Research Assistant: The connectome of olfactory memory circuits in the adult fruit fly

University of Cambridge - Department of Zoology

4 Posts

Four research assistant posts are available in the recently established Drosophila connectomics group headed by Greg Jefferis and Matthias Landgraf. The positions are funded by a £3.25M Wellcome Trust collaborative award to the Department of Zoology.

Preferred start date from 26th February 2018 but a later date may also be possible, e.g. to start after the end of the 2017/18 academic year.

The research project is in collaboration with co-applicants from HHMI Janelia Research Campus in the US (Gerry Rubin, Davi Bock), the MRC LMB in Cambridge and the University of Oxford Centre for Neural Circuits and Behaviour (Scott Waddell).

The project reconstructs neurons and their connections from a recently completed electron microscopy (EM) volume of a whole adult fly brain. This will enable a comprehensive understanding of the neural circuits basis of memory storage and retrieval.

You will work in a highly collaborative team using web-based software to trace neuronal structures and connections. Sophisticated data analysis tools will be used to identify traced neurons and to analyse their organisational logic. Experienced senior staff will give full training in neuron tracing, data analysis and the required Drosophila neuroanatomy. We are looking for highly motivated individuals with a background in biological or physical/computational sciences and a long-term interest in understanding the circuit basis of brain function and behaviour. In exchange we will work to develop your research skills and scientific independence. You will be expected to contribute directly to scientific publications and to present your work at UK and international conferences. This is an opportunity to join at the very beginning of one of the first large scale connectomics efforts that will have a major impact on circuit neuroscience.

Essential Experience/Attributes

- Relevant BSc, or equivalent, to a good level in an appropriate subject (e.g. neuroscience, biological sciences or computer science/physical sciences);

- Basic understanding of neuroscience;

- Strong desire to understand circuit basis of brain function and behaviour;

- Good communication skills (written and oral);

- Ability to work in a team;

- Attention to detail.


- Formal coursework in neuroscience;

- Prior research experience;

- Experience in analysing neural circuits;

- Experience working with electron microscopy data;

- Experience with Drosophila;

- Experience with computer programming / scripting / data analysis (e.g. R, Matlab, Python, unix shell);

- Experience with Image Processing (e.g. Fiji / ImageJ).

Interview dates: Thursday the 1st February to Friday the 9th February 2018.

Fixed-term: The appointments will be for 2 years in the first instance with a possibility of extension until 30 Sep 2020 subject to funding.

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.

Please quote reference PF14302 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