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PDRA, Molecular Structure Elucidation

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The Rosalind Franklin Institute (the Franklin) is a new national Research Centre, funded by the UK government through UK Research and Innovation, dedicated to bringing about transformative changes in life science through interdisciplinary research and technology. The Biological Mass Spectrometry theme focuses on the development of new instrumentation for mass spectrometric imaging (MSI) allowing the visualisation of molecular distributions at subcellular level and the de-novo structure elucidation of chemical species detected by MSI techniques. The ultimate goal of the Theme is to understand the working mechanism of molecular interaction networks in health and disease and define novel diagnostic and prognostic targets for next generation healthcare.

The project will focus on the molecular structure elucidation component of the scheme. The envisioned instrument will allow accurate mass measurement of ionic species with

The post is linked to a number of member institutions including Imperial College, University of Birmingham and University of Oxford. The project will initially be hosted by the National Phenome Centre at Imperial College and will move to the new Rosalind Franklin Institute facilities at Harwell. The post reports to the Franklin’s Theme Leads for Biological Mass Spectrometry (Profs Josephine Bunch and Zoltan Takats), and will also work with MS leads of the Franklin Member Institutions.

This is essentially a post-doctoral research associate role, however we may be able to consider senior post-doctoral research associates, depending on their skills and experience. The duration of the post is 18 months' fixed-term contract.



You will:

• Embrace the primary project of the role, namely developing MS imaging-based workflow for the identification of detected species, including the detailed MS characterisation of species not featured by major structural databases/spectral libraries.

• Collaborate with experimental scientists of the Franklin and of the National Phenome Centre at Imperial College and jointly develop workflows for independent structure ID by NMR spectroscopy

• Collaborate with national and international metabolomics experts regarding the development of structural databases facilitating swift structure elucidation of molecular species detected by MSI mehods

• Work with quantum chemistry experts at the Franklin on the modelling of MS/MS and IMS data

• Work with MS experts and structural biologists from the Member Institutions and broader UK user community to understand the broader context of the application

• Develop the scientific scope of the project, formulate relevant research questions, conduct individual research, analysing detailed and complex qualitative and/or quantitative data from a variety of sources, and generate original ideas by building on existing concepts

• Publish research articles in leading academic journals.

• Present findings at national and international meetings/conferences.

• Take a formal or informal role (as required) in the supervision of research students, including recruitment, mentorship and career development.

• Raise research funds through grant applications, and manage own area of a larger research budget

• Participate in and support the public engagement and widening access activities of the Franklin

• Any other duties that come up in the normal running of the facility and that can be reasonably requested of the post-holder.

Selection criteria


• A post-graduate qualification, or equivalent experience, in Chemistry, Physics, Engineering, Biomolecular Science, or related subjects.

• Experience in molecular structure elucidation by NMR, MS or diffraction methods

• Experience in building and using structure databases and spectral libraries

• A demonstrated aptitude for programming, software engineering and user interface design

• Experience with developing routinely usable methods

• Experience with devising research questions and to develop strategies to address them

• Ability to work both independently and as part of a team

• Strong organisational and communication skills.

• Ability to travel regularly for working at the industrial partner’s facilities

• Experience with project management and demonstrated ability to deliver agreed milestones in a timely manner, adapt to changing priorities

• Ability to discuss and coordinate experiments with a variety of colleagues from different disciplines


• Expert knowledge of chromatographic methods and preparation of biological samples

• Experience in metabolomics or lipidomics

• Experience in molecular imaging technologies

• Experience of molecular dynamics simulation of macromolecular ions

• Knowledge of computational chemistry and cheminformatics

• Experience with general analytical and structure elucidation techniques such as chromatography, NMR or electrophoresis etc.

Closing date: 23rd January 2020, 9:00am

Area: Scientific

Location: Harwell/ Imperial College London

Type of Post: Full Time

Salary: Competitive


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