View Vacancy -- Postdoctoral Scientist - PNAC - Dr Andrew McKenzie - LMB 2354

Open Date
12/02/2024, 14:00
Close Date
11/03/2024, 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
£39,375 per annum
Fixed Term
Full Time
3 years

Overall purpose: 

To work within the group of Dr Andrew McKenzie at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology (LMB), within a programme aimed at investigating immune and haematopoietic disorders, in a collaboration with Dr Daniele Corridoni at AstraZeneca. Specifically, to undertake research to investigate the interplay between the nervous system and immune system in the regulation of inflammation: including autoimmunity and infection.

We have an exciting opportunity to be part of a collaborative project between the LMB and AZ to investigate how specific neuronal circuits and immune cells may interact to induce inappropriate immune reactions which can lead to autoimmunity or pathogenic inflammation (asthma and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)). We have identified a subset of intestinal neurons which expresses immune-regulatory cytokines that have the potential to regulate immune cells or respond to immune cell-derived signals. We have generated mouse strains to allow the manipulation of these molecules in specific neurons and have discovered that this subset of enteric neurons engage in bi-directional communication with immune cells, including T cells and ILC2s. We now propose to use these mice and human intestinal tissue to elucidate how these neuro-immune interactions contribute to immune responses to infection and during inflammation (e.g. models of IBD). The project will involve state-of the-art techniques such as single cell analysis including high dimensional spectral flow cytometry and single cell transcriptomics, and the generation of novel genetically modified mouse models, and the chance to innovate. 

Main duties:

•    To undertake research aimed at understanding the interplay between the nervous system and immune system in the regulation of inflammation including autoimmunity and infection.
•    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 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 Andrew McKenzie 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.

Additional information:

This is a three-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 eg immunology or neuroscience or due to complete PhD within 6 months.

Technical skills and expertise:

Experience of and ability to perform techniques relevant to the project.  Particularly useful would be experience of the following:

•    Experience in immunology and/or neuroscience
•    In-depth knowledge of human and/or mouse immune cell function
•    Experience in high dimensional flow cytometry including spectral analysis with the design and implementation of 10 - 20 colour panels.
•    Experience investigating the biology of immune cells 
•    Experience of microscopy 
•    Computational and bioinformatics skills
•    Generation and analysis of single cell transcriptome data
•    In vitro cell culture including neurons and/or immune cells
•    Analysis of mouse models of disease
•    Analysis of human biopsy samples
•    Generation, analysis and management of transgenic mouse lines
•    Molecular biology skills including cloning, PCR, CRISPR etc
•    Excellent communication skills
•    Experience in working successfully as part of a team

Track record of research:

This will include achievements, and contributions to published papers.

Other relevant evidence of: 

•    Commitment.
•    Originality.

Corporate/Local responsibilities & requirements

You must at all times carry out your responsibilities with due regard to the UKRI: 
•    Code of Conduct
•    Equality, Diversity and Inclusion policy
•    Health and Safety policy
•    Data Protection policy

Job descriptions should be reviewed on a regular basis and at the annual appraisal.  Any changes should be made and agreed between you and your manager.

The above lists are not exhaustive and you are required to undertake such duties as may reasonably be requested within the scope of the post.  All employees are required to act professionally, co-operatively and flexibly in line with the requirements of the post, the MRC and UKRI.  

The role holder will be required to have the appropriate level of security screening/vetting required for the role. UKRI reserves the right to run or re-run security clearance as required during the course of employment.

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.  The role holder will be required to have the appropriate level of security screening/vetting required for the role.  UKRI reserves the right to run or re-run security clearance as required during the course of employment.

This opportunity is closed to applications.