The Francis Crick Institute

Postdoctoral Training fellow in Host-Pathogen interaction

The Francis Crick Institute

London, United Kingdom

Job Title: Postdoctoral Training Fellow – Treeck Laboratory Salary: Competitive with benefits, subject to skills and experience Advertising length: must be live for 28 days- closing date will be on 24 July 2020 at 23.45


We seek a talented and motivated postdoc to join Moritz Treeck’s laboratory in the Francis Crick Institute.

In the Treeck lab we are interested in how intracellular parasites remodel their host cells to their own needs. We work with two related intracellular parasites, Toxoplasma, maybe the most successful parasite on earth and the malaria-causing parasite Plasmodium falciparum. This position is centred around the biology of the human malaria causing parasite and a family of kinases it secretes into the host cell (see Davies & Bela et al., Nature Microbiology, 2020).

We offer a 4-year fully funded postdoc position to develop an independent protect that aims to understand the function of the FIKK kinase family in host pathogen interaction under laboratory conditions, as well as under conditions found in the human host. You will join a highly diverse lab currently consisting of 6 postdocs and 4 PhD students from various biological backgrounds (visit The lab is located in the Francis Crick Institute ( in central London, where we benefit from outstanding in-house science technology platforms that support out science including, but not limited to: genomics/ proteomics/ imaging/ electron microscopy/ chemistry/ computational biology/ high throughput analysis/ structural biology. In addition to that, there are extensive training programs at the Crick for personal and professional development.


Intracellular parasites export proteins into their host cells to remodel them to their own needs. The human malaria causing parasite Plasmodium falciparum is predicted to export ~10% of its proteome into the host cell. Among these ~450 proteins is a kinase family of ~19 kinases, the FIKKS. All predicted exported members of this family are restricted to this species- and not found in any of the other ~5 human infecting Plasmodium species. We recently showed that this leads to species- specific remodelling events of the red blood cell the parasite infects. At least 2 of these 19 kinases regulate cytoadhesion of the infected red blood cell to the host endothelium, a major cause for malaria pathology. The function of most of the other exported kinases remains obscure. The incoming postdoc will build an independent project to unravel the function of the kinases in host pathogen interaction.

In this project, some of the specific aims could include but are not limited to:

  • Cell biological dissection of the consequences of kinase deletion in host cells such as biophysical measurements of red blood cell properties/ high resolution microscopy methods/ protein-protein interaction studies using enzymatic tagging (BioID/ Co-IP and mass-spectrometry)
  • Biochemical characterisation of the kinases, including structural biology and inhibitor design
  • Genetic analysis of the kinase family, including genome sequences and transcriptomes from field isolates.


The Francis Crick institute is an entirely new institute with a distinctive vision of how biomedical research is conducted. It is one of the most significant projects in UK biomedical science for a generation. The institute’s labs have an international reputation for cutting edge research into basic biology and are committed to training the next generation of research scientists.

On 1 April 2015, staff from the London Research Institute (CRUK) and National Institute for Medical Research (MRC) transferred to the Crick to form a fully functional research institute on four sites. In 2016, the Crick will move to a single new, purpose built research centre in St. Pancras which will house some 1,500 staff.


The post holder should embody and demonstrate our core Crick values: Bold, Imaginative, Open, Dynamic and Collegial, in addition to the following:

High motivation, creativity and ability to work independently and as part of a diverse group are esential for this position. The ideal candidate has a solid background in any of the following:

  • Identification of protein-protein interactions (BioID/ Co-IP/ Cross-linking)
  • Protein biochemistry or structural biology
  • computational biologists with the ability to analyse large datasets (bulk or single cell gene expression and / or genome sequencing from field isolates, mass-spectrometry data)
  • Cell biology of the (infected) erythrocyte
  • state-of-the art microscopy approaches such as super-resolution microscopy/ electron microscopy/ atomic force microscopy

A Postdoctoral Scientist will have opportunities to develop independent research project skills and collaborative links with colleagues within the Institute and elsewhere.

To join us you’ll need:

  • A PhD (or be in the final stages of completion) in genetics, cell biology/ computational biology or biochemistry
  • Willingness to work with human pathogens (Plasmodium falciparum)
  • Willingness to work (sometimes) on weekends or evening hours (the lifecycle of the parasite sometimes dictates when an experiment has to be done).
  • The post-holder is expected to be highly creative and motivated, be able to independently but also interact well within a group, and keep detailed records of experiments.
  • Post-holder is expected to be able to communicate well in English.
  • Evidence of data presentation at scientific meetings
  • Experience of experimental design


  • Experience in working with kinases

Please submit:

  • A specific cover letter is required detailing your interest in the project and which particular part you are interested working on (cell biology/ structural biology/…), which skills you bring to the lab and what you would like to learn (1 Page maximum).
  • A CV
  • Three letters of recommendation

Postdoctoral Training Fellows are expected to lead their own projects, contribute to other projects on a collaborative basis (both in the lab and with external collaborators) and guide PhD students in their research. The ability to work in a team is essential.


Please apply via recruiter’s website.