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Research Associate (Fixed Term)

This is a post funded by a project grant from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC). The scientific summary of the project is given below.

The placenta in both human and mouse is comprised of multiple different cell types, including several different trophoblast populations. The distinct trophoblast types have different functions (endocrine or transport for example). This diverse population originates from progenitor and ultimately trophoblast stem cells. While some of the diversity is observable it has not been thoroughly defined and the precise relationships between the different lineages is incompletely known. Genomic analysis of single placental cells would characterise the identity and function of these different cells and define the number of different cell types present. Such data would allow the identification of cell-type specific transcripts which may be useful as specific markers for FACS and histological analysis. Data collected at different times in gestation, from genetically manipulated animals or from pathological pregnancies will reveal changes in the placental cell populations and the functional changes with in them. Such data would be extremely powerful and would lead to major advances in placental biology. However, collecting this data is a considerable challenge but Drop-Seq (Macosko et al, Cell 2015, doi 10.1016/j.cell.2015.05.002) provides an accessible way to capture single cells with sets of uniquely barcoded primer beads within tiny droplets. This enables large-scale, highly parallel single-cell transcript profiling at reasonable cost. The aim of this project is to apply this technique to the human and mouse placenta. Relevant necessary skills include manipulation and analysis of nucleic acids ¿ ideally (but not necessarily next generation sequencing); cell isolation and characterization. The project will require considerable bioinformatic analysis and the post holder will be expected to work alongside a bioinformatician (already appointed).

This work will generate a molecular atlas of the human and mouse placenta and is highly likely to identify novel trophoblast populations and their functional characteristics.

Informal enquiries should be directed to Prof Steve Charnock-Jones via email on

Fixed-term: The funds for this post are available until 28 February 2021 in the first instance.

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

Click the 'Apply' button below to register an account with our recruitment system (if you have not already) and apply online.

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 email address and phone number, one of which must be your most recent line manager.

Closing Date: 23rd April 2019

Interview Date: w/c 6th May 2019

Please quote reference RI18557 on your application and in any correspondence about this vacancy.

The University actively supports equality, diversity and inclusion and encourages applications from all sections of society.

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

Further information

Apply online