Research Fellow - Metabolism and Systems Research - 96966 - Grade 7

University of Birmingham

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Position type:

Full time


£30,942.00 - £42,792.00

19 Feb 2021
21 Mar 2021

Full details:

Reference number: BIR-2100008S

Position Details

Institute of Metabolism and Systems Research

Location: University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham UK

Full time starting salary is normally in the range £30,942 to £40,322, with potential progression once in post to £42,792 a year.

Grade 7

Full Time / Fixed Term Contract to 26 April 2024

Closing date 21 March 2021



We are looking for a talented and highly motivated scientist to join the lab of Dr Vicki Smith ( in the Institute of Metabolism and Systems Research (IMSR) at the University of Birmingham. Our research investigates how aberrant regulation of cellular signalling and trafficking leads to endocrine tumour development, progression and treatment resistance.

We have an exciting opening for an enthusiastic scientist to join our group and lead on a 3-year research project funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC). Recent studies have shown that the proto-oncogene pituitary tumor-transforming gene (PTTG)-binding factor (PBF/PTTG1IP) is an as-yet uncharacterised node in the network that regulates cell motility through co-ordinating cellular signalling cascades, cell adhesion and cytoskeletal organisation. PBF is a ubiquitously expressed transmembrane glycoprotein that drives cellular migration and invasion and is regulated through phosphorylation at PBF-Y174, one of the most commonly phosphorylated residues in the entire human phosphoproteome. The aim of this project is to define how PBF controls cell motility, revealing new insights into the molecular regulation of this vital biological process and the multiple cellular and disease mechanisms that are dependent upon it.

This research will involve the use of cell culture, molecular biology, proteomics and advanced imaging approaches to define the functional effect of Y174 phosphorylation on PBF, its role in Rho GTPase signalling and the precise effects of PBF-pY174 on cell adhesion, actin organisation and cell motility. The successful applicant will be based in the Smith research group in the IMSR working alongside a research technician and PhD student. They will also work closely with our key collaborator Prof Anne Ridley (University of Bristol) as well as our internal project collaborators at the University of Birmingham (Prof David Hodson, Dr Andrew Turnell, Dr Chris Weston, Dr Paloma Garcia).

Summary of Role

  • Lead a specific research project investigating cellular signalling and motility
  • Show appropriate independence, interact with collaborators and work as part of a team to drive the research project and produce highly innovative, world-leading research
  • Analyse and interpret research findings and contribute to their dissemination and publication
  • Contribute towards the day-to-day running and overall success of the Smith research group


Main Duties/Responsibilities

The responsibilities may include some but not all of the responsibilities outlined below.

  • Lead a specific research project investigating cellular signalling and motility, developing research objectives and experimental plans in consultation with Dr Smith
  • Analyse and interpret data
  • Apply knowledge in a way which develops new intellectual understanding
  • Disseminate research findings for publication, research seminars etc
  • Contribute to developing bids for research funding
  • Supervise students on research related work and provide guidance to PhD students where appropriate to the discipline
  • Contribute to developing new models, techniques and methods
  • Undertake management/administration arising from research
  • Contribute to College/Institute research-related activities and research-related administration
  • Contribute to enterprise, business development and/or public engagement activities of manifest benefit to the College and the University, often under supervision of a project leader
  • Collect research data; this may be through a variety of research methods, such as scientific experimentation, literature reviews, and research interviews
  • Present research outputs, including drafting academic publications or parts thereof, for example at seminars and conferences as oral communications and posters
  • Provide guidance, as required, to support staff and any students who may be assisting with the research
  • Deal with problems that may affect the achievement of research objectives and deadlines, maintaining regular communication with Dr Smith
  • Maintain contact with (including membership of) appropriate professional bodies
  • Liaise with the relevant external research community via seminars and conferences
  • Participate in internal networks for the exchange of information and to form relationships for future collaboration
  • Promote equality and values diversity acting as a role model and fostering an inclusive working culture.


Person Specification

  • PhD level degree (or near to completion) in biochemistry or molecular biology
  • Knowledge and experience of studying signal transduction pathways and/or cell motility highly desirable
  • Skills in common molecular biology techniques essential including, but not limited to, cell culture, cloning, RNA and protein extraction, qPCR and Western blotting
  • Experience in advanced imaging techniques desirable
  • Strong ability to design and perform high quality experiments and to analyse and interpret data correctly
  • Highly motivated and able to think creatively about research with skills in problem solving
  • Publications in high quality peer-reviewed journals desirable
  • Excellent communication skills (including written and presentational), able to convey complex information clearly
  • Effective organisational skills and the ability to prioritise work and meet deadlines
  • Willingness to work flexibly, when necessary, to fulfil the needs of the research project
  • Excellent interpersonal skills, able to work both individually and as part of a research team
  • High level analytical capability
  • Fluency in relevant techniques or methods and ability to develop new ones
  • Ability to assess resource requirements and use resources effectively
  • Understanding of and ability to contribute to broader management/administration processes
  • Ability to contribute to the planning and organising of the research programme and/or specific research project
  • Interpersonal skills to co-ordinate own work with others to avoid conflict or duplication of effort
  • Knowledge of the protected characteristics of the Equality Act 2010, and how to actively ensure in day to day activity in own area that those with protected characteristics are treated equally and fairly.


Informal enquiries can be made to Dr Vicki Smith

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