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Graduate working at STFC

Functional Bio-Imaging and Integration of microscopes - Year-Long Placement

Background 

STFC offers you an opportunity to gain paid practical experience as part of your degree. Each year STFC recruit up to 45 sandwich students who are able to use and develop the skills they’ve acquired at university in a working environment, providing learning on the job and working on real projects alongside expert scientists and engineers. Learning new skills to help in their further studies. 

The OCTOPUS Facility at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory develops and provides access to advanced laser techniques for the scientific community. Working as a member of the OCTOPUS team in the Research Complex at Harwell, you will be involved in research using state of the art imaging facilities. The OCTOPUS Facility combines confocal and single molecule microscopy (multicolour and multiphoton), used for fluorescence lifetime imaging (FLIM), fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET), and super-resolution methods that can be used to investigate the conformation and interactions of individual molecules. Optical tweezers are integrated into the imaging microscopes to enable the manipulation of samples. The science programmes include the use of fluorescence lifetimes for the investigation of molecules used for medical imaging (collaboration with Oxford, Bath, Sheffield and Manchester Universities), using single molecule techniques to study the complex signalling pathways of cells (STFC, King’s College London, Oxford, and Cambridge), using FRET/FLIM combined with optical trapping to study the secretory pathways of plants (Oxford Brookes and STFC), and using confocal microscopy to study DNA damage and repair (STFC and Oxford).

You will work as part of a team, assisting researchers from universities and industry and will be expected to gain hands-on experience of laser systems and diagnostic equipment. Full training will be given in all aspects of general laboratory work and the operation of specialised equipment and lasers. You should have a background in physical or life-sciences. An interest in computing, optics or electronics would be an advantage but are not essential as full training will be given, and the exact project selected will be chosen to suit the experience of the student.

List of Duties/Responsibilities

During the year, you will be expected to carry out projects to develop and extend the capabilities of OCTOPUS. In particular, the work will be directed towards the integration of the different microscope stations within the cluster. Projects will include:

  • combining the optical tweezers instrumentation with the imaging microscopes, allowing the manipulation of organelles within cells, as well as measuring interaction forces in aerosol, chemical and biological systems
  • working with confocal microscope systems (multiphoton and multicolour) to provide a common user interface, allowing the easy exchange of samples between microscopes
  • combining confocal and single molecule techniques to allow the collection of complementary information on intracellular location, molecular interactions and conformation.
  • working with a team developing sample stages to allow the movement of samples between microscopes with precision relocation of areas of interest.

You will work as part of a team, assisting researchers from universities and industry and will be expected to gain hands-on experience of laser systems and diagnostic equipment. Full training will be given in all aspects of general laboratory work and the operation of specialised equipment and lasers.

Personal Skills and Attributes 

  • good standard of spoken and written English
  • good interpersonal & communications skills
  • ability to search the scientific literature
  • use of computers for scientific purposes, including data manipulation and analysis, and use of Microsoft Office or similar.

Shortlisting and Interview Criteria

Qualifications 

Essential:

  • excellent A-level results or equivalent
  • at least 2 years undergraduate and heading towards the final year degree.

Desirable:

  • completed year 1 and 2 at degree level with exam marks of more than 70%.

Welcome to STFC

The Science and Technology Facilities Council is one of Europe's largest multidisciplinary research organisations supporting scientists and engineers world-wide.

Knowledge/Skills and Experience 

Desirable:

laboratory experience working with biochemical and/or chemical spectroscopy and /or instrumentation.
ability to perform literature search to assess related work related to activities within the group.

Personal Skills & Qualities 

Essential:

  • good communication skills
  • demonstrate good team working capabilities
  • the willingness to learn new skills, both technical and non-technical
  • open minded and flexible in relation to the type of work assigned to them.

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