University of Cambridge

Job Opportunities


PhD Studentship

A fully funded 4-year BBSRC PhD studentship under the MedImmune Collaborative Training Partnership (CTP) is available, commencing in October 2017, to investigate why some monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) fail to be properly secreted by Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells. The aim of the BBSRC CTP awards is to provide PhD students with a challenging research training experience within the context of a mutually beneficial research collaboration, between academic and industrial partner organisations. This project is partnered by MedImmune, the global biologics research and development arm of AstraZeneca specializing in antibody and protein therapeutics, at its Cambridge R&D site. The work will utilise MedImmune's considerable experience in developing CHO cell lines engineered for the production of therapeutic mAbs. It will involve characterisation of mAbs across a spectrum of secretion properties, from those which are effectively delivered in growth media to those that are very poorly secreted, often with an increased unfolded protein response and with retention in the cell.

The student will employ novel methodologies developed in the laboratory of Professor Kathryn Lilley in the Cambridge Centre for Proteomics (CCP) (, focussed on the development and application of spatial proteomics methods that aim to accurately locate proteins to subcellular structures on a proteome wide scale 1. Her group has developed other methodologies which determine the components of multi-protein complexes and the spatial context of membrane proteins 2.

The outcome from the project will be a better understanding of the mechanisms involved in the secretion of recombinant mAbs, especially in cases where secretion is impaired. Knowing the interacting partners and location of retarded recombinant mAbs will assist in the design of future therapeutic proteins and cell engineering platforms to ensure their efficient secretion. This is of vital importance in the generation of manufacturing cell lines for therapeutic protein production.

The successful candidate will be jointly supervised by Prof. Kathryn Lilley of CCP, which is located in the Department of Biochemistry, University of Cambridge, and by science leaders from the Cell Line Development and Engineering team at MedImmune, working alongside a skilled team of scientists in a dynamic biopharmaceutical environment (

Applicants should hold or be about to achieve a First or Upper-Second (2.i) class degree in a relevant subject. BBSRC studentships are available to UK nationals and EU students who meet the UK residency requirements.

Further information about eligibility for Research Council UK funding can be found on the BBSRC website: The successful candidate will receive a stipend paid at RCUK rates for the 4 year duration of the award (£14,296 per annum for 2016-17); fees will be met in full for EU nationals meeting BBSRC residency requirements.

Fixed-term: The funds for this post are available for 4 years in the first instance.

Applications should be sent to Prof. Kathryn Lilley (, as soon as possible, and at the latest by 31st May 2017, enclosing a cover letter, a detailed curriculum vitae and the names and contact details of two academic referees. Interviews will be held in June 2017.

1 Christoforou, A. et al. A draft map of the mouse pluripotent stem cell spatial proteome. Nat Commun 7, doi:10.1038/ncomms9992 (2016). 2 Rees, J. S., Lilley, K. S. & Jackson, A. P. SILAC-iPAC: A quantitative method for distinguishing genuine from non-specific components of protein complexes by parallel affinity capture. Journal of Proteomics 115, 143-156, doi: (2015).

Please quote reference PH11008 on your application and in any correspondence about this vacancy.

Please quote reference PH11008 on your application and in any correspondence about this vacancy.

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