Research Assistant at University of Cambridge

A new postdoc position in cell biology is available at University of Cambridge. The initial contract for this position is 12 months and posible to extend. Eligible candidates should submit the applications before March 12, 2019.

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 the interface between the host and the gut microbiome and the resulting consequences for pathophysiology, in particular, of the GI tract and brain. The ideal candidate will have a PhD (or be close to completion) and ideally have experience in materials science, biomedical engineering, or a related scientific discipline. The candidate must be highly versed in biological interfaces and engineering of these systems. The candidate should have experience with tissue culture, particularly stem cell culture, and integration with microfluidics. The candidate will have the responsibility to design and fabricate modules for hosting cells with integrated conducting polymer sensing technology. The candidate will need to characterise these systems to assess their viability as an in vitro model of the gut-brain axis. Experience in tissue engineering and cell culture are required. The candidate should also have experience in microfabrication techniques and state of the art microfluidics technologies. 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. The candidate will also be expected to disseminate results to the broader scientific community, thus having experience with written and oral presentation skill sets.

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

Deadline: March 12, 2019
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