Postdoctoral Research Associate/Fellow

University of Exeter

  • South West England
  • ¬£Attractive
  • Academic - postdoc
  • Closing date 28 Aug 2019

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Job ref: T66900

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.

Laser traps for single molecules

Laser light can be used to perform multiple roles, including manipulating and moving objects within a laser trap, so-called optical tweezers. You will develop an entirely novel and much more sensitive extension of the optical tweezer technology to study and manipulate single molecules with light. You will develop optoplasmonic micro/nanosensors for sensing and manipulation of single molecules. You will build optical instrumentation to apply femto- and pico-Newton forces using laser interferometry in optical cavities combined with single-molecule trapping on plasmonic nanoparticles. The optoplasmonic approach is well established in the Vollmer lab. The next step is to develop the platform further, as a laser trap for single molecules.

This research programme will develop a new, and much more sensitive, alternative optical tweezer technology as 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.

Prof Vollmer’s laboratory is pioneering optical sensors to visualise and detect processes at the micro- and nanoscale.

Project details: What we are looking for…
You are a physicist or engineer experienced with building optical instrumentation. The ideal candidate has experience with developing optical sensing and manipulation capabilities. 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 single molecules.

Label-free optical detection of single enzyme-reactant reactions and associated conformational changes
Science Advances 3 (3), e1603044

Advances in optoplasmonic sensors
Nanophotonics 7 (1), 1-38

Requirements for the role
You are highly motivated to develop laser traps for single-molecules. Experience with building optical instrumentation is required. Familiarity with optical tweezers, single molecule experiments, nanophotonics or plasmonics 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 nearing completion) in Optics, Physics, 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
  • (At PDRF) Be a nationally recognised authority in optics, engineering or single-molecule studies, and will be able to develop research programmes and methodologies

The successful candidate will be appointed as 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, F.Vollmer@exeter.ac.uk or (01392) 724771.

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

Salary: 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.

To apply, please click on the red button above.

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