Postdoctoral Researcher (Genetics of type 2 diabetes) - MGU 1276

Updated: about 1 month ago
Location: Harwell, ENGLAND
Deadline: 26 Apr 2020

View Vacancy -- Postdoctoral Researcher (Genetics of type 2 diabetes) - MGU 1276
Open Date
10/03/2020, 12:00
Close Date
26/04/2020, 23:55

MRC Mammalian Genetics Unit

The Mammalian Genetics Unit is a UK Medical Research Council unit at the MRC Harwell Institute, an international centre at the forefront of mouse genetics research. Located on the Harwell Campus, just south of Oxford, it is nestled amongst a vibrant community of leading science organisations. We aim to advance medicine through cutting-edge research into the genetic basis of disease. Our research programs span an entire lifetime, from embryonic development to diseases of ageing. They cover many areas, investigating the underlying genetics in disorders of sex development, the relationship between disrupted circadian rhythms and psychiatric disease, the role of cilia in development and disease, age-related deafness and otitis media, neurodegenerative disease and type 2 diabetes.
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MRC - 4

Harwell Campus, Oxfordshire

£29,181 - £33,755

Fixed Term


Full Time

2 year fixed term contract

Overall purpose:

We are seeking a highly motivated postdoc with a keen interest in metabolism and the genetics of type 2 diabetes and obesity.

The overall aim of our research programme on the genetics of type 2 diabetes is to investigate mechanisms underlying human genome wide association (GWA) loci for diabetes, with a particular focus on adipose tissue and fat distribution. Genome wide association (GWA) studies have identified hundreds of robust well-replicated human loci linked to T2D and associated traits. These associations include genes involved in fat distribution (waist-hip-ratio, WHR) which have associations with diabetes and cardiovascular disease risk independently of BMI . The alteration of metabolic risk through changes in the size and capacity of particular adipose depots points to important physiological mechanisms that are not well understood.

The postdoc will carry out functional and mechanistic analysis of GWAS loci for type 2 diabetes that are already being worked on by the group and as directed by the PI. Our strategy has been to select candidate genes and SNPs in GWA loci by collaborating with human geneticists, clinicians and bioinformaticians to help identify the most likely causal genes or transcripts at each locus.

Working on selected loci the postdoc will further investigate candidate effector genes/transcripts, candidate regulatory SNPs and elements, using our own and publicly available data and tools

(epigenome, gene structure, expression and association data). The postdoc will carry out functional analysis of candidate SNPs, genes and transcripts in vivo in the mouse and/or in vitro in both human and mouse cells. For example, by making or using conditional overexpression, knockout, knockdown, reporter and genome-edited alleles. This will include detailed in vivo metabolic physiology, using tissues for analysis and in vitro cellular mechanistic studies using a broad range of techniques as required.

The aim is to understand the function and mechanistic basis of causal genes within GWAS loci and to publish this work.

Main Duties/Key responsibilities

  • Formulate questions that can be tested experimentally with a view to publishing high quality high impact papers in a timely manner
  • Take a proactive approach to learning and implementing new techniques and approaches both in vivo and in vitro
  • Design experiments with proper controls, consideration of power, and in the case of animal studies 3Rs and ARRIVE guidelines.
  • Record and document experimental plans
  • Keep secure well-organized and contemporaneous scientific records (lab books, autorads, print-outs and electronic data)
  • Manage mouse colonies and mouse resources efficiently
  • Carry out mouse metabolic phenotyping in accordance with Home Office regulations and ethical committee approval acquiring the necessary skills and competencies
  • Analyze (using the appropriate statistical methods) and report data to the PI (verbal and written reports)
  • Write and submit manuscripts for publication with the PI
  • Present work internally and at national and international meetings
  • Contribute to lab meetings
  • Maintain an excellent knowledge of the relevant literature and of the wider field and actively promote this to the group and in particular students
  • Work effectively with collaborators as required
  • Support PhD students as required
  • Effectively manage resources
  • As required undertake lab management duties such as ordering, H&S administration, lab and equipment maintenance, cell culture lab maintenance

Working relationships

Reporting to the principal investigator (PI) of the Genetics of type 2 diabetes group, Professor Roger D. Cox.

You will work in the laboratory of Professor Roger D Cox. See for details of research interests.

Working with Dr Liz Bentley (Senior Investigator Scientist) to carry out tasks relating to the smooth running of the group, the management of resources, the effective use of mice in our research and regulatory compliance, as required by Dr Bentley.

Supporting students within the group as necessary.

Education / Qualifications / Training required:


PhD in Genetics, Biology or Physiology 

Previous work experience required:


Experience of working in a cell and molecular biology laboratory


Experience of working in genetics and metabolic physiology

Knowledge and experience:


  • Qualified postdoctoral research scientist (PhD in Genetics/ Biology/Physiology)
  • Peer-reviewed research publications commensurate with career stage.
  • Highly motivated with a keen interest in metabolism and the genetics of type 2 diabetes and obesity
  • Knowledge and experience of genetics; mouse and/or human
  • Molecular and cellular biology skills
  • Familiarity with online data resources relevant to genetics and able to interrogate those resources to inform their experimental work
  • Data analysis skills and the proper use of statistics
  • Ability to analyze data in the literature and place their own work in the context of work in the field
  • Demonstrable ability to write scientifically, including manuscripts


  • Metabolic phenotyping skills
  • Experience of gene expression studies
  • Knowledge of colony management
  • Experience of the analysis of proteins; quantitation, localization, protein-protein and protein-DNA interactions and immunofluorescence
  • Experience of cell culture, CRISPR gene editing, gene silencing and overexpression in vitro
  • Experience of promoter studies
  • Experience of chromatin analysis
  • Experience of biological assays (ELISA, Bioplex etc.)
  • Experience of large data set analysis
  • Knowledge of adipose biology

Personal skills/behaviours/qualities:


  • Capable of critical thinking and formulating questions that can be tested experimentally
  • Able to define, project manage and complete key experiments in a timely manner
  • Demonstrable ability to meet milestones
  • Ability to manage resources
  • Ability to collaborate effectively
  • Flexible and adaptable, able to manage changing priorities
  • Good communication skills and effective engagement with colleagues, collaborators and the general public

Choosing to come to work at the MRC means that you will have access to a whole host of benefits from a defined pension scheme and excellent holiday entitlement to access to employee shopping/travel discounts and salary sacrifice cycle to work scheme, as well as the chance to put the MRC on your CV in the future.

More information about MRC Harwell can be found at

Informal expressions of interest in this post can be sent to D Professor Cox at .

The closing date for applications is 29 March 2020.

The MRC is a great place to work and progress your career, be it in scientific research or the support functions.The MRC is a unique working environment where our researchers are rewarded by world class innovation and collaboration opportunities that the MRC name brings. The MRC is an excellent place to develop yourself further and a range of training & development opportunities will be available to you, including professional registration with the Science Council.
Choosing to come to work at the MRC (part of UKRI) means that you will have access to a whole host of benefits from a defined benefit pension scheme and excellent holiday entitlement to access to employee shopping/travel discounts and salary sacrifice cycle to work scheme, as well as the chance to put the MRC and UKRI on your CV in the future.
Our success is dependent upon our ability to embrace diversity and draw on the skills, understanding and experience of all our people. We welcome applications from all sections of the community irrespective of gender, race, ethnic or national origin, religion or belief, sexual orientation, disability or age. As "Disability Confident" employers, we guarantee to interview all applicants with disabilities who meet the minimum criteria for the vacancy.
UKRI supports research in areas that include animal health, agriculture and food security, and bioscience for health which includes research on animals, genetic modification and stem cell research. Whilst you may not have direct involvement in this type of research, you should consider whether this conflicts with your personal values or beliefs.
We will conduct a full and comprehensive pre-employment check as an essential part of the recruitment process on all individuals that are offered a position with UKRI. This will include a security check and an extreme organisations affiliation check.

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