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Postdoctoral Research Fellow at UCL working on understanding gene network heterogeneity in development

Posted by , on 7 January 2019

Closing Date: 15 March 2021

The Thompson lab, based at University College London, is currently seeking a Research Fellow working on understanding gene network heterogeneity in development.

Recently, we found that cell-cell variation in cell cycle position facilitates symmetry breaking during development, as it primes cells to respond to different differentiation cues (Gruenheit et al, Developmental Cell, 2018).

You will perform single cell gene expression analysis to understand the molecular mechanisms underlying this cell cycle control of cell fate choice you. For this, you will utilise our recently generated single cell RNA-seq dataset in which gene expression in 1000s of single cells was generated at different times after receiving differentiation cues.

Your aim will be to reconstruct gene network dynamics to follow their temporal changes in gene activity in individual cells from different cell cycle positions as they differentiate along different linages. You will develop novel computational and statistical methods (e.g. gene network identification, pseudotime, machine learning) to characterize the dynamics of gene network activity, and capture temporal changes in gene network activity in individual cells from different cell cycle stages as they differentiate. Live imaging of transcription and molecular genetic approaches to modify network activity in genetically modified cells will be used to validate your findings. You will also develop predictive models to understand the mechanism controlling cell fate choice. This will include computer simulation of the molecular basis of cell cycle control of differentiation.  High throughput live cell imaging to quantify the differentiation behaviour of cells at different cell cycle phases will be used to test these models. This framework will be fundamental in generating new hypothesis guiding future experiments.

You will join a multidisciplinary team led by Professor Chris Thompson. The approaches used in the lab include transcriptomics, functional genomics, molecular genetics, live cell imaging and mathematical modelling.

Candidates with extensive experience of using either computational genomic approaches or wet lab approaches to understand the molecular basis of gene networks will be considered. You should currently hold or be about to obtain a PhD in Computational, Cell, Molecular or Developmental Biology.

The post is funded by Wellcome and is available for 24 months in the first instance (with a possibility of extension).

Appointment at Grade 7 is dependent upon having been awarded a PhD, if this is not the case, initially appointment will be at research assistant Grade 6B (Salary £30,922 – £32,607 per annum) with payment at Grade 7 being backdated to the date of final submission of the PhD thesis.

Informal enquiries are welcome to Chris Thompson (

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