Assistant Professor (Research Focussed) (106892-0423)

University of Warwick

Vacancy Type/Job category
Life Sciences
£44,414 – £52,841 per annum
University of Warwick, Coventry
Vacancy Overview
Full-time, Fixed term contract up to 30 months
Funding is available to appoint an Assistant Professor (Research Focussed) for up to 30 months. The duration may have to be reduced to 26 months depending on starting salary. The successful candidate cannot be appointed without approval from the Leverhulme Trust.
Insects sense carbon dioxide via specific gustatory receptors, which are ion channels within the cell membrane that open in response to carbon dioxide. You will join a small team on a Leverhulme Trust-funded project to investigate the structural biology and biophysics of these CO2-sensitive gustatory receptors. Your role will be to investigate the electrophysiological properties of these channels and use mutagenesis to test hypotheses of channel function arising from parallel cryoEM studies and Alphafold2 predictions and identify the key residues that are involved in carbon dioxide detection and ion permeation.
You will have a PhD in a relevant area of experimental sciences; a career-appropriate track record of publishing high quality papers; a strong intellectual interest in understanding ion channel gating; and a compelling desire to develop your scientific skills and experience to the highest levels. You will be familiar with quantitative analysis of ion channel function, ideally by patch clamp methods. If not experienced in patch clamp methods, you will need to demonstrate the ability and willingness to learn them. While training will be given in all aspects of the job, experience with cell culture and molecular biology methods will be an advantage.
We believe that collegiality, openness, inclusivity and diversity are essential for an excellent environment; this ethic has enabled us to gain an Athena SWAN Silver award. We are dedicated to building a diverse and inclusive workplace, so if you are excited by this role, we encourage you to apply, even if your past experience does not match exactly. We also encourage applications from all groups with protected characteristics traditionally under-represented in STEM fields.
In your application, you can also include any career breaks you may have taken (e.g. parental/caring/long-term sick leave, part-time work, secondments) or any periods where you were unable or restricted to work because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
For those eligible, the University of Warwick offers relocation and Immigration Support Scheme packages to assist with costs of relocating and any associated visa applications and HIS (health) surcharge fees.
Any requests for further information can be directed to Professor Nicholas Dale at [email protected].
Interview Date: TBC.
Job Description
Undertake research on the properties of insect CO2-sensitive ion channels to assist the Project Leader and project collaborators in the successful execution of the project. To support the work of the department and develop and enhance its reputation, both internally and externally.
• To undertake experimental work under the instruction and supervision of the Principal Investigator and Co-Investigators.
• To contribute to the design of experiments in relation to the project.
• To correctly execute the experiments, ensuring that experiments are appropriately powered, recorded, analysed and documented both electronically and by maintaining a lab book that will serve as a permanent record of the methodologies used and the experiments performed.
• To collect and analyse data and present results to others.
• To prepare and present findings of research activities to colleagues and learned societies.
• To contribute to the writing, submission and revision of papers to be published in appropriate peer-reviewed journals, or progress reports for funding bodies, collaborating with others as necessary. Disseminate research findings using other appropriate media.
• To contribute to the preparation of results for presentation by the Principal Investigator and Co Investigator.
• To identify sources of funding and contribute to the preparation and drafting of research proposals.
• Present information on research progress and outcomes to bodies supervising research, e.g., steering groups.
• To contribute to the induction and direction of other research staff and students if so requested by the Principal Investigator and Co Investigator.
• To work flexibly when required. As duties and responsibilities change, the job description will be reviewed and be subject to amendment in consultation with the post holder.
• To contribute to the overall activities of the research team and the Department (including teaching) as appropriate.
• To carry out other duties, as are within the scope, spirit and purpose of the job, as requested by the Principal Investigator or Head of Department.
• To continually update own knowledge and understanding in field or specialism.
• Could be expected to contribute to the teaching and learning programmes in the department.
• Assist in the supervision of student projects and the development of student research skills.
• May be involved in the assessment of student knowledge and supervision of projects.
• May be required to attend departmental meetings and to participate (where necessary) in other committees and working groups within the department, the faculty and the University.
• Ensure compliance with health and safety in all aspects of work.
• Work within budget constraints.
The duties and responsibilities outlined are not intended to be an exhaustive list but provide guidance on the main aspects of the job. You will be required to be flexible in your duties.

Person Specification

The Person Specification focuses on the knowledge, skills, experience and qualifications required to undertake the role effectively. This is measured by (a) Application Form, (b) Test/Exercise, (c) Interview, (d) Presentation.

Essential Criteria 1
Good honours degree and possession of a PhD or equivalent in a relevant area of experimental sciences. (a)
Essential Criteria 2
Evidence of research in, and a developed interest in, an area related to the project. (a,c,d)
Essential Criteria 3
Ability to generate ideas for experiments and carry them through to completion to achieve the highest standards in research. (a,c,d)
Essential Criteria 4
Ability to conduct research with transparency and accountability such that the results obtained can be reproduced easily by others. (a,c,d)
Essential Criteria 5
Ability to discuss experiments and to communicate ongoing work effectively with colleagues. Strong written and verbal communication skills. (a,c,d)
Essential Criteria 6
Ability to work independently and as part of a team on research programmes. (a,c)
Essential Criteria 7
A career-appropriate track record of publishing high quality papers. (a)
Essential Criteria 8
Understanding of electrophysiology and ability to make patch clamp recordings, or experience in quantitative, live cell fluorescence imaging and willingness to learn patch clamp recording. (a,c,d)
Essential Criteria 9
Evidence of engagement in continuous professional development. (a,c)
Desirable Criteria 1
Culture of cell lines. (a,c)
Desirable Criteria 2
Experience with molecular techniques required to mutate ion channels. (a,c)
Desirable Criteria 3
Familiarity with or interest in structural biology, previous use of Alphafold2. (a,c)
Desirable Criteria 4
Proven evidence of contribution to research grant applications/ability to generate external funding. (a,c)
Further Particulars
For further information about the University of Warwick, please read our University Further Particulars .
School of Life Sciences
For further information about the department, please visit the departmental website .
Direct sensing of carbon dioxide is vital for important behaviours (e.g. finding/assessing food) across a wide range of insects (flies, mosquitos, moths, beetles). These behaviours exert an economic and health cost on human society: e.g. transmission of vector borne diseases; loss and spoiling of stored wheat. Understanding the molecular mechanisms of carbon dioxide detection in insects is thus not only intrinsically valuable, but also has a wider societal significance in health and economics.
The protein family that detects carbon dioxide is a small group of insect gustatory receptors (GRs). These receptors form ion channels and interact with carbon dioxide directly. Inspired by our prior work on connexins, ion channels directly sensitive to carbon dioxide that are important in the mammalian brain, we have created new tools to allow systematic study of the carbon dioxide sensitive GRs. We have developed methods to express them in mammalian cell lines to directly record their ionic currents when they are exposed to changes in carbon dioxide concentration. We have modified the protein so that it also reports a change in fluorescence that is proportional to carbon dioxide. Our aim is to use these tools to investigate whether carbon dioxide interacts with these ion channels in the same way that we have seen for connexins and consequently can be considered a more generalised mechanism of ion channel regulation.
You will join a team directed by Profs Nicholas Dale and Alex Cameron. The team will address three key objectives and you will contribute to addressing the first two of these objectives:
1. To identify the key amino acids in the gustatory receptor (GR) channel that are essential for the opening and closing of the channel and how they determine which ions can pass through the channel.
2. To test whether there is a universal mechanism for modulation of ion channels by carbon dioxide. We first identified “carbamylation”, direct binding of carbon dioxide to lysine residues, as the mechanism by which carbon dioxide gates important mammalian ion channels known as connexins. We shall test whether this same mechanism pertains to the insect GRs.
3. To obtain high resolution structures allowing us to understand the interaction of carbon dioxide with the channel and how it leads to structural change and opening of the ion channel.
Warwick is committed to building an organisation of mutual respect and dignity, promoting a welcoming, diverse and inclusive working and learning environment. We recognise that everyone is different in a variety of visible and non-visible ways, and that those differences are to be recognised, respected, and valued. Where possible, we go beyond legislation to provide a place where everyone can thrive, supporting all staff to achieve their full potential. We aspire to remove economic, social and cultural barriers that may otherwise prevent people from succeeding.
We therefore welcome and encourage applications from all communities regardless of culture, background, age, disability, sex/gender, gender identity or expression, ethnicity, religion/belief, or sexual or romantic orientation. To find out more about our social inclusion work at Warwick visit our webpages here .
The University of Warwick holds an Athena SWAN Silver award; a national initiative to promote gender equality for all staff and students. Further information about the work of the University in relation to Athena SWAN can be found at the following link: Athena Swan (
The University of Warwick is one of the six founder institutions of the EUTOPIA European University alliance , whose aim is to become by 2025 an open, multicultural, confederated operation of connected campuses.
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Rewards and Benefits
Please refer to this link for a full list of our employee benefits here at Warwick here .

Recruitment of Ex-Offenders Policy

As an organisation using the (DBS) Disclosure and Barring Service to assess applicants’ suitability for positions of trust, the University of Warwick complies with the DBS Code of Practice and undertakes not to discriminate unfairly against any subject of a Disclosure on the basis of a conviction or other information revealed. More information is available on the University’s Vacancy pages and applicants may request a copy of the DBS Code of Practice.

Closing Date
17 May 2023

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