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Research Associate in Single-Molecule Biophysics

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Based at
University of York - Heslington Campus
Hours of work
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Fixed term
32,817 - 40,322 a year
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Role Description

An exciting opportunity to work at the forefront of Physics of Life research funded by the Leverhulme Trust in project “Beyond traditional biometrology: understanding how cells distribute molecules”.

You will work in Professor Mark Leake’s group ( and be part of a collaborative team involving Professor Bert Poolman ( and Dr Chris MacDonald ( on an interdisciplinary project involving cutting-edge single-molecule optical microscopy (; to establish new paradigms for membrane trafficking in cells.

You will develop innovative designs of high-resolution, multidimensional single-molecule optical microscopy and microfluidics enabling (i) high-throughput 3D localization of protein cargoes and the structures they travel between in live cells; (ii) rapid sampling to a spatial precision an order of magnitude better than the optical resolution limit; (iii) coupled readouts from cell physiology probes for key physical/chemical intra- and extracellular factors with exceptional sensitivity using spectral imaging. There will be opportunities to engage in complementary activities in the Physics of Life Group ( which Prof Leake coordinates, in what is a fantastic playground for interdisciplinary researchers at the interface between the physical and life sciences to explore and grow.


The Department of Physics is at the forefront of pioneering global research and technological advancement in our world leading research centres, focused around the Physics of Life, condensed matter physics, nuclear physics, and plasma physics and fusion energy at the York Plasma Institute. This is combined with a commitment to teaching and outstanding student satisfaction.

As a Department we strive to provide a working environment which allows all staff and students to contribute fully, to flourish, and to excel. We aim to ensure that there is a supportive and egalitarian culture at all levels and across all staff groups. We promote good practice and a strong culture of equality in higher education, and are proud of our Juno Champion Award and Athena SWAN Silver Award. Further information can be found within this brief and on our website:


  • To conduct research under the supervision of senior colleagues and to contribute to the production of research
  • To assist in the identification and development of potential areas of research and the development of proposals for independent or collaborative research projects   
  • To write up research results and disseminate them through publications,  seminar and conference presentations and public engagement and outreach activities

Skills, Experience & Qualifications needed

  • PhD in an area which includes substantive biophysics components
  • Understanding of single-molecule and optical methods in biophysics
  • Microscopy skills
  • Ability to apply complex biophysical apparatus
  • Knowledge of appropriate mathematical methods in biology
  • Practical knowledge of MATLAB or LabView, or equivalentscientific computing languages
  • Highly developed communication skills and the ability to write up research work for submission to a high profile biophysical science journal and engage in appropriate public dissemination

The post is fixed term for 36 months, available from September 2019.

Informal email enquiries to regarding (i): research activities - Professor Mark Leake (; (ii) departmental activities – Ros Roberts (


The University is committed to promoting a diverse and inclusive community  – a place where we can all be ourselves and succeed on merit. We offer a range of family friendly, inclusive employment policies, flexible working arrangements, staff engagement forums, campus facilities and services to support staff from different backgrounds.

Athena Swan Silver         

A place where we can ALL be ourselves #EqualityatYork



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