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Postdoctoral Research Associate in Mass Spectrometric Protein Structure Analysis

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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.

We seek to recruit a post-doctoral research associate in the area of protein mass spectrometry. The project aims to facilitate rapid and adoption of the new tandem-TIMS-TOF-FT-ICR instrument, currently in development, for the imaging of intact proteins, and research will focus on benchmarking of current capabilities, and generation of training and validation data, on existing instruments, and assessment of TIMS for protein structure analysis. Experiments will primarily be performed in the laboratory of Prof Helen Cooper at the University of Birmingham, with visits to other project partners at the Universities of Edinburgh and Oxford, as well as our industry partner’s laboratories in Germany.

The project is a collaboration between Franklin Member Institutions including the University of Birmingham, University of Edinburgh, University of Oxford, and Imperial College London. The post holder will be hosted at the University of Birmingham. 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.


You will:

• Embrace the primary project of the role, namely developing MSI approaches for the conformation-selective detection of proteins in biological tissues.

• Collaborate with national and international experts in native protein MS to develop workflows enabling the detection of macromolecular conformational isomers in biological tissues.

• Collaborate with structural biologists on the interpretation of data and finding meaningful model systems for testing the novel workflows

• Work with bioinformatics experts within the Franklin and Member Institutions to extract macromolecular signals from MSI datasets

• 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 protein isolation and analysis

• Experience in protein mass spectrometry, with particular emphasis on native protein analysis

• A demonstrated aptitude for MS data pre-processing and data analysis

• Experience with developing and validating analytical 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 ion mobility spectrometry, HDX and top-down protein sequencing

• Experience in structural biology, cryo-EM, X-ray diffraction

• Experience in molecular imaging technologies

• Experience of molecular dynamics simulation of macromolecular ions

• Knowledge of protein NMR spectroscopy, in particular NOESY experiments

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

In return we offer:

• 25 days holidays

• Generous pension scheme (employer’s contribution currently up to 18%)

• Training and development opportunities for staff at all levels

• Bus pass discount scheme

• Access to employee discount platform

• Subsidised canteen

• Free on-site parking

• Campus location in beautiful countryside with social and sports clubs open to staff

Closing date: 13th November 2020, 9:00am

Applicants should refer to our Candidate Privacy Policy


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