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Research Assistant in Cancer Biology

University of Oxford

Location: Oxford
Salary: £32,332 to £38,205 per annum
Hours: Full Time
Contract Type: Fixed-Term/Contract
Placed On: 26th February 2024
Closes: 18th March 2024
Job Ref: 170903

About the role

We are looking for a research assistant to work in our cancer biology team. You will be based in the Old Road Campus Research Building, Churchill site, University of Oxford as your normal place of work. You will be positioned within the laboratory space of Professor Simon Buczacki within the Tumour Evolution and Cell Identity research group (https://www.nds.ox.ac.uk/research/tumour-evolution-and-cell-identity-laboratory). Here, you will join a thriving and well supported laboratory of enthusiastic scientists spanning masters, DPhil students, post-doctoral scientists and bioinformaticians. The lab has immense clinical orientation with a primary focus on the exploration of links between cancer mutations and stromal response studied through use of patient-derived organoids, primary human cell lines, cutting-edge gene-editing techniques, and spatial biology (multiplexed immunohistochemistry).

You will work on a project investigating how specific mutations in the metastatic colon cancer epithelium interact with liver fibroblasts to foster a niche conducive to liver metastasis formation. You will have access to our library of colorectal liver metastasis-derived organoids and primary human fibroblast lines which will be required to carry out your experiments.  You will also have access to a wide range of analytical techniques and to supportive collaborations that we have developed throughout the university.

Your role

You will be directly supervised by Mr Alex Gordon-Weeks, consultant liver surgeon and clinical lecturer within the Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences.

You will be responsible for the derivation of human patient-derived organoids and primary human fibroblasts from both metastatic and primary liver cancers and normal liver specimens respectively. You will be expected to maintain the organoids in culture and to carry out gene-editing of the organoids using CRISPR techniques. You will be required to optimise the culture conditions required for successful maintenance of complex organotypic co-cultures involving the organoids, fibroblasts, and T-lymphocytes.

Through subsequent experiments you will have the opportunity to develop novel analytical techniques including single cell sequencing and light-sheet microscopy. There will be flexibility in the techniques that you develop depending upon your interests and the experimental findings. A particularly unique aspect of this project is our desire to investigate the role that the fibroblast-derived extracellular matrix plays in conditioning epithelial organoid phenotype. You will therefore have the opportunity to learn how to extract the ECM from co-cultures and to use mass-spec techniques to analyse the resultant ECMs; techniques already developed within our laboratory.

You will be expected to attend weekly laboratory meetings and to present your research findings in addition to those in the published literature relevant to your work. You will also have weekly supervisory meetings with Alex Gordon-Weeks.

About you

You are expected to be educated to BSc level and to have experience in the field of organoid biology. You should have technical experience in gene editing techniques and cell culture. The successful candidate will have excellent communication skills, including the ability to write text that can be published and presenting data at conferences and research group meetings.

This full-time post is available from 30th March 2024 and is fixed term until March 30th 2026 in the first instance.

Application Process

If you would like to discuss this role, please contact Alex Gordon-Weeks via alex.gordon-weeks@nds.ox.ac.uk

Only applications received before noon on Monday 18 March 2024 can be considered.

Interviews will be held on Thursday 28 March 2024.

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