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Protein Structure Summer Placement

Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)

Within STFC, ISIS is a world leading facility for scientific research using neutron scattering and muon spectroscopy, with a strong scientific user programme and extensive international links. We support a national and international community of more than 2000 scientists for research into subjects ranging from clean energy and the environment, pharmaceuticals and health care, through to nanotechnology, materials engineering and IT, as well as fundamental physics and chemistry investigations.

The Small Angle Neutron Scattering (SANS) Group at ISIS operates four neutron scattering diffractometers, as well as a variety of biophysical characterisation equipment in close collaboration with the Support Laboratories Group and the Soft Matter Section of the Sample Environment Group. Biophysical characterization setups include stopped-flow circular dichroism/fluorescence spectrometer for the determination of secondary and tertiary structures of proteins, and Size-Exclusion Chromatography (SEC) for in-line small-angle solution scattering (SAS) of biomolecules. Use of SEC online SAS instruments ensures that samples flow directly from the SEC column into the SAS measuring cells, allowing the separation of polydisperse mixtures and determination of the solution structure of monodisperse samples.

The aim of the project is to conduct a biophysical characterization of two proteins: human Interleukin-6 involved in the inflammatory response of the immune system, and Calbindin D9K associated with buffering of intracellular calcium ions.

Tasks will include:

Purification of recombinantly expressed Calbindin D9K and Interleukin-6 using ionic-exchange and size-exclusion chromatography Investigation of the solution structure using size exclusion small-angle X-ray scattering and secondary/ternary structures using circular dichroism and fluorescence spectroscopy, of monodisperse Calbindin D9K and Interleukin-6 as a function of physicochemical conditions (temperature, pH and ionic strength)

This 12 week placement will be based on site at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Oxfordshire.

In order to apply for this placement, you need to meet the following criteria:


Are in full time education at university and returning to university/studies following the placement The right to live and work in the UK for the duration of the placement Studying for a degree in Biochemistry/Biophysics, with a strong academic record Excellent interpersonal and communication skills


Some familiarity with protein structure determination Basic awareness of project context

You are advised to submit your application as soon as possible as we reserve the right to close this vacancy once we have received sufficient applications.

About The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)

The STFC is a world-leading multi-disciplinary science organisation where curiosity, blue-skies thinking meets practical, application-led science and engineering. Our goal is to deliver economic, societal, scientific and international benefits to the UK and its people – and more broadly to the world.

As one of Europe’s largest research organisations, we’re trusted to support, enable and undertake ground-breaking projects in an outstanding diversity of fields. Through world-class facilities and people, we’re driving progressive advances in science, engineering, computing and technology. Our research seeks to understand the Universe from the largest astronomical scales to the tiniest constituents of matter, yet creates impact on a very tangible, human scale.

For more information about STFC please visit

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About UK Research Innovation (UKRI)

UKRI is an organisation that brings together the seven disciplinary research councils, Research England and Innovate UK. Together, we build an independent organisation with a strong voice and vision ensuring the UK maintains its world-leading position in research and innovation.

Supporting some of the world’s most exciting and challenging research projects, we develop and operate some of the most remarkable scientific facilities in the world. We are pushing the frontiers of human knowledge through fundamental research and delivering benefits for UK society and the economy through world-class research, skills and business-led innovation.

More information can be found at

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At UKRI, we believe that everyone has a right to be treated with dignity and respect, and to be provided with equal opportunities to thrive and succeed in an environment that enables them to do so. We also value diversity of thought and experience within inclusive groups, organisations and the wider community. For further information, please visit ‘How we support EDI in the workforce’.

Disability Confident Employer

As users of the disability confident scheme, we guarantee to interview all disabled applicants who meet the minimum criteria for the vacancy/ies. We will ensure that individuals with disabilities are provided reasonable accommodation to participate in the job application or interview process, to perform essential job functions, and to receive other benefits and privileges of employment. Please contact us to request accommodation.

How to apply

Online applications only preferred for this role. Please submit a CV and covering letter which clearly outlines how you fulfil the criteria specified along with your motivation for UKRI and the role. Ensure that the job reference number is included in the filename description of each document uploaded. Note that failure to address the above criteria or submit an application without a covering letter may result in the application not being considered. Assessment will only be based upon the content of your submitted covering letter and CV and not the ‘experience’ section of the application.

UKRI seeks to ensure it creates and maintains a system of openness, fairness and inclusion – a collaborative, trusted environment, which is attractive to and accessible to everyone who is interested in developing their career with us.

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