Research Associate

University of Cambridge - Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology

A 4 years postdoctoral Research Associate (PhD awarded or in the process of being awarded) position, fully funded by a Wellcome Trust joint investigator award to Francesco Colucci and Ashley Moffett, Department of Pathology, is available for a talented researcher to join our friendly Department and Colucci Team at the University of Cambridge, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, part of the Centre for Trophoblast Research.

Reproduction and tissue innate immunity in the womb

Supervisor: Francesco Colucci, University Reader in Immunology.

Co-supervisors: Francesca Gaccioli and Irving Aye, Research Associates.

Mammalian reproduction depends on cyclic tissue remodelling in the womb. By destroying and repairing, innate immunity remodels tissues and is then intimately connected with tissue homeostasis.  Our research in Cambridge has shown that uterine innate lymphocytes, including natural killer cells, facilitate uterine vascular adaptations to pregnancy, promoting formation of the placenta and fetal growth (reviewed in 1).

Powerful immune cells and pathways have multiple regulatory checkpoints (2). Cytokines, for example, are soluble mediators of diverse immune responses with different, sometimes opposite outcome. For example, type-1 and -2 immunity are broadly pro- and anti-inflammatory. How the balance between inflammation and repair impacts on uterine adaptations to pregnancy, feto-placental growth and, ultimately, childbirth, is unclear. There is, however, evidence that these cytokines may be key for healthy pregnancy (3, 4)

Based on our unpublished new research, the working hypothesis of this project is that specific members of the interleukin-1 (IL-1) family of cytokines act on innate lymphocytes and impact on pregnancy outcome. We now have preliminary evidence from a prospective cohort, the Pregnancy Outcome Prediction study (5), that dysregulation of these cytokines is associated with pregnancy disorders. The aim of this project is to define the underlying mechanisms using a combination of clinical samples, transgenic preclinical models, transcriptomics, single cell cytometry, and imaging.

You will join the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the Clinical School in the Colucci team. This is an international (6) and dynamic team of talented graduate students and research associates engaged in active collaboration with several research groups within and beyond the University of Cambridge Centre for Trophoblast Research.

Fixed-term: The funds for this post are available until 31 December 2021 in the first instance.

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

To apply online for this vacancy and to view further information about the role, please visit:

Please ensure that you upload a covering letter and CV in the Upload section of the online application. The covering letter should outline how you match the criteria for the post and why you are applying for this role. If you upload any additional documents which have not been requested, we will not be able to consider these as part of your application.

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

Please quote reference RI14168 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