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Research Associate

University of Bristol - Physiology, Pharmacology and Neuroscience

Location: Bristol
Salary: £37,099 to £41,732 per annum
Hours: Full Time
Contract Type: Permanent
Placed On: 15th February 2024
Closes: 13th March 2024
Job Ref: ACAD107414

Contract type: Open ended

Work hours: 35.0 hours per week

The role

Dr Alice French is seeking to appoint a motivated Research Associate to drive cutting edge research in the field of sleep. Specifically, you will study how the unconscious brain processes sensory information and initiates waking or sleep continuation depending on stimulus saliency. Sensory vigilance enables animals to sleep and benefit from its restorative properties, whilst mitigating some of the risks (including predation and resource loss) inherent from going “off-line”. You will use Drosophila and potentially other model systems to help resolve the neural mechanisms underlying this vital behaviour.

The role will involve performing behavioural experiments using video tracking modules called Ethoscopes and their associated accessory modules. Experiments will involve delivery of sensory stimuli in order to probe arousal thresholds in sleeping fruit flies.  You will use also use optogenetics, transsynaptic labelling and calcium imaging to interrogate different sensory pathways and describe their differential connectivity to arousal/sleep centres as well as their plasticity. 

The lab is in its infancy so you will also help Dr French build the Ethoscope platform which will include CAD, 3D printing, robotics and coding. This experience will be invaluable to researchers with ambitions to start their own labs in the future. 

What will you be doing?

  • Performing behavioural and live imaging experiments
  • Data analysis (lab currently uses R but other analytical methods welcome)
  • Help build/maintain Ethoscope platform
  • Assist with the writing of papers/grants
  • Assist with the supervision of UG and MRes students

You should apply if

  • You have a background in neuroscience, and has an interest in sleep/circadian rhythms and/or sensory neurobiology (We also have projects in the lab relating to the evolution of sleep so get in touch if this is of interest).
  • You have wet or dry lab experience and can bring expertise, preferable one that is not currently represented in the lab.
  • You might have proficiency in calcium imaging, coding, bioinformatics, 2-photon microscopy or electrophysiology. However please still apply if you have other relevant skills not listed here.
  • You are a team player, someone who is invested in the success of the project and has a genuine interest in the development and training of others.
  • If you have coding experience and familiarity with ArchLinux this would be highly desirable.

Additional information

For informal enquiries please contact Dr Alice French (Alice.French@bristol.ac.uk).

Our strategy and mission

We recently launched our strategy to 2030 tying together our mission, vision and values.

The University of Bristol aims to be a place where everyone feels able to be themselves and do their best in an inclusive working environment where all colleagues can thrive and reach their full potential. We want to attract, develop, and retain individuals with different experiences, backgrounds and perspectives – particularly people of colour, LGBT+ and disabled people - because diversity of people and ideas remains integral to our excellence as a global civic institution.

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