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Research Assistant/Research Associate

Department of Veterinary Medicine, West Cambridge

University of Cambridge, Trinity Ln, Cambridge, UK


  • Posted on: 02nd Dec 2021
  • Salary: £27,116-£40,927
  • REF: PP29280
  • Closes: 25th February 2022
  • Contract Type: Fixed-Term/Contract
  • Hours: Full Time

Limit of Tenure: 36 months.

The Transmissible Cancer Group at the University of Cambridge, Department of Veterinary Medicine, is seeking to appoint a Research Assistant or Postdoctoral Research Associate to join a dynamic team studying the evolution and host interactions of transmissible cancers in dogs and Tasmanian devils. This is a fixed-term 3-year position supported by a Wellcome research grant. This post is expected to start on 1st May 2022 but there is some flexibility for an earlier or later start date.

Transmissible cancers are long-lived clonal lineages of malignant cells that operate as infectious parasites, spreading between individuals by the physical transfer of living cancer cells. Among mammals, such diseases have been described in only two species: dogs and Tasmanian devils, and are spread by mating and biting, respectively. These extraordinary cell lineages provide an opportunity to study cancer evolution over the long-term, and to investigate the interaction between cancer cells and the allogeneic immune system. Furthering our knowledge of these diseases may also shed light on their transmission dynamics and inform conservation work.

This position is suited for someone with skills in computational biology and an interest in cancer evolution and tumour immunology. The role-holder will analyse genome, transcriptome and single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNAseq) data from tumours belonging to transmissible cancer lineages. We will annotate genetic variants and use these to understand past and ongoing mutational and evolutionary processes, including the impact of mutation on gene expression and tumour phenotypes. Using scRNAseq data, we will seek to understand the contribution of host cells to the tumour microenvironment. By integrating data from hundreds of tumours, our goal will be to understand how cancers exploit a transmissible niche, and how the interaction between cancer and immune system controls disease outcome.

Applicants should hold a Master’s degree (Research Assistant) or PhD (Postdoctoral Research Associate) in computational biology or a related discipline, and experience in genome analysis is preferable. The candidate must value teamwork and collaboration, have good organisational and interpersonal skills, and should be able to effectively manage their time. They will have the opportunity to make their own original contribution to the field of study within the framework of the project. If applying at the Research Assistant level it may be possible for the role-holder to register as a PhD student.

More information about the Transmissible Cancer Group can be found on our website at www.tcg.vet.cam.ac.uk, and information about the Department of Veterinary Medicine can be found at www.vet.cam.ac.uk. Informal enquiries should be directed to Prof Elizabeth Murchison (epm27@cam.ac.uk), and enquiries about the application process should be directed to Deborah Collett (dc748@cam.ac.uk). Further particulars for the role can be accessed at www.vet.cam.ac.uk.

Applicants should submit a CHRIS/6, CV, covering letter outlining suitability for the role and contact details for two referees. Please note that shortlisted candidates will be expected to make a presentation at interview.

Please ensure that you upload your Curriculum Vitae (CV) and a covering letter in the Upload section of the online application. Any additional documents, which have not been requested, will not be considered as part of your application.

Closing date 25th February 2022Interviews will be held on 16th March 2022

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

Please quote reference PP29280 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.
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