University of Cambridge

Job Opportunities


Research Associate (Fixed Term)

Applications are invited to apply for a Post-doctoral Research Associates to join Professor Ken Smith's laboratory, based within the Department of Medicine ( The Smith Laboratory has recently demonstrated that genetic variants associated with disease outcome are distinct from those driving disease susceptibility, and that common mechanisms, including T cell exhaustion, drive disease prognosis across a range of immune-mediated diseases. Work in the laboratory, combining human and animal data and state-of-the-art bioinformatic methodology, is currently focussed on gaining further insight into these pathways and how they may be targeted therapeutically to directly benefit patients. Example publications include McKinney et al Nature Med 16:586-591,2010; Lyons et al New Engl J Med 367:214-223,2012; Lee et al Cell 155:57-69,2013 and McKinney et al Nature 2015.

This post will be focussed on investigating whether transcriptional variance in CD8 T cells from individuals with differing inflammatory bowel disease prognoses can be attributed to differences in the DNA methylome. Initially, genome-wide CpG methylation patterns from patient cohorts will be assessed using an Illumina platform in parallel with generation of next generation sequencing libraries. Sequence reads will be aligned to the reference genome and regions differentially methylated between prognostic groups. Assays of functional significance will be developed and validated using mRNA and miRNA transcriptome data. Methylation quantitative trait locus analysis will be performed to identify genetic variants driving the differences. These techniques and analytical tools will be applied to other T cell sub-populations implicated in the generation of the prognostic exhaustion signature of wider immune-mediated disease.

The ideal candidate will have a PhD (or equivalent, or have recently submitted) in a relevant biological subject, together with proven expertise in molecular biology, cellular immunology and bioinformatics. Experience with MACS-based cell separation from blood, DNA methylation analysis, mRNA/miRNA transcriptomics and multi-parameter flow cytometry would be desirable. Organisational skills and the ability to work as part of a team, as well as independently, are also essential.

Informal enquiries may be directed to Professor Ken Smith ( or Dr Paul Lyons (

Fixed-term: The funds for this post are available until 31 March 2021 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.

Please ensure that you upload a covering letter and CV in the Upload section of the online application. 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.

Closing date for applications is the 12th March 2018 with interviews yet to be confirmed by the department.

Please quote reference RC14784 on your application and in any correspondence about this vacancy.

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

The University has a responsibility to ensure that all employees are eligible to live and work in the UK.

Further information

Apply online