Key information

Job reference
From £41,935 with benefits, subject to skills and experience
Hours per week
36 (full time)
Number of positions
Posted 23 November 2023
Background texture taken from the lab imagery.

Postdoctoral Fellow Job Description

Job title: Postdoctoral Fellow – N Tapon lab

Reporting to: Nicolas Tapon, Principal Group Leader

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

Closing date and time: The position will remain open until suitable candidates are found.

The Research Group

The Tapon lab studies the control of tissue and body size during development and evolution. How do cells in a developing organism stop growing and dividing when the correct body size and shape has been reached? How is the appropriate tissue architecture generated during development to produce functional organs? These fundamental biological questions have clear implications for cancer, where cells lose the ability to respond to tissue size boundaries, and for regenerative medicine, where the proliferative potential of quiescent cells must be unleashed in a controlled manner.

Our goal is to understand how a diverse set of cues acting at the local, tissue autonomous level (e.g. mechanical forces, tissue architecture, developmental signalling pathways) are integrated with systemic signals (e.g. nutrient availability, hormones) to determine final animal size. We also want to discover the cellular and molecular mechanisms that account for tissue and body size diversity in animals. Our lab combines live-imaging and quantitative developmental and evolutionary biology approaches to unravel the dynamics and regulatory inputs of developmental growth in Drosophila with in-depth exploration of the molecular mechanisms that underpin this process in fly and mammalian cells.

We use a broad range of techniques, from genetics, advanced light and electron microscopy, machine learning, mathematical modelling, to proteomics, genomics and structural biology.

Details of our ongoing work and publications can be found on our web site:

The Project

We are seeking a motivated postdoctoral scientist who will investigate the cellular and molecular mechanisms of organ size evolution using the abdominal epidermis of fruit flies of the Drosophila genus species as model systems.

A key limitation to our understanding of size control has been the difficulty of directly observing the kinetics of tissue expansion and of the developmental growth termination process in a living organism. We have developed state-of-the-art live-imaging, analytical and modelling tools that enable us to directly track developmental growth of the Drosophila melanogaster adult abdominal epidermis and unravel the regulatory inputs that dictate tissue size (PMID: 35167804). The successful candidate will take advantage of the broad variation in abdomen sizes across the Drosophila genus and the precision of our quantitative approach to developmental growth in the abdominal epidermis to explore tissue size control in differently sized Drosophila species. We will ask what cellular behaviours and molecular mechanisms underpin the evolution of organ size. Using cutting-edge gene editing techniques, we will create genetic tools in several species of different sizes and perform a comparative quantitative developmental biology approach to understand the cellular basis of abdomen size differences across species. Using comparative transcriptomics and knowledge gained from our work on size control in the Drosophila melanogaster abdominal epidermis, we will identify the molecular mechanisms that drive the evolution of tissue size.

Postdoctoral 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 be independent, passionate about evolutionary developmental biology and embody our core Crick values: Bold; Open; Collegial.


  • PhD in evolutionary developmental biology or a related field, or in the final stages of PhD submission

  • Strong expertise in evo-devo and comparative evolutionary biology approaches

  • Interest in working across disciplines with physicists

  • Track record of writing scientific papers as evidenced by published or submitted manuscripts

  • Excellent communication skills, ability to work both independently and collaboratively in a highly multi-disciplinary team

  • Willingness to actively contribute to a productive and positive lab atmosphere


  • Experience of Drosophila melanogaster or other insect species as model systems

  • Experience in light microscopy and analysis of imaging data

  • Experience in coding (e.g. R, Matlab, Python)

  • Experience in comparative genomics

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 position will remain open until suitable candidates are found.

  • 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