University of Cambridge

Job Opportunities


Research Assistant/Associate (Fixed Term)

The Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology is seeking to appoint a Research Assistant/Associate to join Dr Roisin Owen's group to 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 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 host-microbiome interactions and consequences for pathophysiology, in particular, of the GI tract and brain.

The ideal candidate will have a PhD (or be about to be awarded their PhD) with experience in microfluidics, or a related scientific discipline and should have experience with analytical chemistry and sensing. They will have the responsibility to design, fabricate and iteratively optimise microfluidic modules within the in vitro platform for hosting cells with integrated sensors. Sensors will be focused on detecting bacterial and mammalian metabolites using analytical chemistry methodology. Previous experience in microfabrication techniques and state of the art microfluidics technologies and 3D technical drawing are required. 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.

More information about Dr Roisin Owens group can be found here:

More information about the Department is available here:

Fixed-term: The funds for this post are available for 18 months in the first instance.

Once an offer of employment has been accepted, the successful candidate will be required to undergo a health assessment.

To apply online for this vacancy, please click on the 'Apply' button below. This will route you to the University's Web Recruitment System, where you will need to register an account (if you have not already) and log in before completing the online application form.

Applicants should ensure their application is complete and submitted by Midnight on the closing date.

Please quote reference NQ14216 on your application and in any correspondence about this vacancy.

The University values diversity and is committed to equality of opportunity.

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Further information

Apply online