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
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.
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/)
PEACE (https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT03004755) and
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.
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.
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
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:
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
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
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: firstname.lastname@example.org