Laboratory Research Scientist

Deadline for applications has passed.

Key information

Job reference
R1385
Salary
From £31,675 per annum plus benefits, subject to skills and experience
Applications closed
19 December 2023, 23:59 GMT
Hours per week
36 (full time)
Posted 28 November 2023
Background texture taken from the lab imagery.

Job title:                 Laboratory Research Scientist (LRS) – Cancer Dynamics Laboratory

Reporting to:         Samra Turajlic, Group Leader

Contract term:      This is a full-time, fixed term 2 year position on Crick terms and conditions of employment


The Role

An exciting opportunity has arisen for a Laboratory Research Scientist to join the research group of Dr. Samra Turajlic, Cancer Dynamics Laboratory, based at the Francis Crick Institute. The position is ideally suited to an individual with an interest in biology/oncology.

We are looking for an enthusiastic and highly motivated early career scientist/technician to join our multidisciplinary group focused on understanding cancer evolution and treatment resistance, with the ultimate aim of improving the outcomes of patients with cancer. This post will provide tissue culture skills and expertise to support the group’s wide range of research projects. The post holder will be expected to provide support for all tissue culture activities of the lab, including preparation and maintenance of organoids and iPSC lines, and preparation of ex vivo explant fragments for biobanking and subsequent analyses (doi: 10.1038/s41591-021-01398-3). They will also be responsible for training other team members in tissue culture techniques as required and will manage stocks of reagents and consumables related to tissue culture.

On a rotational basis with other members of the lab, the post holder will be responsible for carrying out DNA and RNA extraction and quantification. The post holder will also be expected to support additional routine activities of the lab as needed, including reception and pre-processing of a wide range of clinical samples collected as part of clinical trials. To this end, the postholder will acquire experience in preparation of serum, plasma and PBMCs from blood.

This role will require flexible working hours, including a late shift 2-3 days per week, expected to be 12pm to 8 pm, as necessitated by sample processing requirements.

Project summary

The successful applicant will work within the Cancer Dynamics Laboratory to support multiple studies. Our research programme is embedded in multiple large-scale translational studies, unique in their nature, including:

TRACERx Renal (http://tracerx.co.uk/studies/renal/)

Melanoma (http://tracerx.co.uk/studies/melanoma/)

PEACE (https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT03004755) and

HOLST-F (https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT03832062).

In our work to date, we have uncovered highly conserved evolutionary paths that are followed by kidney cancers (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29656895), challenging the notion of limitless evolutionary trajectories. We observed highly conserved patterns of mutation ordering and epistasis, frequent parallel evolution and convergence onto a common evolutionary solution to drive metastases. We will leverage these studies to uncover the functional bases of our observations, and the role of the tumour microenvironment (TME), immune system and anti-cancer therapies but also develop tractable ways of measuring evolutionary features in routine practice across different cancer types. Therefore, a proportion of our work involves molecular analysis of human tissue samples, including next generation sequencing and complex immunohistochemistry methods, while another stream relates to functional models which are derived from patient tissue or are created using genome editing.

The successful candidate will join a multidisciplinary, close-knit team, working together with several collaborators internal and external, national and international.

Key responsibilities

Day-to-day cover of the laboratory work
The post holder will be expected to participate in all core duties related to the day-to day running of the laboratory, including, but not limited to general housekeeping, stock management, reagent preparation, and equipment maintenance.

Tissue culture and tissue fragment preparation

The post holder will be responsible for establishing and maintaining cell cultures and organoids, in addition to preparing ex vivo explant fragments for subsequent drug response studies, often collected as part of clinical trials. A high-level of accuracy and attention to detail is required as complex research projects will run concurrently.

Specimen reception sample pre-processing
The post holder will support specimen reception and sample pre-processing as needed. This involves receiving, sampling, storing, and processing a wide range of pathology specimens.

DNA and RNA extraction from blood and tissue

The role will also require the postholder to perform DNA and RNA extraction from blood and tissue samples (using Qiagen extraction kits) and quality assessment of DNA and RNA samples (using Qubit and Nanodrop), on a rotational basis within the team.

Quality Assurance
The post holder will adhere to and be fully conversant with appropriate departmental policies and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and work within Health and Safety guidelines at all times. As a core member of the laboratory team, the post holder will be responsible for ensuring accurate, comprehensive records are maintained and will support senior members in quality control.


The post holder would be expected to support new staff and visitors during their training and provide advice and guidance to other support workers.

The post holder will also attend regular team meetings and liaise with team members to provide regular progress updates and highlight any issues. Finally, they will be expected to be familiar with relevant legislation related to human sample and data handling/storage.

The post holder will be required to comply with the Health & Safety regulations of the department and to be aware of and act on:

  • Disciplinary procedure and disciplinary rules

  • Grievance procedure

  • Section 7 and 8 of the Health and Safety at Work Act

  • Departmental Fire Guidelines

  • Equal Opportunities Policy

Personal / Professional Development
The post holder will attend or participate in lectures, meetings and conferences as appropriate and attend mandatory or optional training sessions as required.

In addition, the post holder will be expected to carry out any other duties and responsibilities within the scope, spirit and purpose of the post and its grading as requested by the line managers. These will include sharing in departmental duties and possibly out of hours working.

Note: This job description reflects the present requirements of the post. As duties and responsibilities change and develop the job description will be reviewed and be subject to amendment in consultation with the post holder.

Experience and competencies

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

Essential

  • Degree in biological sciences or equivalent

  • Demonstrable understanding of quality control in a laboratory setting, appropriate sample handling and laboratory data management

  • Good tissue culture experience and skills

  • Excellent aseptic technique

  • Experience of working to laboratory standard operating procedures

  • Strong written and oral communications skills

  • Excellent attention to detail; the role requires a strong focus on robust data management

  • Excellent time management and laboratory record keeping

  • Very good experience with Microsoft Excel and competency in other standard Office packages

  • Confidence using computer software for record keeping and data management, such as MS Excel, an electronic lab notebook or Laboratory Information Management Systems (LIMS); training on specific software will be provided.

  • Organisational and problem-solving skills

  • Flexible and cooperative approach to working with others

  • Strong collaborative ability and experience of working in a team to achieve results

  • Initiative to work independently but to understand when to refer to appropriate person when necessary

  • Enthusiasm and motivation to contribute to scientific research

Desirable

  • Experience of establishing and/or maintaining 3D cultures and/or iPSC lines

  • Experience of biological sample processing in an academic, clinical or industrial laboratory

  • Experience in molecular biology techniques such as DNA/RNA extraction or PCR

  • Experience of translational research

  • Routine use of LIMS for sample management

  • Experience in laboratory quality management

  • Experience handling human tissue samples

  • Experience working with biological samples under Containment Level 2 (CL2) conditions

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

Informal enquiries relating to this role can be addressed to Samra Turajlic: samra.turajlic@crick.ac.uk