Microinjectionist/Research Assistant – MLC 2240

Medical Research Council


View Vacancy — Microinjectionist/Research Assistant – MLC 2240
Open Date
04/09/2023, 12:30
Close Date
24/09/2023, 23:55

MRC Mary Lyon Centre

The Mary Lyon Centre at MRC Harwell (MLC) https://www.har.mrc.ac.uk/ is located in an expanding science and innovation campus in Oxfordshire and is an internationally renowned centre at the forefront of genetics research.  As the hub of the new National Mouse Genetics Network, the specialist facilities and capabilities of the MLC support a number of research groups across the UK to accelerate our understanding of human diseases, such as cancer, developmental disorders and neurodegeneration. 

The Medical Research Council (MRC) is a great place to work and progress your career.  The MRC encourages the integration of clinical and discovery research to elucidate both disease processes and potential new therapies. The MLC provides vital scientific support for the UK biomedical community and focuses on preclinical research using mouse models, which supports clinical research and therapy discovery.  

The MRC is an excellent place to develop yourself further and a range of training & development opportunities will be available to you, including professional registration with the Science Council.

UK Research and Innovation is a new entity that brings together nine partners to create an independent organisation with a strong voice for research and innovation, more information can be found at www.ukri.org

MRC – 5

Harwell Campus, Oxfordshire

£27,600 – £29,325 per annum depending on skills and experience


Technical & Scientific Professionals

Full Time

Overall Purpose:

We have an open-ended vacancy for a microinjection specialist in the Gene Delivery team at the Mary Lyon Centre (MLC). The facility is currently composed of one modern laboratory with four fully functional microinjection stations. The Gene Delivery group comprises the laboratory manager and three research assistants. This dedicated team is a service team and is responsible for the production of custom mouse models involving a range of technologies including the use of embryonic stem cells and CRISPR/CAS9 genome editing. The laboratory works in very close collaboration with the molecular biology team and animal-care staff to guarantee the smooth provision of services. 

The Mary Lyon Centre specialises in developing and characterising mouse models of human disease. Within this context, the Gene Delivery team has responsibility for generating novel genetically altered mouse strains for the UK biomedical community. This service is vital to the research of the Mary Lyon Centre and  also offers services to the national programmes of Genome Editing Mice for Medicine (GEMM) and the National Mouse Genetic Network (NMGN). 

It is expected that the candidate will have an interest in genetics and/or biomedical research and will be keen to learn and develop related techniques (mouse embryo manipulation and embryo transfer). The post-holder will need to have an understanding of mammalian biology, laboratory experience,  excellent attention to detail, an understanding of quality management systems, excellent communication skills and should be a keen team player. 

The post-holder will report directly to the Gene Delivery laboratory manager and will work closely with all staff at the Mary Lyon Centre. 

We encourage the candidate to have researched the microinjectionist role and to have a genuine interest in the work of the MLC. The candidate will be required to give a 10 minute presentation on their previous work experience and their understanding of the microinjectionist job role at the first-round interview.

Main Duties/Key Responsibilities: 

  • Pronuclear and cytoplasmic microinjection of preimplantation embryos
  • Embryonic stem cell injection into blastocysts
  • Electroporation of embryos
  • Embryo harvesting and culturing of preimplantation embryos at the relevant developmental stages
  • Cryopreservation and reanimation of preimplantation embryos
  • In vitro fertilisation techniques
  • Embryo culture media and solution preparation
  • Precise glass pipette preparation
  • Small-animal surgery, including the use of anaesthetics for embryo transfers
  • Extensive use of inverted and stereo microscopes
  • General laboratory duties required to keep the laboratory clean and well stocked
  • Maintain an accurate record of all activities
  • Provide training in gene delivery techniques at training courses
  • Support the work of the MLC and other groups within the unit when needed

 The post-holder will be responsible for generating novel genetically altered mouse strains via embryo manipulation and embryo transfer, ensuring accurate application of associated techniques. 

The successful candidate will be required to obtain an Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 (ASPA) Home Office licence after appropriate training in order to carry out microinjection and small-animal surgeries (PIL A, B and C). 

This role involves extensive daily microscope work; the candidate will be expected to be able to work at microscopes for a large portion of their day. 

The post-holder will be required to work according to standard operating procedures, risk assessments and under ISO9001 conditions.  Extensive training will be provided on all techniques for this important role. 

Working Relationships: 

The post-holder will report to the Gene Delivery laboratory manager and will work closely with staff from the Molecular Biology laboratory and the MLC animal-care staff to ensure the timely delivery of mouse production services.

Equality & Diversity:

The MRC values the diverse skills and experience of its employees and is committed to achieving equality of treatment for all.  Our objectives are that all individuals shall have equal opportunities for employment and advancement on the basis of their skills, aptitudes and abilities.  The MRC is committed to the engagement and retention of the best possible talent and to creating an environment that encourages excellence in scientific research through good equality and diversity leadership and management. 

Corporate/Local Responsibilities & Requirements:

The post-holder must at all times carry out their responsibilities with due regard to the MRC’s:

  • Code of Conduct
  • Equality and Diversity policy
  • Health and Safety policy
  • Data Protection and Security policy

Job descriptions should be reviewed on a regular basis and at the annual appraisal.  Any changes should be made and agreed between the post-holder and their manager. 

The above lists are not exhaustive and the post-holder is required to undertake such duties as may reasonably be requested within the scope of the post.  All employees are required to act professionally, cooperatively and flexibly in line with the requirements of the post and the MRC. 

Education/Qualifications/Training Required: 


  • A levels or equivalent in science subject(s)
  • Background in Genetics or Biology or Biomedical science 


  • HNC in Biological Sciences or IAT Level 2 Diploma in Laboratory Animal Science and Technology
  • PIL A, B and C
  • ASPA Home Office licence
  • Scientific registration

Previous Work Experience Required:


  • Experience of working in a laboratory environment, including working to standard operating procedures and risk assessments
  • Ability to work in a fast-paced, high-throughput service role
  • Experience of working in an animal research environment
  • Previous significant use of microscopes
  • Proven track record in maintaining accurate and complete records


  • Dissection and harvesting of preimplantation embryos
  • Embryo microinjection
  • Mouse animal technology and husbandry experience
  • Experience of surgery and/or anaesthesia induction and maintenance
  • Experience of working with laboratory animals

Knowledge and Experience:


  • A general understanding of mammalian biology, reproduction and embryology
  • Basic knowledge of Mendelian genetics
  • Genuine interest in the welfare of animals
  • Basic computer skills, including the ability to use digital record-keeping systems and common software packages, such as Excel
  • The ability to work independently and use initiative to resolve problems
  • The ability to prioritise tasks efficiently and be self-motivated to meet group targets


  • Knowledge of ISO9001
  • Ability to work proactively
  • Ability to deliver projects on time and work to tight deadlines within a busy environment

Personal skills/Behaviours/Qualities:


  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills (verbal and written)
  • Good time management skills in approaching challenging workloads
  • Stamina and patience is critical for the microinjectionist role
  • Commitment to providing good customer service
  • The ability to take instruction and carry out tasks under scrutiny
  • Excellent attention to detail
  • Ability to work as part of a team fostering good team relationships or autonomously when required
  • Self-motivated and a positive influence on other team members 


  • Ability to deal with a wide range of people from different disciplines and at various levels in an organisation

The post-holder will be required to have the appropriate level of security screening/vetting required for the role.  UKRI reserves the right to run or re-run security clearance as required during the course of employment.
The MRC is a great place to work and progress your career, be it in scientific research or the support functions.The MRC is a unique working environment where our researchers are rewarded by world class innovation and collaboration opportunities that the MRC name brings. The MRC is an excellent place to develop yourself further and a range of training & development opportunities will be available to you, including professional registration with the Science Council.
Choosing to come to work at the MRC (part of UKRI) means that you will have access to a whole host of benefits from a defined benefit pension scheme and excellent holiday entitlement to access to employee shopping/travel discounts and salary sacrifice cycle to work scheme, as well as the chance to put the MRC and UKRI on your CV in the future.
Our success is dependent upon our ability to embrace diversity and draw on the skills, understanding and experience of all our people. We welcome applications from all sections of the community irrespective of gender, race, ethnic or national origin, religion or belief, sexual orientation, disability or age. As “Disability Confident” employers, we guarantee to interview all applicants with disabilities who meet the minimum criteria for the vacancy.
UKRI supports research in areas that include animal health, agriculture and food security, and bioscience for health which includes research on animals, genetic modification and stem cell research. Whilst you may not have direct involvement in this type of research, you should consider whether this conflicts with your personal values or beliefs.
We will conduct a full and comprehensive pre-employment check as an essential part of the recruitment process on all individuals that are offered a position with UKRI. This will include a security check and an extreme organisations affiliation check.  The role holder will be required to have the appropriate level of security screening/vetting required for the role.  UKRI reserves the right to run or re-run security clearance as required during the course of employment.

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