Postdoctoral Fellow - Ultanir Lab

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

Key information

Job reference
From £41,935, subject to skills and experience
Applications closed
20 December 2023, 23:59 GMT
Hours per week
36 (full time)
Posted 21 November 2023
Background texture taken from the lab imagery.

Postdoctoral Fellow - Ultanir Lab

Reporting to: Sila Ultanir, Group Leader

Contact term: This is a full-time, fixed term (4-year) position on Crick terms and conditions of employment.  

The Research Group

An exciting opportunity for a motivated postdoctoral scientist to join Kinases and Brain Development laboratory at the Francis Crick Institute, London, UK.

Dr Ultanir’s laboratory focuses on the role of protein kinases in neuronal development and function. Kinases regulate numerous cellular processes by phosphorylating their substrates and altering their function. CDKL5 is a brain enriched serine/threonine kinase. Loss of function mutations of CDKL5 cause a severe neurodevelopmental disorder with early-onset seizures and profound developmental delays, termed CDKL5 deficiency disorder (CDD). Our lab’s aim is to understand the roles of CDKL5 in the brain and to reveal how loss of CDKL5 leads to neuronal pathology.  Ultanir lab uses state of the art chemical genetics and mass spectrometry methods to determine the substrates and signaling pathways regulated by kinases in mouse models. To study the roles of substrate phosphorylation, we generate phosphomutant mouse models and investigate cellular, molecular deficits, synaptic physiology and behaviour phenotypes. Our lab revealed CDKL5’s downstream effectors of microtubule binding proteins (Baltussen et al, 2018) and voltage-gated calcium channel Cav2.3 (Sampedro-Castaneda et al, 2023). These discoveries helped gain a better understanding of CDKL5 function and CDD pathology. In this new Crick core-funded postdoctoral project, we will use novel mouse models to explore CDKL5 substrates roles in synaptogenesis and their role in epilepsy in vivo.

The postdoctoral fellow will utilize variety of techniques including biochemistry, live-imaging, electrophysiology, in vivo functional recordings and behaviour to study the roles of phosphorylations in neuronal development and epileptogenesis in mice. Ultanir lab is part of a rich neuroscience community at the Francis Crick Institute. Postdoctoral Training Fellow will lead their own projects, contribute to other projects on a collaborative basis and help train PhD students.

Baltussen LL, Negraes PD, Silvestre M, Claxton S, Moeskops M, Christodoulou E, Flynn HR, Snijders AP, Muotri AR, Ultanir SK (2018) Chemical genetic identification of CDKL5 substrates reveals its role in neuronal microtubule dynamics. The EMBO journal 37

Sampedro-Castañeda M, Baltussen LL, Lopes AT, Qiu Y, Sirvio L, Mihaylov SR, Claxton S, Richardson JC, Lignani G, Ultanir SK (2023) Epilepsy-linked kinase CDKL5 phosphorylates voltage-gated calcium channel Cav2.3, altering inactivation kinetics and neuronal excitability. bioRxiv: 2022.2011.2024.517538, Nature Communications, in press

Key experience and competencies

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

Bold; Open; Collegial


  • PhD in biology, neuroscience or a related discipline or in the final stages of PhD submission
  • Good knowledge on neuronal differentiation and synaptogenesis
  • Track record of writing papers as evidenced by publications or submitted manuscripts in referred journals
  • Evidence of data presentation at scientific meetings


  • Experience in epilepsy models
  • Experience in stereotaxic injections in rodents
  • Experience in live-imaging
  • Experience in electrophysiology

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