University of Cambridge

Research Assistant/Associate in Cancer Biophysics (Fixed Term)

Closing Date
WorkplaceCambridge, East of England, UK


Job Opportunities


Research Assistant/Associate in Cancer Biophysics (Fixed Term)

The MRC Cancer Unit (MRC CU) is a University Department situated on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus. It provides an outstanding environment for cancer research, supporting some 10 research groups and ~100 bench scientists.

The successful candidate will be joining the cancer systems biology group headed by Dr Ben Hall. The research focus is on the development and analysis of computational models of the processes of early carcinogenesis in epithelial tissues. More information can be found at

Space fundamentally changes how mutated cells can spread through tissues. While liquid cancers may grow freely, the collision and competition of clones within a tissue changes growth dynamic and specifically the ability of cancer promoting mutations to expand. This is particularly important in our understanding of precancerous- Whilst it is well known that tumours are highly diverse, recent work has shown the heavy mutational burden of healthy tissue. Understanding how space shapes clonal growth in tissues and experimental models is therefore vital to understanding how early clones progress towards cancer.

In the Hall group you will develop physical models of the growth, competition, and evolution of cells in tissues and patient derived organoids in close collaboration with experimental collaborators in the MRC Cancer Unit and Department of Oncology. This work will build on ongoing work to address new questions arising from work in epithelial? tissues and new data from" organoid" systems.

The role will involve the development, testing and analysis of continuous, physical models of the structure of biological tissues to understand how they influence early cancer development. Qualified with a PhD in computational biology (or awaiting examination have submitted a PhD thesis), applicants will have programming experience and a demonstrable track record of first author publications (or equivalent industry experience). Experience of working in interdisciplinary teams (specifically with experimentalists, or clinicians) is preferable. Familiarity with biophysical simulation (e.g Langevin dynamics of cellular motion, or. molecular modelling) or executable modelling techniques (e.g. logical modelling) would be advantageous, as is experience of high-performance computing and/or writing MPI code.

This is a fixed-term position for eighteen months in the first instance. The role holder must have obtained or be close to obtaining a PhD in computational life sciences, or a closely related discipline. For candidates with a PhD the salary will be on the scale 32,816 40,322 pa depending on relevant postdoctoral experience. Candidates due to complete their PhD within 6 months of their start date will be appointed at the Research Assistant level with a salary of 30,046 (Grade 5) advancing to Grade 7 Research Associate level following the conferment of their PhD.

Once an offer of employment has been accepted, the successful candidate will be required to undergo a security check.

For queries regarding this post please contact admin [at] mrc-cu[.]cam[.]

Click the ’Apply’ button below to register an account with our recruitment system (if you have not already) and apply online.

Closing date for applications is 8 April 2020

Interviews will be held w/c 13 April 2020

Please ensure that you upload a covering letter and CV in the Upload section of the online application. The covering letter should outline how you match the criteria for the post and why you are applying for this role. If you upload any additional documents which have not been requested, we will not be able to consider these as part of your application.

Please include details of your referees, including email address and phone number, one of which must be your most recent line manager.

Please quote reference SK22893 on your application and in any correspondence about this vacancy.

The University actively supports equality, diversity and inclusion and encourages applications from all sections of society.

The University has a responsibility to ensure that all employees are eligible to live and work in the UK.

Further information

  • Further Particulars


MRC Cancer Unit








25 March 2020

Closing date

8 April 2020


In your application, please refer to and reference JobID 182716.

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