Research Associate in single molecule imaging

University of Cambridge - Department of Clinical Neurosciences

A postdoctoral position is available at the new Cambridge Dementia Research Institute based at the Addenbrooke's Campus as a part of a multidisciplinary project between the groups of Professor David Klenerman FMedSCi FRS and Professor Maria Grazia Spillantini FMedSCi FRS. The project aims to exploit novel imaging methods properties (see Angew.Chem.Int. (2017) 56, 7750 and ACS Chemical Neuroscience (2016) 7, 399) to follow aggregation and disaggregation of full length wild-type and mutant tau in live IPS derived neurons. The 5 year project aims to address the following questions:

- Under what conditions and by which processes are tau aggregates initially formed in cells? Are significant cell stress and/or an inflammatory environment required? Why do the ubiquitin-proteasome system and the autophagy system fail to prevent aggregate formation?

- How do one or a few tau aggregates entering a cell result in the formation of additional aggregates? What factors control how long this process takes and how many aggregates are formed? How much amplification is needed for self-sustained spreading? What are the effects of aggregate-induced events, such as increased reactive oxygen species or neuroinflammation, on the rate and efficiency of spreading?

- Can we develop inhibitors of key steps in tau aggregation, including elongation and fragmentation and test them in our cell models?

The position is for a biophysical postdoc who will perform single molecule/aggregate fluorescence imaging using a custom-built total internal reflection fluorescence microscope that allows the location of individual aggregates in the cell to be determined, and also characterise the aggregate size and structure. Applicants should have a PhD (or equivalent) in single molecule fluorescence or microscopy and a biophysical background and interest in performing multi-disciplinary research in a team. This is an ideal opportunity for physically trained scientist to apply imaging methods to tackle a major biomedical problem.

Fixed-term: The funds for this post are available for 36 months in the first instance.

For queries relating to your application or the application process, please contact

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 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 ZE14403 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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