University of Cambridge

Job Opportunities


Postdoctoral Research Assistant/Research Associate (Fixed Term)

The MRC Toxicology Unit is an internationally renowned institution focussed on the delivery of field-changing mechanistic insights into toxicology and disease. The Unit is equipped with state-of-the-art facilities and offers excellent opportunities for postdoctoral development. The Unit is currently based in Leicester and will relocate to Cambridge in 2020.

We are looking to appoint a postdoctoral computational biologist/biostatistician to join the laboratory of Dr. John Le Quesne at the MRC Toxicology Unit as part of a new CRUK programme "Targeting dysregulated translational control in the tumour environment". The programme was jointly awarded to four UK laboratories (Le Quesne lab at MRC Toxicology Unit, Bushell/Samson/Norman labs at the Beatson Institute Glasgow), and aims to elucidate how translation dysregulation is related to the tumour phenotype and how this might be therapeutically exploited.

The Le Quesne laboratory uses quantitative histopathological and molecular methods to investigate the expression of drug targets and their relationships with tumour biology and genomics in large collections of primary human tumour tissue. We are establishing very large collections of primary human tissue from thoracic malignancies, and have access to collections of several other common malignancies via the research alliance. We have an established pipeline for the generation of quantitative data, and for its incorporation into our tumour databases. Quantitative assays for target protein antigens, mRNAs, and markers of tumour phenotype are established in the laboratory and fully supported by our core histopathology facility.

The successful applicant will, with expert technical support, collect several types of data on the dysregulation of translation initiation (initiation factor protein/mRNA abundance, protein proximity, focused genomic assays), and model these data in order to understand how translational dysregulation is related to patient outcomes and to measured tumour phenotypes & genotypes. Studies include epidemiologically scaled tumour collections and focussed single-cell level studies of fixed tumour tissues. Mechanistic hypotheses will be tested in collaboration with other programme labs.

Applicants must have (or be in the final stages of receiving) a PhD in cancer biology/cell biology/biochemistry with a substantial bioinformatic/biostatistical component. Ideally the applicant will combine a knowledge of translational control with high-level skills in statistical modelling, but they will at least show aptitude in bioinformatics. They will help to develop quantitative image analysis algorithms using purpose-built software. Data modelling methods to be implemented include longitudinal survival analyses and regression modelling. They will have excellent skills in handling large datasets. Direct experience with cancer patient data and/tissue microarray data/nucleic acid microarray statistical methods will be advantageous. A demonstrated ability to publish high quality research in a peer reviewed journal, the ability to work both independently and as part of a team, together with excellent communication and problem solving skills are required.

Please note, candidates who have not yet been awarded their PhD will be appointed to Grade 5. Upon award of your PhD you will be appointed to Grade 7.

Further information on the Toxicology Unit can be found at

This post is funded by CRUK for five years.

Fixed-term: The funds for this post are available for 5 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.

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.

If you have any questions about this vacancy or the application process, please contact Rebecca Heatherley (

Please quote reference PU15024 on your application and in any correspondence about this vacancy.

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Further information

Apply online