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Research Associate in Electrophysiology and Cellular Neuroscience

Department of Clinical Biochemistry

University of Cambridge, Trinity Ln, Cambridge, UK


  • Posted on: 18th Oct 2021
  • Salary: £33,309-£40,927
  • REF: RG28587
  • Closes: 12th November 2021
  • Contract Type: Fixed-Term/Contract
  • Hours: Full Time

The laboratory of Dr. Florian Merkle (www.merklelab.org) is seeking a postdoctoral associate experienced in electrophysiology and/or calcium imaging. We are particularly interested in hypothalamic cell populations that regulate food intake and other essential physiological and behavioural processes and that therefore play key roles in human disease when dysfunctional. While we do have an active animal research programme enabling recording from slice preparations and primary cultures, most of our research is centred around the production of these pivotally important cell types in vitro from human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs). This approach allows for the production of large numbers of cells (e.g. neurons, astrocytes) that can we can genetically manipulate or expose to different environmental factors, drugs, or other cell types. The scalability of the model system also allows for unbiased approaches such as genetic and drug screens. We are interested in understanding the basic physiology of these hypothalamic cells, the mechanisms by which they become dysfunctional in disease, and ultimately the identification of new therapeutics.

We’re seeking a candidate that shares our excitement about the potential of this unique model system. We believe that electrophysiological characterisation will be a vital complement to other technologies being employed in the laboratory, such as CRISPR screens, single-cell sequencing, high-content imaging, and multi-‘omic integration. The successful candidate would therefore actively collaborate within the group and beyond. We also anticipate many exciting opportunities for the candidate to publish their own detailed functional characterisation of these human cells, and to develop an independent research programme that leverages their potential.

The Merkle lab is based at the Wellcome Trust-MRC Institute of Metabolic Science (https://www.ims.cam.ac.uk/) at the University of Cambridge, and is affiliated with the Cambridge Stem Cell Institute, providing a highly collaborative and interdisciplinary environment. The position is funded by the Wellcome Trust and Royal Society.

To be considered for this position, you should 1) possess a PhD or equivalent training in neuroscience or a related field, 2) be able to independently manage your time and experiments to generate data for publication, as supported by a track record of impactful papers in peer-reviewed journals, 3) be proficient in the generation and analysis of patch clamp electrophysiology and/or calcium imaging data, 4) be able to troubleshoot experiments and develop novel research tools and platforms, and 5) have a track record of leadership and effective teamwork. Though not essential for the role, the ideal applicant would also have practical expertise with molecular biology, tissue culture, microscopy, the development and optimization of cellular phenotyping assays, and/or high-throughput screening. Informal inquiries about this position should be directed to Florian Merkle at fm436@medschl.cam.ac.uk. We look forward to hearing from you!

Proposed start date: January 2022, though there is some flexibility regarding start date.

Fixed-term: The funds for this post are available for 2 years in the first instance.

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

Closing date: 12th November 2021.

Please ensure that you upload a covering letter and CV in the Upload section of the online application. The covering letter should outline how you match the criteria for the post and why you are applying for this role. If you upload any additional documents which have not been requested, we will not be able to consider these as part of your application.

Please include details of your referees, including e-mail address and phone number, one of which must be your most recent line manager.

Please quote reference RG28587 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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