Senior Research Assistant

Senior Research Assistant

Senior Research Assistant

The Opportunity:

We are seeking an enthusiastic and motivated Senior Research Assistant to provide experimental and operational support to the newly opened Open Targets Validation Lab at the Wellcome Sanger Institute. This exciting opportunity will involve working with world-leading experts from both academia and industry to validate targets in multiple disease areas, including oncology, neurodegeneration, and immunology. This project will form part of the Open Targets ( collaboration between EMBL-EBI (European Bioinformatics Institute), GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), the Wellcome Sanger Institute (Sanger), Celgene, Sanofi, and Takeda.

The Role:

You will support the Open Targets Validation Lab to complement the work of the original project teams. You will perform target perturbation using CRISPR-Cas9, RNAi and/or small molecule inhibitors in a variety of experimental model systems. Your work will involve the use of liquid handling equipment to facilitate medium-throughput processing of multiple targets, and state of the art live-cell and high-content imaging will be part of multiple assay endpoints. 

The position is initially funded for 18 months with the possibility for extension. You will have the opportunity to work closely with the lab head and academic teams to transfer technology, targets and cell models into the Validation Lab, and industry partners to ensure relevant evidence is generated that will inform the drug development decision making process.   

More about the Open Targets and the Validation Lab:

With the completion of the human genome project and the implementation of sequencing technologies across multiple individuals, attention is now turning to the functional analysis of genes in humans and their validation as therapeutic targets. Open Targets aims to provide 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 supports multiple large-scale experimental projects that generate lists of potential targets. While a small number of these targets will be followed up by the original project team, capacity constraints mean many potentially interesting results are never pursued.  The Open Targets Validation Lab aims to bridge the gap between genome-scale target identification projects and uptake of nominated targets into drug development pipelines. Implementing the most cutting-edge technologies in genome editing and gene/protein modulation, the Open Targets Validation Lab is operating in a systematic, medium-throughput manner to provide independently-generated evidence for these targets and their mechanisms of action.

Salary per annum
34,546 to 41,383
Full Time or Part Time
Full Time
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Contract Length
18 months
Job Reference

Essential Skills

  • Degree in Molecular/Cellular/Cancer biology/Neurobiology or related discipline
  • Post-graduate degree and/or significant experience in a relevant area
  • Extensive experience in mammalian cell culture, including transduction and transfection
  • Experience using CRISPR-Cas9 and other gene modulation technologies (siRNA, shRNA)
  • Substantial experience in a molecular biology lab environment and in-depth understanding of fundamental techniques, including PCR, immunoblotting and flow cytometry
  • Experience in high-content and medium/high-throughput imaging techniques
  • Experience in assay development and optimisation
  • Ability to use initiative, troubleshoot and work independently on agreed tasks
  • Proven track record for delivering complex experimental scientific projects
  • Detail-oriented and highly organised, including keeping excellent scientific records
  • Excellent prioritisation and time management skills
  • Computer literate with experience in data analysis, visualisation and presentation
  • Excellent, team-oriented work ethic

Ideal Skills

  • Experience of contributing to and following SOPs
  • Good at networking and relationship building
  • Ability to train new starters

Other information

Application process:

Please apply online and  include a cover letter with your application describing how you meet the essential criteria for the role. Interviews may take place on a rolling basis before the application deadline, therefore we encourage you to apply early to avoid disappointment.

Informal inquiries can be made directly to Panos Zalmas, head of the Open Targets Validation Lab (

Closing Date: 26 January 2020

About Us

The Wellcome Sanger Institute is a world leading genomics research centre. We undertake large-scale research that forms the foundations of knowledge in biology and medicine. Our findings are used to improve health and to understand life on Earth. Find out more at or follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Youtube and on our Blog

Our campus
Set across 130 acres, just outside of Cambridge, The Sanger Institute is located on the stunning Wellcome Genome Campus. Home to some of the world's foremost institutes and organisations in genomics and computational biology, committed to delivering life-changing science with the reach, scale, and creativity to solve some of humanity's greatest challenges.

Our benefits:
There’s an attractive benefits package on offer at the Genome Wellcome Campus. We appreciate the importance of achieving work-life balance and support this with a number of family and carer-friendly policies. Plus a flexible working policy for those who may wish to amend their working pattern or arrangement.
As well as the usual benefits you would expect, we go much further:

  • 25 days annual leave (extra 1 day to a maximum of 30 days for every year you work)
  • Auto-enrolment into a generous Group Defined Contribution Pension Scheme, with enhanced company contribution (for more information, see our Pensions page)
  • Up to 2 days annual paid volunteering leave
  • Up to 10 days paid Emergency Carers Leave per year
  • Family friendly environment including options for flexible and part-time working, an on-site Workplace Nursery salary Sacrifice Schemes for pre-school children and Summer holiday club
  • Life Assurance Cover and a Group Income Protection Scheme (if on a contract of 12 months or more)
  • Enhanced maternity leave and parental leave
  • Access to substantial number of courses and training events onsite
  • Private Healthcare Scheme (after 6 months service)
  • Eyecare and Dental payment plans
  • Concessions and discounts from our corporate perks site

Being part of the Genome Wellcome Campus you will be part of the beautiful working environment with an impressive range of benefits, services and facilities also including:

  • Free bus service to and from Campus, covering various routes around Cambridge, Saffron Walden and surrounding villages
  • A car-share initiative
  • Free parking
  • A number of on-site venues where you can meet, eat and socialise with colleagues
  • A thriving Sports and Social Club which provides members with subsidised access to a gym, tennis courts, sports hall, fitness classes and a vibrant social calendar of events

Find out more about our Genome Wellcome Campus.

We hold an Athena SWAN Bronze Award and will consider all individuals without discrimination and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for all employees, where everyone can thrive.

About Open Targets

Open Targets is a pioneering public-private partnership between EMBL-EBI (European Bioinformatics Institute), GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), the Wellcome Sanger Institute (Sanger), Celgene, Sanofi and Takeda, located on the Wellcome Genome Campus in Hinxton, near Cambridge, UK.

Open Targets brings together expertise from six 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 for discovering new medicines and share its data openly in the interests of accelerating drug discovery.