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Advanced Research Assistant: Genetic Screens in Dementia

Salary range £24,589 to £30,995 pa plus excellent benefits.

Fixed-Term for 3 years.

An Advanced Research Assistant position is available to work on a collaborative project combining human stem cell systems and CRISPR screens to understand the fundamental biology of dementia. The position will be based in Rick Livesey’s group at the Wellcome Trust/Cancer Research UK Gurdon Institute. This project is a collaboration between Dr Ludovic Vallier (Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute; WTSI), Dr Rick Livesey and Dr Heike Hering (Biogen) and forms part of the Open Targets translational initiative (

This Open Targets project is an exciting opportunity for the successful candidate to assist in the application of cutting edge technology, using induced pluripotent stem cells (IPSC) and CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing, to identify new potential therapeutic targets for Alzheimer’s disease. The successful candidate will be based in the centre of Cambridge at the Gurdon Institute, where they will contribute to the optimisation and execution of robust CRISPR – Cas9 based screening assays to identify targets that modulate a key process in the progression of dementia in human stem cell models. We welcome candidates with a background in cell biology, molecular biology and/or neurobiology with experience in performing cell and molecular biological assays. Experience in mammalian cell culture and flow cytometry are desirable, as is a background with handling human IPSC.

Job Reference

Essential Skills

  • Graduate qualification in Biological Sciences, or equivalent qualification.
  • Experience of core molecular and cell biology techniques.
  • Experience with flow cytometry and mammalian cell culture.
  • Excellent organisational, communication skills and work ethic. 
  • Ability to independently develop, optimise and deploy research support, as a member of a closely collaborative team.
  • Ability to work both as part of a team and also independently once appropriate training and guidance have been provided.
  • Good communication skills to allow accurate information to be exchanged
  • Good computer skills in the use of office software (e.g. Excel, Word, Powerpoint) 

Ideal Skills

  • Experience with CRISPR-Cas genome engineering
  • A background in neurobiology, especially Alzheimer’s disease research
  • Experience in handling human induced pluripotent stem cells
  • Experience of high-throughput genomics.

Other information

Open Targets is a recently established pioneering public-private initiative between GlaxoSmithKline, Biogen, EMBL-EBI (European Bioinformatics Institute) and the WTSI. Open Targets aims 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. The goal of the platform is to apply the latest innovations in systems biology and genome sequencing to improve the success rate for discovering new medicines and share its data openly with the scientific community in the interests of accelerating drug discovery.

Other Informations

The Sanger Institute is a charitably funded research centre focused on understanding the role of genetics in health and disease. We use state of the art large-scale genomic approaches to drive world-leading projects to uncover the basis of genetic and infectious disease. Our goal is to provide results that can be translated into diagnostics, treatments or therapies that reduce global health burdens.

The Institute is located near Cambridge, UK on the stunning Wellcome Genome Campus. This growing and dynamic site is the British hub of genomic science. It hosts the European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI), Open Targets, a Biodata Innovation Centre and will soon host Genomics England Limited’s 100,000 Genomes Sequencing Centre. The Campus is also home to Wellcome Genome Campus Connecting Science. Connecting Science inspires new thinking, sparks conversation and supports learning by drawing on the ground-breaking research taking place on the Campus. Its mission is to enable everyone to explore genomic science and its impact on research, health and society.

To help researchers to develop their skills and networks, the Institute hosts a range of scientific seminars with internal and invited speakers, scientific group meetings and skills development workshops.

Our Benefits include: Defined Contribution Pension Scheme, Group Income Protection, Healthcare scheme, Childcare Vouchers, Workplace Nursery and 25 days Annual Leave, increasing by one day per year up to a maximum of 30, plus Bank Holidays. We also have a gym, two cafes, dining facilities, and a free campus bus service. Our thriving Sports and Social Club provides many opportunities to meet with people working across the campus.

Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute welcomes applications from all candidates irrespective of age, disability, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, race, religion or belief, or marital or civil partnership status.

Please include a covering letter and CV with your application.  

Closing date for applications:  11th June 2017, however applications will be considered and reviewed on an on-going basis and therefore the post may be filled before the deadline.