University of Dundee

Cryo-EM Facility Manager

Unit: 
Centre for Gene Regulation and Expression
Job Reference: 
SLSC1000
Closing Date: 
Wednesday, January 19, 2022
Salary: 
£42,149 - £50,296

We are recruiting for an exceptional individual to join us as a Scientific Support Officer in Cryo-Electron Microscopy.

This is a new post within our Cryo-Electron Microscopy facility. The appointee will maintain and run the facility on a day to day basis, including managing bookings, training users, assisting with sample preparation and ensuring the safe operation of the microscope.

The Cryo-TEM is used in a multidisciplinary research environment, providing for users from Biology, Chemistry and Physics working in a variety of projects, including solving protein structures by single particle analysis; protein and polymer self-assembly; characterising cellular and tissue samples at high resolution.

The facility, which is open to both internal and external users and is also a feeder facility for access to the high-end Scottish cryo-TEM facility based in Glasgow and the eBIC facility at Harwell. The facility is currently investing >£1.5M in procurement of a new cryo capable microscope equipped with autoloader and state of the art direct electron detector. The microscope will have capability for single particle analysis, (cryo)-electron tomography and selected area diffraction (MicroED). The microscope will be run using propietary software as well as SerialEM. The successful candidate will have an excellent opportunity to be involved in the facility upgrade and management of equipment procurement, installation and commissioning.

This is a senior post in cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM). It requires a high level of technical expertise across the disciplines associated with the cryo-EM pipeline (such as physics, protein biochemistry, cell biology, high performance computing). The post holder will work with academic and professional services staff to ensure the efficient delivery, financial management and maintenance of cryo-EM services, to meet the needs of both internal and external users. A key aspect of the role will be to train users to apply all aspects of cryo-EM to their research projects as required. It will be important that the post holder keeps up-to-date with future innovations in cryo-EM and that the highest health and safety standards are maintained at all times.

The postholder will ensure the smooth day-to-day running of the cryo-EM facility including keeping the microscope aligned, troubleshooting and working with manufacturer service and maintenance engineers. They will also train others to use the facility and assist with sample preparation and sample screening so enabling users to operate independently. They will oversee the procurement, installation, commissioning and testing of relevant equipment and upgrades so expanding the capabilities of the facility. They will liaise with both academic and non-academic potential users to discuss their needs and advise on how the cryo-EM facilities might best be used. Academic users may be from both Dundee and other institutions. Non-academic users will help ensure optimal use of the facility.

The postholder will liaise with and provide support to conventional EM services in the Dundee Imaging Facility when required. They will also interface and cooperate with the SCMI in Glasgow as part of a Scotland-wide cryo-EM consortium to facilitate access to this 300 keV EM facility and with the eBIC facility in Harwell. They will support and be supported by a Cryo-EM Management Committee.

The postholder will assist with writing scientific papers and grant applications. They will present at meetings, workshops, conferences, etc to promote the facility and increase awareness of cryo-EM.

Other duties include:

Planning & Organising:
  • Determine priorities and allocate resources to meet planned objectives and requirements.
  • Develop policies and procedures for technical support service activities in order to ensure the teaching and research of the faculty are met, both now and in the future.

Finance/Resource Management:

  • Work with the senior colleagues (such as the Head of Division, Dean, School Manager or Finance Business Partner) responsible for budgeting and controlling the staffing establishment levels.
  • Advise on the future requirements within the facility regarding general/specific equipment, apparatus, furniture and fittings, space etc.
  • Liaise with senior colleagues on the legal, Health and Safety standards required and put in place policies and procedures throughout the laboratories/workshops/work areas/research section to comply with such regulations.
  • Ensure a safe working environment is maintained.
  • Ensure the department/work area operates effectively within any budget constraints, including grant management, and maintaining accurate financial records.
  • Manage the stock control/purchasing system, ensuring that University financial procedures are adhered to, liaising and negotiating with internal and external suppliers etc.

Customer Service & Training:

  • Monitor performance and take appropriate corrective action to ensure performance standards are consistently met.
  • Train staff, students and external partners on all aspects of technical support service provision.
  • Contribute to the management of the faculty as a whole through membership of the appropriate committee structure.
  • Communicate and liaise with the whole of the University body, as well as regular contact with external bodies.

Continuous Improvement:

  • Keep abreast of technical developments relevant to own area of responsibility and provide ad hoc technical advice and support. 
Summary of Skills, Experience and Qualifications

Qualifications:

  • A degree or equivalent in Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Material Sciences or related fields
  • A PhD (or soon to be awarded a PhD) in any of these areas would be desirable. 

Technical Specialism:

  • Candidates should have hands-on experience of cryo-EM and conventional EM, including a detailed understanding of routinely used sample preparation techniques for both.
  • Experience in maintenance of microscopes including beam alignments for optimal operation.
  • Experience in automated data collection including the expertise required to advise users on optimal collection parameters.
  • Competence with command line computing and High performance computer systems. Experience in the application of these systems for single particle analysis and or tomography.
  • Ideally candidates would have experience in the generation of new methodologies.

Knowledge & Experience

  • Typically a minimum of 4 years’ experience of relevant technical/scientific work, demonstrating development through involvement in progressively more demanding work/roles.

Additionally:-

  • Requirement to anticipate, understand, conceptualise and interpret the requirements of staff and students at the highest technical level.
  • Experienced technical professional with substantial technical expertise in own scientific or technical specialism.
  • Developed understanding, through both qualifications and experience of the scientific/technical theory.
  • Well developed understanding of Health & Safety and other relevant regulations and procedures.
  • Well developed analytical and problem solving capability.
  • High level planning and organising skills.
  • Excellent technical problem solving skills (technical specialists may be one of few able to provide solutions in a specialised field operating at a high level of competency).
  • Ability to communicate clearly on technical issues to non-specialist and senior level audiences.
  • Ability to manage and control budgets.
  • Ability to negotiate prices for services to be delivered.

Skills & Attributes

  • Ability to perform and complete work to agreed specification, time, cost and quality standards.
  • Ability to develop the state-of-the-art.
  • Compliance with Health & Safety regulations.
  • Accuracy and attention to detail.
  • Receptiveness to new ideas and approaches.
  • Organising ability and delivery to deadlines.
  • Focus on priority issues.
  • Ability to resolve complex technical problems.
  • Acceptance of advice and recommendations.
  • Effective transfer of skills and knowledge to colleagues, other staff and students.
  • Ability to develop new ideas and approaches.
College / School / Directorate Information

The School of Life Sciences at the University of Dundee is a world-class academic institution with a reputation for the excellence of its research, its high quality teaching and student experience, and the strong impact of its activities outside academia. With 900 staff from over 40 countries worldwide the School provides a dynamic, multi-national, collegiate and diverse environment with state-of-the-art laboratory, technology and teaching facilities.

Conveniently located on the banks of River Tay, our main city-centre campus is at the heart of Dundee - an up-and-coming, friendly, compact and affordable city with a rich heritage in design and technology. Just a short walk from the V&A Museum of Design Dundee, we’re close to both the train and bus stations. We also have campuses at Ninewells Hospital and in Kirkcaldy which are easily accessible via local transport links.

For further information and informal enquiries please contact Tom Owen-Hughes (t.a.owenhughes@dundee.ac.uk). To find out more about our Cryo-EM Facility please visit https://www.lifesci.dundee.ac.uk/dundee-cryo-electron-microscopy-facility

The diversity of our staff and students helps to make the University of Dundee a UK university of choice for undergraduate, postgraduate and distance learning. Family friendly policies, staff networks for BME, Disabled and LGBT staff, membership of Athena SWAN, the ECU Race Equality Charter and Stonewall as well a full range of disability services, create an enjoyable and inclusive place to work.

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