Postdoctoral Research Associate or Fellow

University of Exeter

Faculty of Health and Life Sciences

This new full-time post is available from 2 January 2024 until 30 June 2026 on a fixed term basis.

The post

The Faculty wishes to recruit two Postdoctoral Researchers to study the biology of pluripotency in the team of Prof Austin Smith. These European Research Council funded posts are available from 2 January 2024 to 30 June 2026. Based in the interdisciplinary Living Systems Institute, the successful applicants will join a world-leading programme of investigations into the plasticity of the pluripotency network in different mammals. Applicants should be motivated by fundamental curiosity with a particular interest in early development and/or cell fate decision-making.

Post 1: Naïve pluripotent stem cells have to date been established only from rodents and primates. Our goal is to design signalling environments for capturing naïve pluripotent stem cells from livestock and other mammals, including marsupials. Approaches will include pluripotency network resetting and somatic cell reprogramming, as well as direct derivations from livestock embryos. This post requires cell culture aptitude, experience with genetic manipulations, and knowledge of developmental signalling.

Post 2: Mouse and human naïve pluripotent stem cells have overlapping but distinct gene regulatory networks and exhibit different direct lineage potencies. Our goal is to uncover the core gene regulatory network shared across mammalian species. Approaches will include genetic perturbations, transcriptome and chromatin analyses, and network inference. This post requires advanced skills in molecular cell genetics, ability to use basic sequencing analysis pipelines, and an interest in molecular networks.

Both posts will involve extensive stem cell culture experimentation including molecular reprogramming, genetic manipulation, signalling pathway manipulation, and targeted chemical and genetic screens. Transcriptomic and multimodal ‘omics analyses will be carried out in partnership with computational/bioinformatics members of the group.

About you

PDRA: The successful applicant will be able to present information on research progress and outcomes, communicate complex information, orally, in writing and electronically and prepare proposals and applications to external bodies.

Applicants will possess a relevant PhD (or be nearing completion) or possess an equivalent qualification/experience in a related field of study and be able to demonstrate sufficient knowledge in the discipline and of research methods and techniques to work within established research programmes.

PDRF: The successful applicant will be able to develop research objectives, projects and proposals; identify sources of research funding and contribute to the process of securing funds and make presentations at conferences and other events.

Applicants will possess a relevant PhD or equivalent qualification/experience in a related field of study. The successful applicant will be a nationally recognised authority in the subject area and possess sufficient specialist knowledge in the discipline to develop research programmes and methodologies. The successful applicant will also be able to work collaboratively, supervise the work of others and act as team leader as required.

Please ensure you read the Job Description and Person Specification for full details of this role by clicking on the attachment.

What we can offer you

  • Freedom (and the support) to pursue your intellectual interests and to work creatively across disciplines to produce internationally exciting research;
  • Support teams that understand the University wide research and teaching goals and partner with our academics accordingly
  • An Innovation, Impact and Business directorate that works closely with our academics providing specialist support for external engagement and development
  • Our Exeter Academic initiative supporting high performing academics to achieve their potential and develop their career
  • A beautiful campus set in the heart of stunning Devon.

The University of Exeter

We are a member of the prestigious Russell Group of research-intensive universities and in the top 200 universities in the world (Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2024 and QS World University Ranking 2024).  We combine world-class teaching with world-class research, achieving a Gold rating in the Teaching Excellence Framework Award 2023, underpinned by Gold ratings for Student Experience and Student Outcomes.

Our world-leading research impact has grown more than any other Russell Group university in recent years, and we are home to some of the world’s most influential researchers, seeking to answer some of the most fundamental issues facing humankind today.  More than 99% of our research is of international quality and 47% is world-leading (2021 Research Excellence Framework).

We encourage proactive engagement with industry, business and community partners to enhance the impact of research and education and improve the employability of our students. Read about our world leading research – Green Futures and how we are transforming education for a changing world. We are located in a beautiful part of the country and Exeter (a fast growing tech hub) is one of only a few UK cities to have been designated as a UNESCO Creative City

Our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Commitment

We are committed to ensuring reasonable adjustments are available for interviews and workplaces.

Whilst all applicants will be judged on merit alone, we particularly welcome applications from groups currently underrepresented within our working community. 

With over 30,000 students and 7,000 staff from 150 different countries we offer a diverse and engaging environment where our diversity is celebrated and valued as a major strength. We are committed to creating an inclusive culture where all members of our community are supported to thrive; where diverse voices are heard through our engagement with evidence-based charter frameworks for gender (Athena SWAN and Project Juno for Physics), race equality (Race Equality Charter Mark), LGBTQ+ inclusion (Stonewall Diversity Champion) and as a Disability Confident employer.

For further information please contact Professor Austin Smith, e-mail [email protected]

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