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Research Assistant/Research Associate

Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology

University of Cambridge, Trinity Ln, Cambridge, UK


  • Posted on: 16th Sep 2021
  • Salary: £27,116-£40,927
  • REF: NQ28181
  • Closes: 04th October 2021
  • Contract Type: Fixed-Term/Contract
  • Hours: Full Time

The Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology wishes to recruit a Research Assistant/Research Associate, working with Professor Roisin Owens.

The role holder will work on a project to develop an in vitro model of the gut-brain axis with integrated technology solutions for monitoring the effects of the microbiome on human health. The human gut is host to over 100 trillion bacteria that are known to be essential for human health. Alterations in the microbiome have been linked with many disease phenotypes including colorectal cancer, Crohn’s disease, obesity, diabetes as well as neuropathologies such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD), stress and anxiety. Animal studies remain one of the sole means of assessing the importance of microbiota on development and well-being, however the use of animals to study human systems is increasingly questioned due to ethics, cost and relevance concerns. The development of in vitro models with microbiota has not yet been demonstrated even though the transformative role of the microbiota appears unquestionable. The current project will focus on using engineering and materials science approaches to develop complete (i.e. human and microbe) in vitro models to truly capture the human situation, benefitting from cutting edge organic electronic technology which will allow real-time monitoring thus enabling iterative improvements in the models employed. The result from this project will be a platform to study host-microbiome interactions and consequences for pathophysiology, in particular, of the GI tract and brain.

The ideal candidate will have a PhD (or be close to obtaining a PhD) in materials science, physics, or a related scientific discipline, and experience in bioelectronics with a focus on organic bioelectronics. The candidate will have the responsibility to design, fabricate and iteratively optimise devices within the in vitro platform for hosting cells with integrated fluidics. Previous experience in cleanroom based microfabrication techniques, organic electronics, and microfluidics are required. A thorough knowledge of electrical impedance sensing is essential. This is a multidisciplinary project and the successful candidate should be willing to and capable of interacting with team members from disciplines ranging from cell biology to chemistry to physics.

More information about the department and the Bioelectronics Systems Technology group can be found at: https://www.ceb.cam.ac.uk/research/groups/best

Fixed-term: The funds for this post are available for 12 months in the first instance.

Once an offer of employment has been accepted, the successful candidate will be required to undergo a health assessment.

We particularly welcome applications from women and /or candidates from a BAME 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.

For an informal discussion about the post, please contact Professor Roisin Owens, rmo37@cam.ac.uk

Please quote reference NQ28181 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

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