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Postdoctoral Fellow

Francis Crick Institute
London (Central), London (Greater) (GB)
From £43,210 with benefits, subject to skills and experience
Closing date
2 Aug 2024

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Life Science
Job Type
Employment - Hours
Full time
Fixed term

Job Details

Postdoctoral Fellow

This is a full-time, fixed term position on Crick terms and conditions of employment. The position is offered for 4 years but can be extended for further 2 years (6 years in total).

We are looking for a postdoctoral fellow interested in combining interdisciplinary approaches with excellent tractability of zebrafish heart to study a fundamental problem – how organ form and function emerge during development. The suitable candidate will use advanced microscopic techniques, image analysis, genetic manipulations, biophysical approaches and collaborate with theoreticians to address this fundamental problem. The successful candidate should be keen in pursuing collaborative research and should be a good team player.

The Project:

The overarching goal of our lab is to study how functional organs are built to sustain life during embryonic development. This is a long-standing problem in biology with significant implications for tissue engineering and birth defects. To solve this fundamental problem, we use a well-suited model system, the developing zebrafish heart, as it is amenable to state-of-art optical, biophysical, genetic manipulations. We take a systems biology approach by integrating tools from tissue mechanics, developmental genetics, transcriptomics, biophysics and predictive theoretical modelling. Using these approaches, we dissect the morphogenesis of a complex organ like heart at exceptional details, in the physiological context of a living embryo.

A key step during vertebrate heart development is chamber maturation – a poorly-understood morphogenetic process critical for heart function. During this process, the myocardial wall of ventricle and atrium transforms from a single-layered epithelium into a complex 3D topological meshwork architecture. In ventricle, this meshwork-like structures are called trabeculae, while in atrium they are referred to as pectinate fibers. Anomalous morphology and patterning of these structures lead to embryonic lethality and cardiomyopathies in human. Yet, cellular and physical mechanisms shaping myocardial meshwork remains ill-understood. Combining the excellent tractability of zebrafish with interdisciplinary approaches, some of the fundamental questions we seek to address are:

1) How cell mechanics, shape, and polarity regulate its fate choices during heart development?

2) How tissue geometry spatially constrains proliferation and delamination – by dissecting the role of  extracellular matrix (ECM) remodelling, fluid mechanics and mechanochemical pathways (feedback between Yap/Taz, ERK and Notch signalling).

3) How 3D topological trabecular meshwork is shaped and constrained during development and how it supports heart function?

4) Why and how atrium morphogenesis is differently regulated from ventricle – by dissecting the underlying cell mechanics, differential ECM regulation, fluid dynamics and genetic pathways.

The suitable candidate will address one of these questions by using advanced microscopic techniques, image analysis, genetic/optical manipulations, biophysical approaches and in collaboration with theoreticians. The specific details and aims of the project will be driven by the candidate’s interest and training. Candidates with a strong background in advanced imaging approaches, image analysis techniques, tissue morphogenesis/mechanics are encouraged to apply.

Key responsibilities

The post holder should embody and demonstrate our core Crick values – bold, imaginative, open, dynamic and collegial.

  • Lead their own projects and contribute to other projects on a collaborative basis (both in the lab and with external collaborators)
  • Providing specialist advice and share knowledge and expertise with the lab
  • Develops new tools and techniques
  • Guide and train PhD students and new lab members in their research
  • Willingness to actively contribute to a productive and positive lab atmosphere


Key experience and competencies

The interested candidate should be keen in pursuing collaborative research, should be a good team player and should convey clearly in their application why they are interested in the lab’s research program.


  • PhD in cell biology or developmental biology or in the final stages of PhD submission
  • Strong expertise in advanced confocal and/or light sheet imaging
  • Strong expertise in quantitative image analysis approaches
  • Excellent molecular biology skills
  • Strong interest and experience in using interdisciplinary approaches in their research program
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills
  • Track record of writing papers as evidenced by publications/preprints in the relevant field
  • Track record of using interdisciplinary approaches in their research


  • Good understanding of tissue morphogenesis/mechanics
  • Previous experience in using biophysical tools
  • Experience in zebrafish embryological techniques and zebrafish gene editing techniques

Find out what benefits the Crick has to offer:

For more information on our great pay and benefits package please click here:

Equality, Diversity & Inclusion:

We welcome applications from all backgrounds. We are committed to providing equal employment opportunities, regardless of ethnicity, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, pregnancy, age, disability, or civil partnership, marital or family status. We particularly welcome applications from people who are Minority Ethnic as they are currently underrepresented in the Crick at this level.

Diversity is essential to excellence in scientific endeavour. It increases breadth and perspective, leading to more innovation and creativity. We want the Crick to be a place where everyone feels valued and where diversity is celebrated and seen as part of the foundation for our Institute’s success.

The Crick is committed to creating equality of opportunity and promoting diversity and inclusivity. We all share in the responsibility to actively promote dignity, respect, inclusivity and equal treatment and it is our aim to ensure that these principles are reflected and implemented in all strategies, policies and practices.

Read more on our website:


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