Technical Specialist / Senior Research Assistant - Immunology

We are seeking an enthusiastic and motivated Technical Specialist (Senior Research Assistant) with immunology expertise to provide experimental, scientific and operational support to the Open Targets Validation Lab at the Wellcome Sanger Institute. Within the Open Targets Consortium, we run a number of projects focusing on diseases with inflammatory component. These projects generate lists of targets with new therapeutic potential, and the mission of the Validation Lab is to provide additional experimental evidence in support of the relevance of these targets in disease biology.

Key Responsibilities: 

You will lead the development of experimental workflows to validate targets emerging from projects in our Immunology & Inflammation therapy area, working closely with world-leading experts from academia and industry. You will support the Open Targets Validation Lab to validate and characterise putative therapeutic targets, using target perturbation tools, such as CRISPR-Cas9, RNAi and small molecule inhibitors, in a variety of experimental primary immune cell models. Your work will involve establishing immune cell phenotyping assays and scaling up/miniaturising them to medium throughput, using state of the art liquid handling, live-cell and high-content imaging facilities.

You will work closely with the academic teams that lead our target discovery immune projects to prioritise targets for validation and transfer technology, experimental systems and functional assays into the Validation Lab. Additionally, you will work with industry partners to ensure that the generated evidence informs the drug development decision making process.

This is an ideal role for candidates passionate about translational research and a desire to work at the intersection of academia and industry. The position is initially funded for 3 years, with the possibility for extension.

 More about the Open Targets and the Validation Lab@

Open Targets aims to provide evidence on the biological validity of therapeutic targets and provide an initial assessment on the effectiveness of a pharmacological intervention strategy built around these targets. To achieve this, Open Targets supports multiple large-scale experimental projects that generate potential target lists, and while a small number of these targets are followed up by the original project team, capacity constraints often leave many potentially interesting results under-investigated.  

 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, through the implementation of a large-scale target validation framework. Using 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.

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


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

Essential Skills

  • Degree in Cellular Biology, Immunology or related discipline
  • PhD or post-graduate degree in related discipline or equivalent experience
  • Substantial research experience and technical skills in cellular biology and/or experimental immunology
  • Substantial experience in human cell culture, including primary immune cells (experience with lymphocytes will be a plus)
  • Extensive experience in a cell biology lab environment and in-depth understanding of fundamental principles in assay development and optimisation, including QC implementation, use of experimental controls, understanding of assay detection ranges, multiplexing
  • Experience in real-time and immunofluorescence imaging techniques
  • Ability to communicate ideas and results effectively
  • Computer literate with experience in data analysis, visualisation and presentation
  • Fluent in written and spoken English
  • Proven track record of delivering complex experimental scientific projects
  • Excellent prioritisation and time management skills, and ability to organise own workload
  • Highly developed problem-solving skills
  • Effective team player with strong interpersonal skills
  • Evidence of ability to work effectively in an interdisciplinary environment.

Other information

Application process:

Please apply with your CV and include a cover letter with your application describing how you meet the criteria for the role, using the criteria set out above and in the job description.

Interviews will take place: 5th- 9th September 2022

We aim to attract, recruit, retain and develop talent from the widest possible talent pool, thereby gaining insight and access to different markets to generate a greater impact on the world. We have a supportive culture with the following staff networks, LGBTQ+, Parents and Carers and Race Equity to bring people together to share experiences, offer specific support and development opportunities and raise awareness. The networks are also a place for allies to provide support to others.



About Us

The Wellcome Sanger Institute is a world leading genomics research centre. Our findings are used to improve health and to understand life on Earth.

Our benefits:

There’s an attractive benefits package on offer at the Wellcome Genome 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 is accessible on day 1 for all 
  • Group Income Protection Scheme (if on a contract exceeding 12 months)
  • Enhanced maternity, parental and adoption leave
  • Access to substantial number of courses and training events onsite
  • Private Healthcare Scheme 
  • Eyecare and Dental payment plans
  • Concessions and discounts from our corporate perks site

Being part of the Wellcome Genome 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

In 2020 we were awarded an Athena SWAN Silver Award. We 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 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.