Postdoctoral Training Fellow

Postdoctoral Training Fellows are expected to lead their own projects and collaborate within the lab and externally. The ability to work in a team is essential.

Key information

Job reference
From £40,125 per annum with benefits, subject to skills and experience
Application close date
14 August 2022, 23:59 BST
Hours per week
36 (full time)
Number of positions
Posted 12 August 2022
Background texture taken from the lab imagery.

Postdoctoral Training Fellow – V Li lab

Reporting to: Vivian Li, Senior Group Leader

This is a full-time, fixed term [4 years] position on Crick terms and conditions of employment.

The Research Group

Dr Li’s laboratory investigates the molecular regulation of intestinal stem cell (ISC) and cancer, focusing on WNT signalling, a molecular pathway contributing to virtually every developmental decision in the lifetime of an organism and is hyperactivated in nearly all colorectal cancer (CRC) to promote cancer cell growth. Despite decades of research, WNT pathway is considered as undruggable in cancer due to its pivotal role in many body systems (Novellasdemunt et al, 2015). The overarching aim of our lab is to find new druggable targets against WNT signalling to improve CRC treatment. Research techniques used in the laboratory include omics, “mini-guts” and transgenic mouse models. The mini-guts, also called organoids, are powerful research tools that allow us to model human organs and diseases in a dish (Corrò et al, 2020). The Li lab has pioneered the use of patient-derived organoids for regenerative medicine and disease modelling by developing innovative intestinal tissue engineering technology (Meran et al, 2020). Details of research projects currently being undertaken can be seen at:

The Project

Colorectal cancer (CRC) is one of the leading causes of cancer death in the world with over 1.8 million new cases in 2018. Current cancer treatment approaches rely largely on conventional methods such as chemotherapy or radiotherapy. Rising evidence suggests that targeted therapies and immunotherapies can improve treatment and survival rate of cancer patients. Immunotherapies have provided new promising therapeutic approaches to cancer treatment using our body’s natural defences. In particular, the discovery of immune checkpoint blockade has opened up exciting avenue for cancer treatment with remarkable response in cancers such as melanoma and non-small cell lung cancer. However, majority of CRCs have shown poor response to checkpoint blockade in the clinic. Our preliminary data show that WNT activation is associated with immune evasion in both cancer and injury-induced intestinal regeneration. The purpose of this project is to study the mechanisms underpinning WNT-mediated immune evasion in cancer and in intestinal regeneration using transgenic mouse models, single cell RNA-seq and organoids/lymphocytes co-culture. Up to two positions are recruited in this call to fulfil the roles.

In this project, some of the specific aims include but are not limited to:

  • 3D organoid culture derived from primary human and mouse intestine
  • Deriving immune cells from PBMCs and tissues
  • Co-culture of organoids with lymphocytes
  • Single cell RNA-seq prep and data analysis
  • Animal handling and endoscopic injection of organoids

The postholder will be responsible for:

  • Liaising with collaborators to perform shared experiments
  • Writing and contributing to the preparation of scientific manuscripts, reports, presentations and records of experimental plans and results
  • Supervising and providing technical advice to more junior members of the team when appropriate

Postdoctoral Training Fellows will lead their own projects, contribute to other projects on a collaborative basis (both in the lab and with external collaborators) and may guide PhD students in their research. The ability to work in a team is essential.

Key experience and competencies

The post holder should embody and demonstrate our core Crick values: Bold, Imaginative, Open, Dynamic and Collegial, in addition to the following:


  • PhD in Cancer Immunology, Developmental Biology, Stem Cells, Molecular Biology or in the final stages of PhD submission
  • Good knowledge and experience in molecular biology, intestinal stem cell biology and cancer immunology
  • Experience single cell RNA-seq including data analysis
  • Technical expertise in primary cell and 3D organoid culture
  • Experience in lymphocyte-organoid co-culture
  • Animal handling experience
  • Excellent track record of research as evidenced by publications in referred journals
  • Strong written and oral communication skills as evidenced by data presentation at scientific meetings
  • Ability to work independently as well as a good team player


  • Experience in orthotopic intestinal tumour model in mice
  • Experience in computational biology
  • Experience in cytokine profiling and/or checkpoint inhibition
  • Experience in histology and confocal imaging

About Us

At the Crick, we conduct research at the forefront of biomedical research. We combine rigour with an open and collaborative culture, and are outward-looking, reflecting our status as a partnership of six organisations aiming to pool knowledge, ideas and resources.

We have a wide research portfolio with no divisions or departments, bringing biomedical researchers together with clinicians, physical scientists and applied scientists from our pharmaceutical partners.

We aim to attract the most talented researchers and support them to tackle innovative research questions. Our science technology platforms provide our researchers with access to state-of-the-art technology and expertise.

We provide an excellent learning environment with dedicated education programmes in public engagement with science, education and personal development, and a postdoc training programme that prepares scientists for leadership roles in science.

  • If you are interested in applying for this role, please apply via our website.
  • The closing date for applications is 12.08.2022] at 23:59
  • All offers of employment are subject to successful security screening and continuous eligibility to work in the United Kingdom.
  • If you require a visa to work in the UK we will help support your application should you be successful