Postdoctoral Research Associate in Biomedical Sciences

University of Cambridge

Cancer Research UK, Europe's top cancer charity, teamed with the University of Cambridge to create the world class Cambridge Institute (CI) situated on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus in Cambridge, UK. The Institute's research ranges from basic cancer biology through translational research to clinical application and currently houses over 350 researchers forming 20 groups ( These groups are further supported by world-leading core facilities ( which researchers are encouraged to utilize to their fullest potential.

The Cancer Signalling and Therapeutics Lab, led by Group Leader Dr Pau Creixell, has recently been established at the University of Cambridge - Cambridge Institute (CI). The lab integrates machine learning and high-throughput biochemistry to study how proteins selectively recognize their substrates, how this process is perturbed in cancer and how it can be hijacked to find highly selective and mutant-specific drugs to overcome drug resistance.

A postdoctoral position is currently available in our lab for a highly talented and motivated individual interested in studying the development of novel therapies against brain, lung and breast cancer. The thirteen protein tyrosine kinases that we study more deeply are causally implicated in brain lung and breast cancer and, in this project, we will explore novel therapeutic opportunities to target them, as well as their resistance mutations. The lab is currently further developing recent technology that allows the simultaneous measurement of phosphorylation rates for thousands of peptides. By benefitting from this novel technology, the successful candidate will be able to deeply screen for novel binders that bind to these oncogenic kinases tighter than natural substrates and move towards finding small molecules that mimic these binding modes. By capitalizing on in vivo and organoid cancer models developed within the institute and as part of the recently formed Children's Brain Tumor Centre of Excellence (CBTCE), the efficacy of these novel binders and compounds will be tested in a clinically relevant context. The successful candidate will benefit from access to exclusive biochemical reagents within our lab, as well as advanced in vivo models of cancer and direct clinical input within the institute and centre.

Further reading

Shah, N. H. et al. Elife (2018). doi:10.7554/elife.35190

Creixell, P. et al. Cell Syst. 7, 371-383.e4 (2018).

Zhao, B. et al. Cell 165, 234-246 (2016).

Shah, N. H. et al. Elife (2016). doi:10.7554/elife.20105

Creixell, P. et al. Cell 163, 187-201 (2015).

Creixell, P. et al. Cell 163, 202-217 (2015).

Podgornaia, A. I. et al. Science (80). 347, 673-677 (2015).

Miller, C. et al. Trends Biochem Sci 43, 380-394 (2018).

Begley, M. et al. Nat Struct Mol Biol 22, 983-990 (2015).

Johnson, R.A. et al. Nature 466, 632-636 (2010).

Mair, R. et al. Cancer Res 78, 5408-5418 (2018).

Applicants must have received (or be about to receive) a PhD in protein biochemistry or similar field and must have published at least one first-author research article. Expertise in cancer biology, radioactivity-based protein kinase activity assays, protein crystallography, drug discovery, molecular biology, in vivo mouse models of cancer or computational biology/machine learning would be advantageous. Willingness to do in vivo mouse and rat cancer model work is required and experience in this type of models and/or having held Home Office licenses will be an advantage. An ability to work independently while taking feedback from others and interact well in a multi-disciplinary team environment is required. Applicants who wish to be considered for this position must also display an ability to undertake project management, method development, data collection and analysis, as they join a collaborative and highly motivated team of researchers in a top ranked university and research institute. You must also have excellent communication and organizational skills, the ability to develop innovative experimental/computational approaches to answer research questions, and thrive both in independent research and while working collaboratively as part of a team. Ideally you have demonstrated creative and independent work in your area of expertise. Strong presentation skills are also required as is the ability to strongly represent our lab and institute when presenting and attending internal and external meetings and conferences.

As part of joining our new lab, the successful candidate will have a unique opportunity to contribute and get experience in assembling and establishment of a lab, mentoring in grant writing, as well as driving and being directly involved in multiple projects and research articles.

The successful candidate will be appointed as a grade 7 (£32,816 - £40,322 dependent on experience).

Fixed-term: The funds for this post are available for 3 years in the first instance.

Please ensure that you upload your Curriculum Vitae (CV), a cover letter (explaining why you are interested in our lab and which qualities and experience you will bring to it) in the Upload section of the online application. Please also include details (including email address and phone number) of three referees who have agreed to act on your behalf, including your two most recent line managers. If you upload any additional documents which have not been requested, we will not be able to consider these as part of your application.

The closing date for applications is 15th December 2020 with the interview date to be confirmed.

Click the 'Apply' button below to register an account with our recruitment system (if you have not already) and apply online.

If you have any questions about this vacancy or the application process, please contact

Please quote reference SW24526 on your application and in any correspondence about this vacancy.

The University actively supports equality, diversity and inclusion and encourages applications from all sections of society.

The University has a responsibility to ensure that all employees are eligible to live and work in the UK.