. In any exposure scenario, Listeria’s evasion of control treatments and its persistence can be dictated by an array of adaptive processes such as the acquisition of resistance (i.e. to sanitisers) to the formation of microbial communities (i.e. biofilms).
There is an opportunity to understand and then control the risk of Listeria by studying these niche adaptations that lead to our exposure and illness. To do this, we study the genetic variation and gene dynamics of Listeria isolated from foods and food production environments, with comparison to those clones that have resulted in human illness and outbreaks of disease. We study the traits that are essential for Listeria survival and persistence through mutagenesis and culture-based models. We also study microbial populations and metagenomes to get the full view of hazards that are present on foods.
As a founding member of a new research team at the Quadram Institute, the post-holder will have an exceptional opportunity for both scientific leadership and mentorship. To promote their scientific development, the project will offer extensive opportunity on Quadram’s leading technological platforms for genomics, bioinformatics, and culture-based models. To promote leadership development, the project will also leverage collaborative partnerships from public health, food safety, and industrial sectors.
The core component of the post-holder’s studies will include analyses of the genetic content and diversity of Listeria, including comparison of UK clones against international sequences, to identify specific clones or genetic traits that may promote Listeria as a food hazard. Beyond the genome of individual Listeria, the description of microbial populations present on foods and on food contact surfaces is necessary to identify the composition of the microbiome, including if multiple variants of Listeria can be observed within samples.
The outcomes of genome sequencing and microbiome studies will drive the design collaborative studies within the Programme using large transposon libraries for the clones of interest, that when paired with functional studies, will further identify specific traits that support the adaptive processes of Listeria. These traits will then be brought forward to our partners to determine their significance to inform and potentially mitigate food hazard risks.
The ideal candidate:
Candidates are expected to have a PhD in a relevant subject area (e.g. Microbiology, Molecular Genetics, Bioinformatics, or Biochemistry) and have experience with microbial genome data management and analyses, paired with molecular microbiology laboratory skills. Knowledge and skills with culture-based models, such as bacterial biofilms, are also desirable. Candidates should also have proven track-record in publishing their scientific findings, while having a high emotional intelligence for working within scientific teams.
Salary on appointment will be within the range £32,255 to £39,345 per annum depending on qualifications and experience. This post is available until 31 March 2023.
Further information and details of how to apply can be found here or contact the Human Resources team on 01603 450462 or firstname.lastname@example.org quoting reference 1003913.
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 18 September 2020.
The Quadram Institute Bioscience is a registered charity (No. 1058499) and is an Equal Opportunities Employer.