Laboratory Research Officer - Iacaruso Lab

Role descriptor: Works as part of a team to provide scientific and/or technical support to staff, students and more senior colleagues. Works on straightforward tasks within well-established routines and procedures under regular, direct supervision and sometimes while undergoing formal training.

Key information

Job reference
R991
Salary
From £25,750 per annum, subject to skills and experience
Application close date
09 December 2022, 23:59 GMT
Hours per week
36 (full time)
Posted 18 November 2022
Background texture taken from the lab imagery.

Laboratory Research Officer – Iacaruso Lab

Reporting to: Florencia Iacaruso, Group leader

This is a full-time, fixed term (2 years) position on Crick terms and conditions of employment. Part time working will be considered; if you would like to discuss working flexibly, please advise at interview stage.

We are open to applicants with an interest to work full time or part time (~60%) and with a need for flexible working hours. However, a strong commitment to working onsite at the Crick is essential due to the requirements of the project. The position is an excellent opportunity for recent graduates wishing to acquire research experience. The candidate will receive all the necessary training in house.

The Role

The role of a Laboratory Research Officer at the Francis Crick Institute is diverse and rewarding. The role covers a wide range of different functions and allows for smooth continuity of lab operations, providing fundamental support to the research at the Crick. The role offers support to one or more scientific projects or programmes. Typical activities include:

• Collaborating with other lab members on/Assisting other lab members with/ research projects.

• Providing experimental or technical support to other lab members.

• Participating in academic activities, including group meetings and journal clubs, seminars, and scientific meetings.

The Research Group

We seek a talented and passionate scientist to join Dr Florencia Iacaruso’s lab on a project funded by the MRC. Dr Iacaruso’s laboratory studies general principles of neural circuit organization that govern sensory perception and behaviour. The laboratory aims to delineate how the functional organization of neuronal networks gives rise to multisensory representations and sensory-motor transformations. Current research is focused on circuitry in cortical and subcortical regions, such as the visual cortex and the superior colliculus.

Details of research projects currently being undertaken can be seen at:  https://www.crick.ac.uk/research/labs/flor-iacaruso/areas-of-interest.

Research techniques used in the laboratory include in vivo two-photon microscopy, Neuropixels recordings in freely moving mice, optogenetics and in vitro circuit mapping.

The lab is highly multicultural and immerse within the neurophysiology community at the Crick.

The Project

Neuromodulators, such as serotonin, shape how the brain processes sensory information and how we focus our attention. The malfunction of different serotonin receptor types has   been implicated in the pathogenesis of several neurological disorders, such as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and autism spectrum disorder (ASD). We have developed a behavioural task where mice are required to localise visual or auditory stimuli of different saliencies and we have generated unique, light-controllable proteins that allow us to mimic serotonin receptors in specific brain areas. Using these tools, we will study the mechanisms underlying serotonergic modulation of attentional processing with unprecedented precision.

The project is separated into two complementary parts and the candidate will be involved in both of these:

Taking advantage of our custom multisensory behavioural task, we will determine how serotonin contributes to attentional processing in a specific brain region essential for attentional processing (the superior colliculus or SC) in vivo. Behavioural readouts will be combined with state of the art optogenetic modulations, large-scale neuronal recordings and genetically encoded fluorescent serotonin indicators. We will determine the (sub-)cellular mechanisms underlying serotonergic modulation of specific neuron types in vitro. We will combine super sensitive 3-D serotonin receptor mapping, patch-clamp recordings in brain slices, optogenetics and pharmacology to reveal the receptor and cell-subtype-specific effects of serotonin in the SC.

Key responsibilities

These include but are not limited to:

  • Training mice on custom behavioural tasks
  • Assisting on optogenetics experiments or neuronal recordings
  • Performing a diversity of histology, staining and imaging procedures
  • Keeping up to date and accurate records
  • Collaborate with neuroscientists on projects
  • Actively contributing to the continuous improvement of the lab and lab culture

Experience and Competencies

We are looking for a driven candidate with a background in neuroscience, biology, biomedical sciences, computer science, or a related field. They will be involved in the training of mice and analysis of mouse behaviour, where mice perform a multisensory two-alternative forced choice task. The candidate will also be involved in performing neuronal recordings and/or optogenetic perturbation experiments in these mice during task performance.

Furthermore, the candidate will be involved in generating and analysing 3-D receptor maps of serotonin receptors in the mouse brain.

Good communication skills and the ability to work as part of a team are essential. Experience with basic mouse-handling would be beneficial.

The post holder should embody and demonstrate our core Crick values:

Bold; Open; Collegial

Essential

  • Experience with animal handling
  • Excellent organisational skills
  • Ability to prioritise and manage own time
  • Ability to work collaboratively and work independently 
  • Ability to communicate and present data/experimental results

Desirable:

  • BSc or MSc in neuroscience, biology, biomedical sciences, computer science, or a related field.
  • Experience in imaging techniques (confocal/two photon).
  • Experience with histological procedures (slicing/ staining).
  • Basic image processing skills
  • Basic programming experience in matlab/python or related languages
  • Personal licence holder.

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.
  • 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