2x Postdoctoral Research Fellows in Host-Pathogen Interaction (Immunology, Cell Biology)

Key information

Job reference
From £40,125 with benefits, subject to skills and experience.
Hours per week
36 (full time)
Posted 13 October 2022
Background texture taken from the lab imagery.

Job title: Postdoctoral Project Research Scientist (Immunology or Cell Biology)     


Location: The Francis Crick Institute, London & The Gulbenkian Institute, Oerias, Portugal  

Contract: Full time, Fixed term until 30 September 2023 with the possibility to extend to 5 years in total.

Two Wellcome Trust funded postdoctoral research posts are immediately available in the laboratory of Moritz Treeck (www.treecklab.org). The postholders will start at the Francis Crick Institute in London with a contractual end date of 30 September 2023 and then transition to the Gulbenkian Institute near Lisbon, where the Treecklab is moving in September 2023. The positions are fully funded for up to 5 years with a generous consumables budget, and new employment contracts will be issued when the lab move takes place.

Summary of the role

Toxoplasma gondii, one of the most successful intracellular parasites, infects any nucleated cell of any warm-blooded animal. The parasite is able to hide from the immune system, lurking in a dormant state for many years. But when the immune system changes – during pregnancy or as AIDS develops, for example – then it can re-emerge and cause serious health problems. In addition, virulent parasite strains that cause disease in otherwise healthy humans are prevalent in South- and Central America. To alter the host immune response and survive in a range of hosts, the parasite secretes ~200 poorly characterized proteins into the host cell. A major obstacle is to identify which effectors are important in which species and cell type.

We will employ a novel and very powerful and unbiased technology we devised (called EffectorSEQ), that allows us to correlate host cell transcriptomic changes to infection by various Toxoplasma mutants in a highly multiplexed manner using the latest single cell sequencing technology combined with CRISPR mutant pools.  We will use this technique to first identify all Toxoplasma effector proteins important for host cell transcriptional responses in Toxoplasma strains that differ in virulence, in different host species and cell types. We will then unravel the function of the effectors by using cell biological and immunological techniques.

We are looking for two motivated postdocs with a strong interest in infection biology and host-pathogen interaction to join us in this project. We are particularly interested in hearing from candidates with a background in either of the following:

  • Cell biology of infection
  • Cellular immunology of the innate immune system.

Postdocs are expected to lead their own projects, contribute to other projects on a collaborative basis (both in the lab and with external collaborators) and guide PhD students in their research

About us

The members of the lab are interested to investigate how intracellular parasites hide from the immune system, spread within the body and emerge to infect others.

We work on two different, yet related intracellular parasites that infect humans, Plasmodium falciparum, the causative agent of severe human malaria, and Toxoplasma gondii.

We foster a diverse group of scientists coming from various scientific backgrounds and employ a range of techniques to answer our questions including quantitative proteomics, CRISPR screens, single-cell RNA seq, immunology, cell biology and biochemical methods. See www.treecklab.org for an overview of the lab and projects. As such, we have a diverse team of like-minded scientists that can learn from each other and tackle questions in a collaborative and fun way, while providing substantial room to build an independent niche within the team.

Candidates are expected to start as soon as possible at the Francis Crick Institute in London, and then transition to the Gulbenkian Institute near Lisbon in September 2023, or shortly afterwards.

Both the Crick and the Gulbenkian Institute offer outstanding science support facilities, an active mentoring programme for Postdocs and a stimulating intellectual environment.

  • If you are interested in applying for this role, please apply via our website.
  • A cover letter detailing your research interests and how they align with the work of the laboratory, and expertise you bring to the team is essential.   
  • Positions are available immediately. Candidates should indicate their earliest potential start date in the cover letter.
  • There is no closing date: positions will be filled when suitable candidates are found.
  • All offers of employment are subject to successful security screening and continuous eligibility to work in the United Kingdom, and the European Union.
  • Informal requests can be made to moritz.treeck@crick.ac.uk

Essential Qualifications, experience and competencies

  • PhD in a field related to the above, or in the final stages of PhD submission
  • Good knowledge and experience in cell biology of the host cell, molecular parasite biology or immunology
  • Track record of writing papers as evidenced by publications or submitted manuscripts in referred journals. Unpublished data should be described in a ~1/2 page summary, including the importance of the findings.
  • Evidence of data presentation at scientific meetings
  • Experience of experimental design
  • Ability to work independently and strong teamwork skills