Postdoctoral Fellow –Hill 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 with benefits, subject to skills and experience
Applications closed
30 November 2023, 23:59 GMT
Hours per week
36 (full time)
Number of positions
Posted 22 December 2023
Background texture taken from the lab imagery.

Job title: Postdoctoral Fellow –Hill lab

Reporting to: Caroline Hill, Head of Developmental Signalling Laboratory

Contact term: Full-time, fixed term [4 years] position on Crick terms and conditions of employment.

The Research Group

The Developmental Signalling Laboratory headed by Caroline Hill focuses on cell signalling in early vertebrate development and disease - see Our work seeks to understand how TGF-β family signalling pathways function normally in early vertebrate development and in adult untransformed cells, and how these signalling pathways are perturbed in disease, in particular in cancer and the Marfan-related syndromes. Work in the Hill laboratory exploits the very powerful combination of early vertebrate developmental systems (zebrafish embryos), together with a variety of model tissue culture systems (human and mouse ES cell/iPS cell models), and mouse cancer models and uses a very wide range of methodologies including developmental and cell biology, cancer biology, next generation sequencing and computational modelling. The Hill lab encourages creative and independent thinking  and promotes excellent training and mentoring. The group currently comprises nine people – four postdocs, two PhD students, a clinical fellow, a masters student and a senior laboratory research scientist.

For selected recent publications see:       


The Projects

I am looking for two highly motivated postdocs with proven research abilities and

excellent publication records to work on two connected projects that address the issue of how endoderm and mesoderm progenitors are specified in zebrafish and how these two lineages separate during gastrulation.

Recent discoveries in my lab have led us to a new understanding of how combinatorial morphogen signals drive cell fate decisions during embryogenesis. We have shown that mesoderm and endoderm specification in zebrafish, which occurs in a salt and pepper pattern at the embryonic margin, requires the interplay of two signalling pathways, Nodal and Fgf/Erk. However, the cell fates are not determined by morphogen signalling levels. Instead, the distribution of endodermal progenitors results from a stochastic process where sustained Nodal signalling provides a competency window for the switching of bipotential progenitors to an endodermal fate. Switching is apparently stochastic and is inhibited by Fgf/Erk signalling. Cells that do not switch to the endodermal fate, differentiate to mesoderm.

One of the projects will focus on how the embryo generates the correct numbers of endoderm progenitors, even though their initial specification results from a stochastic process. We have shown that a correction mechanism exists during gastrulation and segmentation that buffers the numbers of endoderm progenitors. We want to understand how numbers of endoderm progenitors are sensed and how the numbers of progenitors are adjusted – deciphering the mechanisms involved. The second project will focus on how the endoderm and mesodermal lineages transcriptionally and physically separate during gastrulation and will make use of multi-omics scRNA-seq/scATAC-seq and novel lineage tracing approaches.

Postdoctoral Fellows at the Crick 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 embody and demonstrate our core Crick values:

Bold; Open; Collegial


  • PhD in a relevant biological science, ideally in developmental biology
  • Good knowledge and experience of working with zebrafish as a developmental system
  • Technical expertise in zebrafish embryology and imaging
  • Track record of writing papers as evidenced by publications or submitted manuscripts in referred journals
  • Evidence of data presentation at scientific meetings
  • Strong organisational skills and thorough record-keeping
  • Ability to work independently and also in a team


  • Experience in signal transduction research
  • Experience in mechanotransduction research (project 1)
  • Experience in ‘omics techniques and bioinformatic analysis (project 2)

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.

  • Please note there is no closing date for this role and applicants will be considered on a rolling basis. We encourage you to apply as soon as possible if you are interested in the role.

  • 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