Postdoctoral Research Assistant: ULTRACHIRAL

University of Oxford - Department of Earth Sciences

Grade 7: £31,604 - £38,833 with a discretionary range to £42,418 p.a.

A Horizon 2020-funded postdoctoral position is now available to work on the mechanisms of adsorption and chemical reactivity of amino acids and other biomolecules on mineral surfaces and how some of these may lead to chiral selectivity. In addition to its pure scientific importance, the understanding and design of such chiral selectivity is of considerable interest to the pharmaceutical industry.

The work will be carried out in the Departments of Earth Sciences and Chemistry (Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, PTCL) at the University of Oxford. This post is part of a larger Horizon 2020 programme – ULTRACHIRAL – designed to develop and apply new highly sensitive optical cavity based polarimetric methods to the investigation of optically active materials (see for example, D. Sofikitis et al. Nature p.514 vol 76 2014). The goal of the Oxford work is to develop two dedicated ultrasensitive cavity-based polarimeters, one in the near-infrared and one in the mid-infrared that will be used to understand how the first biomolecules may have developed chiral preference by the interaction with mineral surfaces. The project will involve experimental work in the Department of Earth Sciences alongside the construction and calibration of the “ultra-chiral” spectrometers in the PTCL, together with simulation work. The PDRA will have the opportunity to teach. This may include lecturing, small-group teaching, and tutoring of undergraduates and graduate students. There is also scope for the PDRA to supervise Masters Projects, in collaboration with the PIs.

This is a fixed-term contract for up to 36 months.

The successful applicant will need to: develop, construct and calibrate two new ultrachiral spectrometers and to carry out experiments on the adsorption of amino acids and other chiral biomolecules on mineral surfaces; analyse materials using spectroscopy, HPLC, diffraction and other techniques. To adapt existing and develop new scientific techniques and experimental protocols; write and present research papers and publications; have a PhD (or submitted PhD) in physical chemistry, optical/laser/molecular physics, earth sciences or a related area is essential for the post.

Only applications received before 12.00 midday on 6 November 2017 will be considered.

Applications from women and minorities are particularly encouraged.  All candidates will be evaluated for employment without regard to gender, race, religion, age, sexual orientation, or disability. The department holds a Bronze Athena SWAN award.

Please note that the University of Oxford's retirement policy has changed. With effect from 1 October 2017, all employees at Grade 8 and above have a retirement age of the 30 September before the 69th birthday. All employees at Grades 1-7 do not have a set retirement age. Further details are available here:

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