Postdoctoral Fellows - linking genes to T cell phenotypes with CRISPR screens

We are seeking two enthusiastic and motivated postdocs to join an interdisciplinary team on an exciting new project using cutting-edge techniques to study how genes associated with immune diseases modulate immune cell functions. We will perform pooled CRISPR screens in CD4 T and  CD8 T cells to  assess the effects of gene perturbations on disease relevant phenotypes. The most interesting hits will be validation of using high throughput image-based cellular assays coupled with transcriptional readouts. You will be based at Wellcome Sanger Institute under the leadership of Dr. Gosia Trynka, and in close collaboration with Dr. Annie Speak at the University of Cambridge, Prof. David Sansom at the University College London, as well as with Dr. Omer Bayraktar, Dr. Andrew Bassett and Dr. Panos Zalmas  and Dr Carla Jones at the Wellcome Sanger Institute. This project forms part of the Open Targets ( collaboration between academic and industrial partners to identify new drug targets for the treatment of immune diseases.

We are looking for strong expertise in cellular immunology, and strong experience in cell culture and manipulation of primary T cells. You will work together with a research assistant based at the Open Targets Validation Lab at Sanger and an image analyst. Collectively, the team will build CRISPR libraries to knock out disease-relevant genes in three key immune cell types, and then assess the effects of gene perturbations on cellular phenotypes through cellular assays (e.g. based on FACS or high content imaging) and transcriptional profiling. You will have the opportunity to leverage well-established differentiation protocols and phenotyping assays, but also to develop new methods for unbiased screening and more detailed follow-up studies. Our aim is to link genes important for disease-relevant processes across multiple cell types, to reveal the underlying molecular mechanisms and new routes for therapeutic intervention.

This project provides an opportunity to leverage the exciting recent advances in CRISPR, cell imaging and single-cell sequencing technologies to drive innovation in disease-relevant cell models, develop assays to measure immune cell phenotypes, and apply them at scale. It is an opportunity to advance immune disease research using the state-of-the-art facilities at the Sanger Institute and be a part of the interdisciplinary Open Targets community. It offers an outstanding career development opportunity for you in a supportive environment.

About Us:

Our lab is studying how genetic variation affects immune cell function using gene editing, single-cell sequencing and computational analyses. We work together as a diverse and multidisciplinary team of experimental and data scientists to generate and analyse biological datasets to address the fundamental biological question of how genetic variation contributes to immune diseases such as IBD and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), ultimately aiming to identify novel therapeutic hypotheses.

As a PDF with us, you will receive support for your professional and personal development, including various training opportunities, chances to network, and we have a PDF committee in place to ensure our PDFs are supported in their posts.

For informal inquiries, please contact Gosia Trynka.

Job Logo
Open Targets
Salary per annum
Full Time, Part Time, Flexible Working
Full Time
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Contract Length
2 years
Closing Date
31 August 2022
Job Reference

Essential Skills

Technical skill set:

  • PhD in cell biology, immunology or immunogenomics
  • Experience with human immune cell isolation, manipulation, activation and culture
  • Experience performing flow cytometry
  • Experience with optimising, developing, applying and scaling up cell culture protocols
  • Broad technical and scientific understanding of immunology, genetics and genomics
  • Ability to manage competing priorities in a fast-paced environment and to work independently.
  • Ability to communicate ideas and results effectively to diverse audience
  • Have the highest ethical standards and respect diversity and cultural differences in the institute

Behavioural Skill set:

  • Excellent communication skills to allow efficient interactions with collaborators
  • Team player with the ability to work with others in a collegiate and collaborative environment
  • Ability to effectively prioritise, multi-task and work without supervision
  • Demonstrates inclusivity and respect for all


Other information

For more details on what it is like to work for us as a postdoctoral fellow, please see video below:

Application Process:

Please apply with your CV and a Cover letter outlining how you meet the criteria set out above and in the job description.

About Open Targets

Open Targets is a pioneering public-private partnership between European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI), GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), the Wellcome Sanger Institute (Sanger), Sanofi, Pfizer and Bristol Meyers Squibb (BMS), located at the Wellcome Genome Campus in Hinxton, near Cambridge, UK.  

Open Targets brings together expertise from five complementary institutions to generate evidence on the biological validity of therapeutic targets and provide an initial assessment of the likely effectiveness of pharmacological intervention on these targets, using genome-scale experiments and analysis. Open Targets aims to provide an R&D framework that applies to all aspects of human disease to improve the success rate of discovering new medicines and share data openly in the interest of accelerating drug discovery.