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Research Associate (Fixed Term)


Applications are invited for a Research Associate to join the Barker laboratory at the Department of Clinical Neuroscience, University of Cambridge. The funds for this post are available for 24 months in the first instance.

Research background: Many neurodegenerative disorders, including Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease, are characterised by the presence of protein aggregates in widely distributed, but specific, areas of the brain. It has been hypothesised that clinical progression of such disorders is due to the "propagation" of pathological protein aggregates from one brain area to another. Those "infected" areas can then respond to the protein load in different ways which then defines the pathology you see, which for instance includes the midbrain dopaminergic neurons in Parkinson's disease and forebrain cholinergic neurons in Alzheimer's disease. This is also supported by our recent findings that a non-selective, systemic delivery of pathogenic alpha synuclein can generate a highly selective pattern of alpha synuclein pathology in the wild type rodent brain, resembling those seen in idiopathic Parkinson's disease patients.

Research aims and duties: The purpose of our new grant, to which this post is attached, is to investigate the molecular mechanisms driving such selective neuronal vulnerability in vitro, using primary human neuronal cultures for target identification and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) for target validation. We are therefore seeking applications from qualified candidates with expertise in cell culture, particularly in iPSC, with a strong background in molecular biology and genomic editing such as CRISPR/Cas9. The project will also involve techniques including fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS), Cellomics and confocal imaging analysis, as well as biophysics and proteomic analysis, although relevant trainings for these techniques will be provided when necessary. The candidate is expected to work independently but within a multi-disciplinary collaborative environment, under the direct supervision of Dr Wei-Li Kuan and Prof Roger Barker.

The successful candidate must have a PhD or is about to complete a PhD in a relevant specialist subject. The project will involve the use of human materials, which will be screened for common blood-borne pathogens, although it is expected that the successful candidate would have been vaccinated for hepatitis B before the start of the post.

Informal enquires can be made by contacting Dr. Wei-Li Kuan - wlk21@cam.ac.uk

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.

Closing date: 28th May 2018

Interview date: week commencing 4th June 2018

Please ensure that you upload a covering letter and CV in the Upload section of the online application. The covering letter should outline how you match the criteria for the post and why you are applying for this role. 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 e-mail address and phone number, one of which must be your most recent line manager.

Please quote reference XB15578 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