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Postdoc position – Understanding gene network heterogeneity in development

Posted by , on 17 August 2016

Closing Date: 15 March 2021

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We are seeking an enthusiastic and outstanding postdoctoral researcher to join a multidisciplinary team led by Prof. Chris Thompson at the University of Manchester. You will use single cell RNA sequencing to identify groups of heterogeneously expressed genes within normal populations of cells, and study the role of these genes in cell fate choice.

Cell fate choice and proportioning are typically considered to be ordered, robust and reproducible. However, noise and stochasticity can lead to heterogeneous gene network activity. Consequently, it has been proposed that gene networks may be ‘wired’ to buffer these fluctuations. Alternatively, heterogeneity may be functionally important to prime cells or increase the spectrum of differentiation capabilities. Addressing these questions represents one of the greatest challenges in Developmental and Stem Cell Biology. However, to date it has been impossible to follow entire gene network behaviour in individual cells, or to follow their temporal changes in activity in individual cells as cells commit to differentiation along different lineages. Single cell gene expression analysis, together with novel computational reconstruction of gene network dynamics provides this opportunity.




This work builds upon our recent finding (Chattwood et al, eLife 2014) that the interplay between dynamic heterogeneity in Ras-GTPase activity and nutritional status is required for normal lineage priming and robust running of an ultradian cell fate oscillator. Computational approaches will be used to identify putative genes involved in lineage priming and cell fate choice. In addition, the role played by these genes will be tested in the lab through the analysis of gene knockout strains, live cell imaging and molecular genetics.

Candidates with extensive experience of using either computational approaches or wet lab approaches to understand the molecular basis and gene networks will be considered.

You should currently hold or be about to obtain a PhD in a relevant field.

The post funded by the Wellcome Trust and is available for up to 3 years.

Informal enquiries can be made to Prof. Chris Thompson. Tel: 0161 275 1588 or email: or see

Application forms and further particulars can be obtained at

Closing date 1/9/16

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