Research Scientist

Institute of Food Research

Applications are invited for the post of Postdoctoral Research Scientist in the Claesen group in the Gut Health Department at the Institute of Food Research in Norwich, UK.

The Claesen group aims to functionally characterise molecular mechanisms that control bacterial community structure and dynamics in the human gut microbiome. Bacteria use small molecule chemicals to mediate intra- and interspecies interactions. All genetic information required for the production of these molecules is typically encoded in one physical location of the bacterial chromosome, in biosynthetic gene clusters (BGCs). We identified several widespread families of BGCs that are predicted to contribute to colonisation and inter-species competition. Our hypothesis is that commensal bacteria from the gut microbiome use the products of these BGCs in interactions that modulate community composition.

Your role will be to investigate this by first determining the interaction potential and phenotypic responses of gut community members. Next, you will functionally characterise the bioactive small molecules and the BGCs that encode them. This will then allow you to develop strategies for targeted pathogen inhibition as well as commensal community modulation. This research will lay down a solid base for mechanistic studies of important disorders, characterised by microbial community imbalance, including obesity, diabetes, and inflammatory bowel diseases.

The areas of expertise in the Claesen group include microbiology, genetics, small molecule biosynthesis and biochemistry. We provide a stimulating, multidisciplinary training environment that will assist you in your successful scientific development. You will be part of an international team of skilled researchers and you will get a chance to present your research at relevant scientific meetings. We are located at the Institute of Food Research at the Norwich Research Park, a campus that harbours all necessary research equipment and core facilities, including proteomics, metabolomics and (conventional as well as germ-free) animal housing.

Candidates are expected to have a PhD degree in a relevant biological or chemical subject, with hands-on experience with bacterial molecular genetics and a good publication record in peer-reviewed scientific journals.

For more informal enquiries, please contact Dr. Jan Claesen at

In 2018, research teams from IFR, the University of East Anglia’s Faculty of Science and Norwich Medical School and the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals’ gastrointestinal endoscopy facility will integrate into the Quadram Institute, a new interdisciplinary research institute at the forefront of a new era in food and health research at the heart of the Norwich Research Park. (

This post is for a contract of 36 months.

For further information and details of how to apply, please visit our web site or contact Human Resources, Norwich BioScience Institutes Partnership, Norwich Bioscience Institutes, Norwich, NR4 7UA, UK, 01603 450462 quoting reference 1003127. As a Disability Confident employer, we guarantee to interview all disabled applicants who meet the minimum essential criteria for this vacancy.

The closing date for applications will be 22nd November 2016, with interviews schedule to take place on the 6th December 2016.

The Institute of Food Research is a registered charity (No 1058499) and is an Equal Opportunities Employer.

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