Research Assistant (Fixed Term)

University of Cambridge

United Kingdom

November 20, 2022


Research Assistant (Fixed Term)

Applications are invited for an experienced and motivated Research Assistant interested in studying various mutually exclusive partner mutations in H3K27M and H3.3G34R gliomas, a type of lethal and incurable brain tumour in children.

The aim of this project is to uncover how these different mutations modify interactions between brain tumour cells and their microenvironment (blood vessels, microglia, neurons, astrocytes and infiltrating immune cells).

The role will involve a substantial amount of in vivo work so prior expertise in using mouse models - in either cancer research or neurobiology research, is essential. In addition, expertise in techniques like cell culture, FACs, molecular biology and biochemistry is highly desirable. These techniques will be important for investigating tumour samples of various genotypes composed of heterogeneous populations of cells, with the aim of deconvolving differences in cell type composition and cell state.

The work will be supervised by Dr Manav Pathania and will be based at The Milner Institute and the Department of Oncology. The lab is also affiliated with the Cambridge Stem Cell Institute, the CRUK Cambridge Institute and the CRUK Children's Brain Tumour Centre of Excellence.

Paediatric gliomas driven by mutations in histone 3 variants harbour many additional co-segregating partner alterations of unknown functional significance. Our lab developed the first mouse models of this disease (Pathania et al., Cancer Cell, 2017) and since then we have developed many additional models representing distinct tumour subtypes. Importantly, in our prior work we showed that histone mutations are unable to induce transformation alone and that partner mutations are needed for tumourigenesis. This suggests a two-step model of tumour induction, in which first the histone mutations stall the differentiation of specific, spatiotemporally discrete neural progenitors, trapping them in a proliferative state. In a second step, these stalled progenitors accrue additional partner mutations, which then induce transformation. Different partners likely produce transformation through distinct oncogenic mechanisms and co-opt the microenvironment in unique ways, which once identified can serve as the basis for a subtype- specific targeted therapy approach. We now seek an outstanding Research Assistant to help reveal how different partners induce distinct oncogenic and microenvironmental co-option programmes.

Applicants should hold a BSc/BA in a related field like cancer biology or neurobiology, or be close to the completion of their degree. Candidates that have a strong background in two of the following three broad areas of expertise are encouraged to apply: (1) mouse work in a cancer biology or neurobiology context, (2) cell culture, molecular biology and biochemistry, or (3) basic competency in working with or analysing genomics data.

The successful applicant will have the opportunity to develop a basic science and multidisciplinary approach to translational cancer research. They will have an excellent aptitude for research and career development. We are especially looking for applicants with a self-starter mentality, who combine a perceptive and resourceful approach with an ability to work independently. A proven capacity to design, execute, and interpret your own experiments is essential. The ability to think creatively and develop workaround approaches when faced with the challenges that may arise while conducting pioneering new research is highly desirable. The right candidate will have the option of doing a part-time PhD in this role.

Fixed-term: The funds for this post are available for 3 years in the first instance.

Once an offer of employment has been accepted, the successful candidate will be required to undergo a basic disclosure (criminal records check) check and a health assessment.

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

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 email address and phone number, one of which must be your most recent line manager.

Please quote reference RD33280 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
  • Further Particulars
  • Department/Location

    Department of Oncology, Cambridge








    21 September 2022

    Closing date

    20 November 2022

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