Postdoctoral Research Associate/Fellow - Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences

7 days left

Exeter, Devon (GB)
30 Jul 2019
End of advertisement period
28 Aug 2019
Contract Type
Full Time

T66901 Postdoctoral Research Associate/Fellow   

College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences

Living Systems Institute 

This full-time post is available immediately on a fixed term basis for up to 24 months to support the work of Professor Frank Vollmer

You will apply a novel optical single-molecule technique that has been developed in Prof Vollmer’s Laboratory to study molecular biophysics. The label-free single molecule technique will allow you to visualise the dynamics of enzymes, measure their energy landscapes, and apply pico to femto-Newton forces to control chemical reactions. These fundamental single-molecule studies will lead into the development of various applications for ultra-sensitive biomedical diagnostics. 

This work is part of the UKRI Molecular Mechanics Initiative at the University of Exeter. The UKRI funded Molecular Mechanics Initiative is a cutting-edge research programme that aims to achieve breakthroughs in how we detect, analyse, and manipulate molecules at the ultimate single-molecule level. The programme will develop a novel laser sensing and molecular mechanics analysis and manipulation capabilities. These capabilities will be at the forefront of developments showing that the technique holds the key to the next generation of enabling analytical and healthcare technologies on sensor chips. Our approach will unravel nature’s design principles for nanomachines, and will allow us to realise synthetic biomolecular machinery and designer enzymes in the longer term.  Measurements of energy landscapes combined with visualisation of enzyme movements will allow us to develop more accurate models for molecular machines. 

What we are looking for…
You are a biophysicist with extensive experience in molecular biophysics and the application of a single-molecule technique such as FRET or optical tweezers. You have worked with biomolecules such as proteins. You are able to analyse single-molecule data quantitatively and apply biophysical models and theories. Experience with building single-molecule setups or optical instrumentation is desirable. 

You are excited about working as part of a multi-disciplinary team composed of physicists, engineers, and biologists. You will work at the newly established Living Systems Institute, University of Exeter which provides state-of-the-art research facilities for realising one of the first optical approaches to study the energetics and dynamics of biomolecular machines:  


  1. Subramanian S, Wu H-Y, Constant T, Xavier J, Vollmer F. (2018) Label-Free Optical Single-Molecule Micro- and Nanosensors, Adv Mater, DOI:10.1002/adma.201801246.

Requirements for the role
Extensive experience with molecular biophysics and the application of a single molecule technique such as FRET or optical tweezers or nanopores. Familiarity with building a single molecule instrument is desirable. 

Duties are to undertake research and fulfil other main duties and accountabilities associated with the position.  You will be able to present information on research progress and outcomes, communicate complex information, orally, in writing and electronically and prepare proposals and applications to external bodies. 

Applicants will:

  • Possess a PhD (or be nearing completion) in Biophysics, Physics, Chemistry, Physical Chemistry, Engineering or a related discipline
  • Be able to demonstrate sufficient knowledge in the discipline and of research methods and techniques to work within established research programmes
  • Be able to work collaboratively, supervise the work of others and act as team leader as required
  • AQT PDRF, be a nationally recognised authority in molecular biochemistry or single-molecule studies and will be able to develop research programmes and methodologies

Appointed will be at Postdoctoral Research Associate/Fellow (Grade E or F) depending on the skills and experience the individual can bring to the role. You should demonstrate your achievement against the relevant criteria in the accompanying Job Description and Person Specification, which will be used to make an appointment at an appropriate level.  

Please indicate which level of appointment you are considering, within your application. 

The University of Exeter  
We are a member of the prestigious Russell Group of research-intensive universities and in the top 150 universities in the world (Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2019). We combine world-class teaching with world-class research, achieving a Gold rating in the Teaching Excellence Framework Award 2017.  

With over 22,000 students and 5,500 staff from 180 different countries we offer a diverse and engaging environment in which to work. We are an equal opportunity employer, a Disability Confident employer and an Athena Swan accredited institution. Whilst all applicants will be judged on merit alone, we particularly welcome applications from groups currently underrepresented in the workforce.   

We offer some fantastic benefits including: 

Further information
Please contact Professor Frank Vollmer, or (01392) 724771.  

Interviews are expected to take place in the following two weeks. 

Salary is from £29,515 - £34,189 on Grade E (PDRA) or £35,211 - £39,609 on Grade F (PDRF), depending on level of appointment, based on qualifications and experience. 

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