We are seeking to recruit a highly motivated and enthusiastic organic chemist to join an exciting multidisciplinary team at the MRC/UoE Centre for Inflammation Research. The aim of the project is to generate novel fluorescent probes as phloem-mobile xenobiotics in collaboration with the group of Prof. Karl Oparka at the School of Biological Sciences in Edinburgh and the multinational company Syngenta. The successful applicant will have a chemistry background and relevant experience in organic synthesis and characterisation.

Postdoctoral Research Assistant
Vacancy Ref: : 033447 Closing Date : 10-Jul-2015
Contact Person : Sharon Hannah Contact Number : 242 9195
Contact Email : S.Hannah@ed.ac.uk

Experience with carbohydrate chemistry, fluorescence spectroscopy and/or optical imaging is desirable. Candidates must have demonstrated communication skills, a desire to lead, teach and build teamwork in the laboratory, and be able to work independently. Informal enquiries should be directed to mvendrel@staffmail.ed.ac.uk.Job Purpose

Developing new fluorescent phloem-mobile xenobiotics.

Main Responsibilities

1. Take a lead role in the laboratory carrying out research aimed at synthesising, characterising and evaluating new fluorescent molecules and sensors. Planning and delivering research in a timely manner. Liaise with biologists for the evaluation and optimisation of the probes and establishing structure-activity relationships. (Approx % of time 70)

2. Attend individual PI group meetings, team meetings and ensure required actions are coordinated and completed. Assist/add value to PI in delivering reports where necessary, complete grant applications and identify opportunities for adding value to the scientific programme. (Approx % of time 10)

3. Report regularly on progress, both written and oral, to the PI and team. (Approx % of time 5)

4. Maintain accurate and up-to-date records to document the research project and its progress (Approx % of time 5)

5. Continually update knowledge and understanding in the field or specialism, and update skill base within the defined research area. (Approx % of time 5)

6. Provide guidance and supervision for student projects and/or instruction of students in the use of equipment/demonstration of techniques and to attend and participate in research seminars and group meetings. (Approx % of time 5)

You may be asked to perform other duties occasionally which are not included above, but which will be consistent with the role.

Planning and Organising
As required for the completion of Main Responsibilities.

Problem Solving

Critical thinking and problem solving as relevant to completion of Main Responsibilities, specifically focussing on problem solving with respect to:
(a) Synthesis of fluorescent probes.
(b) Applying fluorescent probes using optical imaging as phloem-mobile xenobiotics.
(c) Development of research ideas and agendas.

Decision Making

Independent decision making as part of day-to-day laboratory operations and decision making in conjunction with PI with regards to major developments, publication of results and research direction.

Key Contacts/Relationships

Principal Investigator: Dr. Marc Vendrell

Knowledge, Skills and Experience Needed for the Job


PhD degree in Organic Chemistry.
Computer skills (database searching, synthetic design, presentation packages)


Must have a proven ability to make and characterise new compounds. Must have experience in writing and publishing scientific literature. Must meet the essential criteria listed above.

Knowledge, Skills and Competencies

• Excellent practical skills, particularly in synthesis and purification of organic molecules. Experience in carbohydrate chemistry, peptides and fluorescent scaffolds is highly desirable.
• Experience in characterisation techniques (including multinuclear NMR, mass spectrometry, HPLC and UV-Vis spectroscopy)
• Hands-on experience of equipment maintenance, including vacuum pumps
• Experience of working in multidisciplinary teams with biologists.
• Excellent written skills, with experience in preparing manuscripts for publication in peer-reviewed journals.
• Good communication and interpersonal skills.
• Desire to learn new skills.
• Self-motivated, able to work independently and collaboratively and meet deliverables.
• Ability to work as a member of a team.
• Able to plan and initiate activities and projects and develop self and others
• Proven commitment and ability to keep abreast of contemporary developments in both chemistry and biology
• Computer literate

Personal Attributes

Proven commitment to carrying out research to the highest standards of excellence
Enthusiastic and ambitious – able to carry out successful research in areas that are scientifically, technically and intellectually challenging. Energy and stamina to work in a flexible and pro-active manner and meet deliverables.
Excellent communication skills – prepared to represent the collaborative team and mentor junior colleagues.


The role is grade UE07 and attracts an annual salary of £31,342 to £37,394 for 35 hours each week. Salary is paid monthly by direct transfer to your Bank or Building Society account, normally on the 28th of the month. Salaries for part-time staff are calculated on the full-time scales, pro-rata to the Standard Working Week.

This post is available on a fixed term basis, with a working pattern of 35 hours per week for 36 months.

Pension Scheme

This role is grade UE07 and therefore the post holder is automatically included in membership of the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS), subject to the USS membership criteria, unless they indicate that they choose not to join the Scheme.

For further information please visit our pensions website http://www.ed.ac.uk/schools-departments/finance/pensions/scheme-details/uss

Eligibility to Work

In accordance with the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006 the University of Edinburgh, as an employer, has a legal responsibility to prevent illegal working and therefore must check that all employees are entitled to work in the United Kingdom (UK).

To do so, the University of Edinburgh requires to see original documents evidencing right to work in the UK before commencement of employment and this is normally carried out at interview. Details will be provided in any letter of invitation to interview.

For further information on eligibility to work please visit our eligibility to work website

If you are not currently eligible to work in the UK, it may be possible for the University of Edinburgh to sponsor you to obtain a Tier 2 (General) visa to enable you to take up the appointment should you be successful at interview.

For applicants interested in sponsorship information is available on our Working in the UK website

However, if you have previously been sponsored by an employer within the UK but your leave has expired or lapsed and you are no longer in the UK, according to Home Office Visa Immigration rules you cannot apply for sponsorship under any category of Tier 2 for a period of 12 months after the date your visa expired and/or you left the UK.

If you are an academic in the field of sciences; humanities; engineering; medicine; digital technology; or the arts and come from outside the EEA, it may be possible for you to apply for a Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa.

The Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa route offers a greater flexibility in your employment compared to other UK immigration routes, meaning you can, for example, move organisation, location and/or job role. By contrast with, a Tier 2 visa where you are ‘tied to a UK sponsor’. Tier 1 provides greater flexibility in undertaking additional engagements, such as collaborations and is intended as a route to settlement. Allowed absences from the UK are up to 180 days per year without losing the eligibility to qualify for settlement, with no restriction on the reason for absence (unlike Tier 2, where any absences from the UK must be for a purpose consistent with the person’s employment or economic activity, including paid annual leave, or for serious or compelling personal reasons).

You would initially need to apply to be endorsed as an internationally recognised leader or emerging leader in your particular field by a designated competent body (Arts Council England, British Academy, Royal Academy of Engineering, Royal Society, Tech City UK).

Tier1 (Exceptional and Exceptional Promise) Endorsement Criteria

Once successfully endorsed, you are able to apply for a Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa. More information on this entry route is available at UKVI Website.

Application Procedure

All applicants should apply online by clicking the “apply” button at the foot of this page. The application process is quick and easy to follow, and you will receive email confirmation of safe receipt of your application. The online system allows you to submit a CV and other attachments.

Closing date: 10 July 2015 at 5pm.

Interview date

You will be notified by email whether you have been shortlisted for interview or not.

Further details