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Postdoctoral Fellow - Development of a Mesothelioma Organoid Biobank

Salary in the region of £31,897 - £39,240 (dependent on experience) plus excellent benefits

Fixed term for 3 years

Precision medicine aims to treat patients according to the genetics of their tumour, choosing their treatment based on the presence of an actionable mutation and thus increasing the chance of therapeutic success. To date, no targeted agents have been approved to treat malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM). Consequently, survival rates have remained relatively static and first-line chemotherapy unchanged for nearly a decade. Efforts have been made to understand the genetic landscape of MPM through large sequencing studies but for this approach to work, better preclinical models of MPM that faithfully reflect the diversity of disease are urgently required.

As part of the international Human Cancer Models Initiative (human-cancer-model-initiative-hcmi; https://ocg.cancer.gov/programs/HCMI), the Wellcome Sanger Institute has generated and genomically characterised (WGS and RNAseq) in the region of 100 cancer organoid models from colon, oesophageal and pancreatic cancer patient samples and has begun using the organoid cultures to model patient responses to therapy.

We are expanding this programme of work to other cancer types of interest, in particular cancers of high clinical unmet need and subsequently we wish to recruit a  talented postdoctoral fellow to drive the optimisation and development of the methodologies for efficient derivation of MPM organoid models.

Aims and Objectives

  • Establish robust MPM organoid culturederivation protocols.
  • Evaluate if the organoid cultures recapitulate the genomic landscape of the matched primary tissue from which they were derived.
  • Determine the genetic and phenotypic stability of MPM organoid cultures in culture.
  • Use MPM organoid cultures to model drug response.
  • Integrate genetic and phenotypic datasets from newly derived MPM organoid models and existing primary MPM cell lines to determine if a larger cohort better recapitulates the clinical disease and if further treatment targets and genetic biomarkers can be identified.             

The ideal applicant will have a PhD in cancer biology, developmental biology or a related discipline, with demonstrated expertise in cell biology. This position is a collaboration between Dr. Mathew Garnett (https://www.sanger.ac.uk/science/groups/garnett-group), Dr. Robert Rintoul (https://www.oncology.cam.ac.uk/research/our-research/rintoul) and Prof. Stefan Marciniak (https://www.cimr.cam.ac.uk/research/principal-investigators/principal-investigators-i-p/marciniak; http://www.med.cam.ac.uk/marciniak/). 

The position will be split between the Garnett and Marcinak laboratories and a significant amount of time will be spent at both laboratories. Additionally, time will also be spent at clinical sites around the country liaising with surgeons and other MPM experts.

Job Reference
83439

Essential Skills

  • PhD in biological sciences (or similar)
  • Experience in a research environment with evidence of publishing scientific research
  • Ability to oversee day to day direction of projects
  • Proven independent working style, technical problem solving, data analysis and generation of novel ideas
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills, including ability to effectively communicate with collaborators and present information both formally and informally to different scientific audiences
  • Ability to work as part of a team

Ideal Skills

  • Experience of large dataset analysis such as next-generation sequencing or phenotypic screens
  • Experience of organoid derivation and culturing

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 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.

Please include a covering letter and CV with your application. Closing date for applications: 8th May 2019