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Research Assistant/Research Associate

MRC Toxicology Unit, Cambridge

University of Cambridge, Trinity Ln, Cambridge, UK


  • Posted on: 20th Jan 2022
  • Salary: £27,116-£40,927
  • REF: PU28464
  • Closes: 17th February 2022
  • Contract Type: Fixed-Term/Contract
  • Hours: Full Time

We are looking to appoint a core-funded postdoctoral Research Associate to generate single-cell transcriptomic data at the level of the individual T or B lymphocyte clone. The post will be ideal for an experienced molecular biologist or cell biologist keen to develop skills and experience in single-cell RNA sequencing. However, motivated candidates with a strong background in transcriptome library generation, mathematics/statistics, species ecology, or other relevant background, who are keen to develop experience are encouraged to apply.

The Thaventhiran group contrasts the adaptive immune response of infection with sterile inflammatory challenges such as cancer and toxic injury. Our investigation of rare patients with monogenic causes of immune dysregulation has identified a number of genes that are immune checkpoints, since their loss-of function leads to adaptive immune cell activation ( Spencer et al., 2019; Thaventhiran et al., 2020; Tuijnenburg et al., 2018). This has generated hypotheses regarding how the consequences of antigen-receptor signalling are modified by immune checkpoints. We have studied lymphocytes clonally responding to specific challenges, using single-cell RNA sequencing, in both mouse and human samples. This has expanded to include data investigating the anti-COVID-19 antigen-specific cellular immune response (Buckland et al., 2020) and currently the lab is leading the SCORPIO study. (https://www.ukri.org/news/five-new-covid-19-vaccine-research-projects-announced/)The MRC Toxicology Unit is an internationally renowned institution focused on the delivery of field-changing mechanistic insights into toxicology and disease. The Unit is equipped with state-of-the-art equipment including single cell RNA sequencing, advanced flow-cytometry, super resolution microscopy and offers excellent opportunities for postdoctoral development.

Applicants must hold, or be close to completing, a PhD in a relevant discipline such as immunology, computational biology, bioinformatics, ecology, or infectious disease. Numerous scientists will work alongside the post-holder and complement their skills, therefore working as part of a team within the laboratory environment is an essential attribute. The ability to work independently, within the scope of the candidates existing expertise, together with excellent communication and critical thinking skills are also essential. Appointment at Research Associate is dependent on having a PhD. Where a PhD has yet to be awarded or submitted, appointment will initially be made as a Research Assistant and amended to Research Associate when the PhD is awarded. Fixed-term: The funds for this post are available for three years in the first instance. Further information on the Toxicology Unit can be found at (https://www.mrc-tox.cam.ac.uk)

Relevant publications:Buckland MS, Galloway JB, Fhogartaigh CN, ¿, Thaventhrian J.E., (2020) Treatment of COVID-19 with remdesivir in the absence of humoral immunity: a case report. Nat Commun 11:6385.

Spencer, S., Kostel Bal, S., Egner, W., Lango Allen, H., Raza, S.I., Ma, C.A., Gurel, M., Zhang, Y., Sun, G., Sabroe, R.A.,…, Thaventhiran, J. (2019). Loss of the interleukin-6 receptor causes immunodeficiency, atopy, and abnormal inflammatory responses. J Exp Med 216, 1986-1998.

Thaventhiran, J.E.D., Lango Allen, H., Burren, O.S., Rae, W., Greene, D., Staples, E., Zhang, Z., Farmery, J.H.R., Simeoni, I., Rivers, E., et al. (2020). Whole-genome sequencing of a sporadic primary immunodeficiency cohort. Nature 583, 90-95.

Tuijnenburg, P., Lango Allen, H., Burns, S.O., Greene, D., Jansen, M.H., Staples, E., Stephens, J., Carss, K.J., Biasci, D., Baxendale, H.,¿,Thaventhiran, J., Kuijpers, T.W., (2018). Loss-of-function nuclear factor kappaB subunit 1 (NFKB1) variants are the most common monogenic cause of common variable immunodeficiency in Europeans. J Allergy Clin Immunol 142, 1285-1296. * Joint senior authors

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

Informal enquiries are invited and can be directed to James Thaventhiran (jedt2@mrc-tox.cam.ac.uk). If you have any queries regarding the application process please contact HRadmin@mrc-tox.cam.ac.uk

Please quote reference PU28464 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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