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Advanced Research Assistant - Culture Collection Curator

Salary in the region of £26,693 - £32,299 (dependent on experience) plus excellent benefits

Fixed term for 2 years

An Advanced Research Assistant position is available at the Wellcome Sanger Institute under the leadership of Dr Trevor Lawley.  We are looking for an enthusiastic and skilled research assistant to join the Host-Microbiota Interactions Lab ( This is an exciting opportunity for the successful candidate to join a dynamic team investigating the role of the microbiota in human health and a variety of diseases, such as autoimmunity, infections and cancers, using genomics, microbiology and model organisms. There is a strong translational focus to the Lab with the goal of developing novel, microbiome based diagnostics and therapeutics.

Over the past several years, the HMIL has accumulated a massive bacterial culture collection of over 30,000 strains that are housed at the Sanger Institute. This is one of the largest human microbiome culture collections in the world and will underpin future work in HMIL, as well as other Sanger Programmes such as Cancer and Human Genetics. The culture collection now includes strains from individuals from the Western world including healthy adults, adults with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), adults undergoing antibiotic therapy, adults with cancer and children born via vaginal and C section delivery.

The successful candidate will be responsible for managing the culture collection and maintaining the culture collection for posterity. This will include leading front-line laboratory support for large scale sample management focusing on the following tasks:

  1. Test for strain viability and purity, and optimise SOPs for long-term storage
  2. Consolidate existing culture collection in to one standardised biobank
  3. Work with Bioinformaticians to develop an integrated, searchable platform linking isolates with sequenced genomes
  4. Deposit representative members of the collection in public repositories for the research community to access
  5. To serve as point of contact for scientists wishing to access strains for experiments
Job Reference

Essential Skills

  • Degree in Biological Sciences, or equivalent qualification or experience 
  • Experience with core molecular and microbiology techniques
  • Ability to keep neat and accurate records 
  • Effective at communicating and liaising with others
  • Computer-literate
  • Experience of contributing to and following SOPs
  • Knowledge of meaningful Health and Safety legislation 
  • Ability to work independently and within a group but be able to recognise when to seek help 
  • Good written and oral communication skills 
  • Ability to test and implement new approaches and techniques 
  • Ability to work to a schedule and successfully manage and prioritise multiple competing projects


Ideal Skills

  • Microbiological experience of working with strict anaerobic bacteria
  • Experience of working in a Containment Level 2 (CL2) Laboratory

Other information

The Wellcome Sanger Institute is a charitably funded research centre and committed to training the next generation of genome scientists. Focused on understanding the role of genetics in health and disease and a world leader in the genomic revolution, our mission is to use genome sequences to advance understanding of human and pathogen biology in order to improve human health. We aim to provide results that can be translated into diagnostics, treatments or therapies that reduce global health burdens. Our science is large-scale and organised into Programmes, led by our Faculty who conceive and deliver our science, and supported by our Scientific Operations teams responsible for all data production pipelines at the Institute.

Our Campus: Set over 125 acres, the stunning and dynamic Wellcome Genome Campus is the biggest aggregate concentration of people in the world working on the common theme of Genomes and BioData. It brings together a diverse and exceptional scientific community, committed to delivering life-changing science with the reach, scale and imagination to pursue some of humanity’s greatest challenges.

Our Benefits: Our employees have access to a comprehensive range of benefits and facilities including:

  • Group Defined Contribution Pension Scheme and Life Assurance
  • Group Income Protection
  • Private Health Insurance
  • 25 days annual leave, increasing by one day a year to a maximum of 30
  • Family friendly environment including options for flexible and part-time working, a childcare voucher scheme, Campus Nursery and Summer holiday club
  • Two days paid Employee Volunteering Leave a year
  • Employee Discount Scheme
  • Campus Gym, tennis courts, cricket pitch and sports hall plus a range of dining facilities
  • Active Campus Sports and Social Club
  • Free Campus Bus Service

Genome Research Limited is an Equal Opportunity employer. As part of our commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion and promoting equality in careers in science, we hold an Athena SWAN Bronze Award and have an active Equality, Diversity and Inclusion programme of activity. We will consider all applicants without discrimination on grounds of disability, sexual orientation, pregnancy or maternity leave status, race or national or ethnic origin, age, religion or belief, gender identity or re-assignment, marital or civil partnership status, protected veteran status (if applicable) or any other characteristic protected by law. We are open to a range of UK-based flexible working options including part-time or full-time employment as well as flexible hours due to caring or other commitments.

Please include a covering letter and CV with your application.  Closing date: 10th August 2018