Postdoctoral Scientist - Cell Biology - Dr Kate McDole - LMB 1709

Updated: about 2 months ago
Location: Cambridge, ENGLAND
Deadline: 01 Dec 2021

View Vacancy -- Postdoctoral Scientist - Cell Biology - Dr Kate McDole - LMB 1709
Open Date
01/11/2021, 10:30
Close Date
01/12/2021, 23:55

MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology

The MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology (LMB) is one of the birthplaces of modern molecular biology and has played an important role in the development of many new techniques, most notably protein crystallography, cryo-electron microscopy, DNA sequencing and monoclonal antibodies. The LMB has a clear goal of understanding biological processes at the molecular level, with the ultimate aim of using this knowledge to tackle specific problems in human health and disease. We aim to tackle difficult, long-term problems, which often require investment over many years.

There are four scientific Divisions - Structural Studies, Protein and Nucleic Acid Chemistry, Cell Biology and Neurobiology. However, scientific collaboration between the different Divisions is extensive. Scientists are well supported by excellent scientific facilities and by the LMB Operations Group which maintains the core infrastructure and services of the institute.

The LMB provides an unsurpassed environment for both new and established researchers. Scientists are drawn to the LMB from all over the world, thus creating a lively and international community for the exchange of ideas and technical innovation.

UK Research and Innovation is a new entity that brings together nine partners to create an independent organisation with a strong voice for research and innovation, more information can be found at

MRC - 4


£32,302 - £35,143 per annum

Fixed Term


Full Time

3 years

Overall purpose:

To work within the group of Kate McDole at the Laboratory of Molecular Biology (LMB), within a programme aimed at morphogenesis of the mammalian embryo. Specifically, to undertake research to investigate the role of mechanical forces in early organogenesis using light-sheet microscopy. 

With form, comes function. Our ability to one day repair damaged tissues and organs, or correct defects in morphogenesis during pregnancy will rely heavily on our knowledge of how these tissues and organs are formed in the first place. Our lab investigates the earliest organogenesis events in the mouse embryo with the aim of understanding how complex 3D structures are sculpted out of initially homogenous starting materials. We seek to answer questions such as: How (and when) do tissues and organs begin to take shape? What are the processes that drive the formation of these shapes? Where are the physical forces driving these shape changes generated? How do these forces influence and how are they influenced by changes in cell fate establishment? Much of early mouse development has been hidden from us until recently with the advent of advanced light-microscopy methods such as light-sheet microscopy. With these tools, we can not only visualize mouse development live, but are able to perturb and manipulate the embryo in real-time, and quantitatively measure cellular behaviours and generate intricate models of cell and tissue interactions. 

We seek an enthusiastic individual with a pioneering spirit, to work in an interdisciplinary lab on projects which focus on either the biological aspects of mammalian development and organ/tissue morphogenesis, the advancement of light-microscopy methods to peer even deeper into large tissues, or computational methods ranging from image processing to machine learning to analyse, segment, model, and quantify large-scale time lapse datasets. 

Main duties:

•    To undertake research aimed at the role of mechanical forces in the formation of the early embryo.
•    To identify, develop and apply a broad range of techniques to pursue the research objectives.
•    To present scientific work at seminars within the laboratory and at external meetings.
•    To contribute to laboratory-wide discussions on developments within the field. 
•    To draft scientific papers, and contribute to the overall preparation of research for publication.
•    To contribute to the LMB’s mission in the public engagement of science, and the translation of research findings into improvements in health care.
•    To assist in the training of PhD Students and other members of the LMB.

Key responsibilities:

Within the overall direction of the programme, the group, the remit of the project and in discussion with the Group Leader, you will make a significant input into determining the direction of the project within a 3-year lifespan. 

To plan your own work and objectives on a 12-month basis and manage your experimental work within the project along with your Supervisor.

To work with limited supervision to identify, develop, modify and apply the necessary techniques to achieve the goals of the project.

To introduce and apply new techniques across a wide range of disciplines and to have the creativity and initiative to develop novel approaches and methods where required.

To ensure the research is carried out in accordance with good practice and in compliance with local policies and legal requirements.

To contribute to the smooth running of the group, including the effective use of resources, training of others and taking responsibility for use of communal facilities.

To enhance your research and generic skills through a tailored development programme. 

Working relationships:

You will report to Dr Kate McDole and will interact and collaborate with other Postdoctoral Scientists, Research Support staff and students, not only in your group, but also across the LMB and with external groups as necessary. You will get the choice upon appointment of undertaking a Career Development Fellowship or the MRC Post-Doctoral Training Scheme.

Additional information:

This is a 3-year training and development position for a Postdoctoral Scientist who has recently completed their doctoral studies, is moving into a new research discipline or has limited experience of key transferable skills.

We support Postdoctoral Scientists with a range of formal and on-the-job training, including:
•    MRC training courses.
•    External training and personal development courses.
•    One-to-one training with your Supervisor and other Scientists.

You will commit to undertaking the following:
•    Developing and following a personal development plan.
•    Attending training courses.
•    Identifying additional training which will support you to develop your career.

Academic qualifications:

These should include a PhD in a relevant subject or due to complete PhD within 6 months.

Technical skills and expertise:

Experience of and ability to perform techniques essential to the project are: 

•    Must have skills and appropriate background relative to the project of interest (i.e. computational projects will require a background or degree in computer science).
•    Familiarity with image processing, computational work, and light-microscopy are essential.
•    Prior work in or demonstration of a good understanding of early mouse development.

Track record of research:

This will include achievements, and contributions to published papers.

Other relevant evidence of:

•    Commitment.
•    Originality.
•    Ability to communicate, good written and verbal communication skills in English are required.
•    Working with others.

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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