Research Support Assistant - PNAC - Maria Daly - LMB 1483

Updated: 3 months ago
Location: Cambridge, ENGLAND
Deadline: 28 Feb 2021

View Vacancy -- Research Support Assistant - PNAC - Maria Daly - LMB 1483
Open Date
12/02/2020, 09:30
Close Date
28/02/2021, 23:55

MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology

The MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology (LMB) is one of the birthplaces of modern molecular biology and has played an important role in the development of many new techniques, most notably protein crystallography, cryo-electron microscopy, DNA sequencing and monoclonal antibodies.  The LMB has a clear goal of understanding biological processes at the molecular level, with the ultimate aim of using this knowledge to tackle specific problems in human health and disease.  We aim to tackle difficult, long-term problems, which often require investment over many years.
There are four scientific Divisions - Structural Studies, Protein and Nucleic Acid Chemistry, Cell Biology and Neurobiology.  However, scientific collaboration between the different Divisions is extensive.  Scientists are well supported by excellent scientific facilities and by the LMB Operations Group which maintains the core infrastructure and services of the institute.
The LMB provides an unsurpassed environment for both new and established researchers.  Scientists are drawn to the LMB from all over the world, thus creating a lively and international community for the exchange of ideas and technical innovation.
UK Research and Innovation is a new entity that brings together nine partners to create an independent organisation with a strong voice for research and innovation, more information can be found at

MRC - 5


£25,198 - £26,901 per annum

Fixed Term


Full Time

Fixed Term to 05 July 2023

Overall purpose:
To provide a sorting service to LMB scientists who use the Flow Cytometry facility at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology (LMB). You will join an established team of expert flow cytometrists with particular strengths in cell biology. You will contribute to all aspects of facility operation and development. This will include scheduling, instrument maintenance, quality control, data acquisition and analysis. You will be responsible for the day-to-day operation of one or more Flow Cytometers.
The Flow Cytometry Facility at the LMB is a well-equipped and busy core service. The equipment currently includes four cell sorters (one Beckman Coulter MoFlo, and three Sony Synergy systems) and six analysers (one Beckman Coulter CytoFLEX LX, two BD LSR Fortessa, one BD LSRII, one Sony Spectral Analyser, and one Sony Eclipse).
Your goal is to ensure that the equipment and techniques provide a high-quality Flow Cytometry service for the users of the facility.
Main duties:

  • To provide a Flow Cytometry sorting service for scientists at the LMB. This includes the operation and maintenance of all sorters in the facility.
  • To maintain the Flow Cytometry equipment, diagnose faults, and troubleshoot problems relating to instruments, techniques, procedures and protocols.
  • Plan and organize the day-to-day work to ensure that the experimental goals are delivered with previously agreed timescales.
  • Provide technical support to the users of the facility in the use of software or hardware.
  • Contribute to the well-organized functioning of the laboratory, and assist in maintaining the stock levels by purchasing consumables and supplies in consultation with other members of the facility.

Key responsibilities:

  • You will be responsible for the day-to-day operation of the Flow Cytometers in the facility within the goals and directions set up by the Flow Cytometry Facility Manager.
  • Full training will be provided however, you will be expected to identify and respond to potential problems and engage with instrument servicing/engineers when required.
  • You will assist the facility users with cell sorting and analysis of samples in line with professional standards.
  • You will be expected to provide flexible continuity of service during the annual leave of the Facility staff members (after training and competence have been established).
  • You will carry out maintenance and regular cleaning of equipment and basic troubleshooting of instrument problems as well as excellent record keeping.
  • You will be responsible for your short-term work, and should also help with general lab maintenance (e.g. ordering of chemicals, supplies, maintenance of equipment, etc.).
  • You will be expected to become competent in flow cytometry data analysis software and the use of computers.
  • You will be expected to pass on knowledge to others in the lab, and to help train new users, as appropriate.
  • In liaison with the Flow Cytometry Facility Manager you will be expected to monitor technical standards, and advise, implement and evaluate improvements to existing protocols as required.
  • You will observe the policy and procedures on Occupational Health and Safety in the performance of the responsibilities of the position.

Working relationships:
You will report to the Flow Cytometry Facility Manager. You will also work closely with users of the facility, which will include postdoctoral scientists, graduate students and research support personnel within the LMB. You will also have some interaction with external service providers.

Additional information:
The above lists are not exhaustive and you are required to undertake such duties as may reasonably be requested within the scope of the post.  All employees are required to act professionally, co-operatively and flexibly in line with the requirements of the post and the MRC.  

Education / qualifications / training required:

Essential: Degree or equivalent in a biological, engineering or instrumentation subject.
Desirable: Technical knowledge and experience in a relevant scientific or technical specialism.
Previous work experience required:
Desirable: Experience of working in a laboratory environment.
Knowledge and experience:
Technical Knowledge/Experience

  • Proven ability to absorb technical information, with the ability to react to technical queries
  • Ability to learn quickly and on the job with the flexibility to learn and work on multiple types of instruments and software; willingness to keep up-to-date with emerging technologies.


  • Theoretical and practical background in Flow Cytometry, including running and analysing samples on a sorter and analyser.
  • Experience of understanding and interpreting the technical requirements of users.
  • Experience with instrumentation computer software.

Independent working

  • Proven ability to plan and prioritise work with the ability to accommodate tight/short notice schedules.
  • Ability to troubleshoot instrument problems and be proactive in seeking a solution.
  • Ability to work effectively when supporting several users or tasks simultaneously


  • Experience of working with little supervision.
  • Good judgement in assessing when to seek support.
  • Experience dealing with technical service users.

Verbal and written communication skills
Essential: Excellent communication skills, verbal and written, with the ability to convey complex technical issues in an accessible way.
Desirable: Experience of giving presentations or teaching/demonstrating technical subjects.

Personal skills / behaviours / qualities:

  • Ability to work as part of a team and to coach a diverse group of people with patience and good humour.
  • Methodical and thorough, well organised and diligent.
  • Ability to remain professional under conflicting demands.

Desirable: Long-term interest in instrumentation and biological sciences.

Additional information:
You will be a technically-minded person with the ability to learn fast in a demanding environment.

The MRC is a great place to work and progress your career, be it in scientific research or the support functions.The MRC is a unique working environment where our researchers are rewarded by world class innovation and collaboration opportunities that the MRC name brings. The MRC is an excellent place to develop yourself further and a range of training & development opportunities will be available to you, including professional registration with the Science Council.
Choosing to come to work at the MRC (part of UKRI) means that you will have access to a whole host of benefits from a defined benefit pension scheme and excellent holiday entitlement to access to employee shopping/travel discounts and salary sacrifice cycle to work scheme, as well as the chance to put the MRC and UKRI on your CV in the future.
Our success is dependent upon our ability to embrace diversity and draw on the skills, understanding and experience of all our people. We welcome applications from all sections of the community irrespective of gender, race, ethnic or national origin, religion or belief, sexual orientation, disability or age. As "Disability Confident" employers, we guarantee to interview all applicants with disabilities who meet the minimum criteria for the vacancy.
UKRI supports research in areas that include animal health, agriculture and food security, and bioscience for health which includes research on animals, genetic modification and stem cell research. Whilst you may not have direct involvement in this type of research, you should consider whether this conflicts with your personal values or beliefs.
We will conduct a full and comprehensive pre-employment check as an essential part of the recruitment process on all individuals that are offered a position with UKRI. This will include a security check and an extreme organisations affiliation check.

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