Based at Cancer Research UK – Cambridge Institute

Research Associate (Cancer Early Detection) (Fixed Term)

We seek to appoint a postdoctoral scientist to advance the application of DNA secondary structure and epigenetic features in the early detection of cancer. This post is funded by a new award from Cancer Research UK and is a collaboration between Professor Sir Shankar Balasubramanian at Cancer Research UK’s Cambridge Institute (CI) and Professor Rebecca Fitzgerald in the University of Cambridge’s Early Cancer Institute. The post will be based in Cancer Research UK’s Cambridge Institute (CI) and has close links to Professor Balasubramanian’s group based in the University’s Yusuf Hamied Department of Chemistry.

Oesophageal adenocarcinoma (OAC) has a poor prognosis and low 5-year survival. OAC arises from an early pre-cancerous condition called Barrett’s oesophagus (BO). We aim to identify novel genomic features of BO that aid in the stratification of indolent vs progressive disease to enable early intervention. The post holder will establish robust methods to characterise four-stranded nucleic acid structures, called G-quadruplexes, and/or chemically modified DNA bases, such as 5-hydroxymethylcytosine, during OAC development. We also expect that our findings will also shed light on potential novel therapeutic avenues.

The candidate will demonstrate a strong aptitude to innovate at the bench, a proactive approach to tackle technical challenges and creativity in using molecular and cellular strategies to address our aims. The ideal candidate will have substantial hands-on experience in cutting edge molecular biology and genomic technologies such as ChIP-seq, CUT&Tag, RNA-seq etc. Practical experience in organoid culture and processing would be beneficial. Due the collaborative nature of this project, good communication skills and the ability to work well in a multi-disciplinary team are essential. This project provides an opportunity for an outstanding individual to make a key contribution to the early detection of cancer though a fundamental understanding of genome structure and function.