Research Associate (Plasticity and Cancer)

University of Cambridge - Department of Oncology

We offer a postdoctoral position available in the laboratory of Dr Daniel Munoz-Espin in the Department of Oncology at the University of Cambridge to gain insight into the processes that lie at the origin of cancer. This post is funded by the Cambridge Cancer Centre.

We seek an individual working at the interface between cellular plasticity, pluripotency, de-differentiation processes and cancer, with a focus on (but not restricted to) lung tumours.

Candidates must have a PhD in the biological, biochemical or biomedical sciences, relevant research experience working in fundamental research, cancer models, human samples, confocal microscopy, flow cytometry and/or culture of stem and iPS cells. Candidates must have at least one first-author research article accepted for publication in a major peer-reviewed journal. International experience will be valued positively.

One of the main goals of the Munoz-Espin lab's research program is the understanding of the mechanisms and processes that contribute to the origin of cancer at the cellular level, which remains a formidable challenge in oncology. In particular, the impact of de-differentiation processes on tumour initiation. To do so, the Munoz-Espin group will use an in vivo model to transiently induce the expression of the four Yamanaka factors, giving rise to different levels of de-differentiation and the activation of pluripotency genes. In vivo reprogramming will be performed in a background of lung cancer and associated pathologies, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and will be expanded to other cancers.

Specific goals are: (i) to address the connection between the gain of cellular plasticity, de-differentiation processes and lung tumorigenesis; (ii) to isolate tumour precursor cells and to characterise gene expression profiles and epigenetics; and (iii) to manipulate genetically tumour suppressors and/or cell cycle inhibitors to test and to formulate mechanistic hypothesis.

Results will allow to conclude whether lung cancer initiation requires that cells undergo a plastic state with pluripotency features, and whether reprogramming-induced pluripotency is a potent lung oncogenic promoter.

Informal enquiries are welcomed, and should be directed to Dr Munoz-Espin at

Fixed-term: The funds for this post are available for 3 years in the first instance.

Once an offer of employment has been accepted, the successful candidate will be required to undergo a health assessment and a security check.

To apply online for this vacancy and to view further information about the role, please visit: This will take you to the role on the University’s Job Opportunities pages. There you will need to click on the 'Apply online' button and register an account with the University's Web Recruitment System (if you have not already) and log in before completing the online application form.

The interview date is to be confirmed.

Please include details of your referees, including email address and phone number, one of which must be your most recent line manager.

Please quote reference RD10131 on your application and in any correspondence about this vacancy.

The University values diversity and is committed to equality of opportunity.

The University has a responsibility to ensure that all employees are eligible to live and work in the UK.

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South East England