Research Assistant

Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience

University of Cambridge, Trinity Ln, Cambridge, UK


  • Posted on: 06th Jan 2022
  • Salary: £27,116-£31,406
  • REF: PM29645
  • Closes: 25th February 2022
  • Contract Type: Fixed-Term/Contract
  • Hours: Full Time

We are pleased to advertise a Research Assistant position in Dr Elena Scarpa’s group to investigate the role of tissue-scale mechanical stress during in vivo cell migration and cell division.

We investigate a population of embryonic multipotent stem cells, neural crest cells. In the trunk of the Zebrafish embryo, these cells migrate through a narrow space in between other tissues before differentiating into glia and neurons. We have found that neural crest cells experience significant nuclear deformation during migration. Moreover, they divide asymmetrically, giving rise to daughters with different fates, and, importantly, sometimes they make errors when dividing. These findings are important for human health because human trunk neural crest can initiate neuroblastoma, a common solid tumour in children.

Using fish neural crest cells as a model, relevant to human disease, to study in vivo cell confinement, the lab investigates how physical compression affects nuclear integrity and cell division, and whether it can lead to cancer initiation in a living animal.

The post-holder will carry out molecular biology and zebrafish transgenesis. They will characterise the novel Zebrafish lines they generate by live imaging of embryos and quantitative image analysis. In addition, they will have the opportunity to receive training in Dr Anestis Tsakiridis laboratory at the University of Sheffield in culture and differentiation protocols of human pluripotent stem cells into trunk neural crest cells and they will be responsible for the maintenance of these cell cultures in the lab. Besides these tasks, the RA will oversee the maintenance of fish stocks (crossing and genotyping), day to day running of the laboratory (ordering, organization, health and safety) and will contribute to the training of students.

Candidates should have a BSc in a biological subject, with knowledge of molecular biology and genetics (for example: molecular cloning, transgenesis, CRISPR), and a keen and proactive approach to collaborative science. The ability to plan, execute and record scientific studies and make independent decisions and solve routine problems encountered in research projects is essential, as are excellent verbal and written communication skills.

This position is available full-time from 1 May 2022 for 16 months.

We also welcome applications from individuals who wish to be considered for part-time working or other flexible working arrangements.

We particularly welcome applications from candidates from a BME background for this vacancy as they are currently under-represented at this level in our department.

Click the ‘Apply’ button below to register an account with our recruitment system (if you have not already) and apply online.

To apply to this post, submit a CV and motivation letter detailing why you want to be part of this project and how this post will be a good stepping stone for your career. We also need the contact details for two people who can provide a professional reference.The application deadline is Friday 25 February 2022, and we will hold interviews for shortlisted candidates in March.

If you have any questions about this vacancy, please contact Professor Elena Scarpa:

Please quote reference PM29645 on your application and in any correspondence about this vacancy.

The University actively supports equality, diversity and inclusion and encourages applications from all sections of society.

The University has a responsibility to ensure that all employees are eligible to live and work in the UK.
Further information

  • PM29645 Research Assistant Further Particulars

Apply online

Employer Achievements:

company award