Research Associate

King's College London

The Berninger lab is seeking to appoint a postdoctoral research associate (PDRA) to join an ERC-funded research programme aiming at uncovering the molecular mechanisms of transcription factor-induced conversion of glia into neurons. Transcription factor-induced reprogramming of glia into neurons requires massive remodelling of the transcriptional and epigenetic landscapes. We seek to identify the molecular trajectory initiated by proneural transcription factors such as Ascl1 or Neurog2 that drives gene regulatory networks that underpin the cell identity conversion of mouse cortical glia into induced interneurons in vivo.     

The research programme will require expertise in mouse genetics, transcriptomics, epigenomics, proteomics and computational analytical methods to identify gene regulatory networks. We wish to appoint a PDRA with very strong experience in these methodologies.  

The Berninger lab is a long-term member of the Centre for Developmental Neurobiology and MRC Centre for Neurodevelopmental Disorders and is attached to the Francis Crick Institute. This environment provides world-class research facilities essential for this ambitious research programme. 

This post will be offered on  a fixed term contract to 30th April 2024 

This is a full-time  post – 100% full time equivalent

•       Undertake original biomedical research as an integral member of a group working on glia-to-neuron conversion, using animal models (mouse) and human cerebral organoids. 

•       Perform precise cell manipulations in the adult mouse cerebral cortex, with post-hoc immunostaining and/or high res. confocal (in vivo) imaging. 

•       Perform intracerebral injections of retroviruses encoding reprogramming factors. 

•       Isolate cells via fluorescence-assisted cell sorting from the mouse brain. 

•       Perform next generation sequencing at single cell level.  

•       Analyse and quantify imaging and ‘omics’ data. 

•       Develop novel approaches to understand the changes in gene regulatory networks in vivo. 

•       Maintain up-to-date, accurate and comprehensive laboratory notes. 

•       Assist, supervise, and train other members of the group, including students and other research staff in their application in related lab projects.    

•       Manage the progress and set goals for achievement of project aims in collaboration with the team leader including the execution of literature reviews, data collection and analysis, and report. 

•       Prepare reports on results for verbal and multimedia presentations at regular lab meetings, departmental seminars, national and international meetings.  

•       Prepare manuscripts for publication in peer review journals or book chapters.  

•       Facilitate collaboration and networking, which engages and supports the activities of this research. 

•       Communicate and collaborate with other members of the team. 

•        Participate in public engagement activities that promote a public understanding of science commensurate with career development on the basis of mutual agreement with the team leader. 

The above list of responsibilities may not be exhaustive, and the post holder will be required to undertake such tasks and responsibilities as may reasonably be expected within the scope and grading of the post.  

Essential criteria  

1.      PhD in Biological Sciences or related discipline 

2.      Expertise in mouse genetics. 

3.      Experience with cell culture techniques. 

4.      Willingness to work with mice and to be trained in performing microsurgeries in the mouse brain. 

5.      Knowledge in the design and production of viral vectors. 

6.      Expertise in carrying out NGS bioinformatics pipelines. 

7.      Computer literacy and R or Python programming skills. 

8.      General web-lab skills including molecular biology. 

9.      Good practical and organizational skills. 

10.  Working and designing experiments independently. 

11.  Able to supervise, work and integrate with others in the laboratory. 

12.  Experience in working collaboratively. 

13.  Willingness to work outside regular working hours if needed. 

14.  Research communication and writing skills. 

15.  Strong publication record. 

Desirable criteria

1.      Familiarity with single cell data analysis. 

2.      Experience in dissecting mouse brains. 

3.      Familiarity with confocal microscopy. 

Please note that this is a PhD level role but candidates who have submitted their thesis and are awaiting award of their PhDs will be considered. In these circumstances the appointment will be made at Grade 5, spine point 30 with the title of Research Assistant. Upon confirmation of the award of the PhD, the job title will become Research Associate and the salary will increase to Grade 6.

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