× Medicines Discovery Catapult

The role of Lead Scientist – Neurobiology Cell Models would suit a highly motivated self-starter who is passionate about better translation of preclinical cell culture models to the clinic, and improved patient outcomes. MDC is aiming to develop and validate a broad range of human cell models (healthy and disease), which it will make available to the UK life science community. The successful individual will be responsible for leading MDC’s strategy for developing a platform for the study of neuroinflammation and neurological diseases.

They will establish a variety of relevant neuronal and glial cell models with an emphasis on patient-relevant microglial biology and on complex 3D co-culture models. These will be utilised on projects with SMEs that will enable the testing of new potential therapies or technologies. These activities will be supported by a multidisciplinary team. The initial focus will be in developing robust methods for culturing human microglial cells in different activation states and a human model of blood brain barrier permeability.

To ensure adoption of these models, the successful applicant will need to demonstrate that these models are superior to existing models e.g. by more closely replicating disease pathology, showing similar molecular expression to human tissues and the ability to measure appropriate functional outcomes.

The successful candidate will be the disease area expert in neuroscience and will use this experience to support other areas of MDC in developing the neurological assay platform e.g. high-resolution imaging and mass spectrometry. The lead scientist will also be responsible for leading innovation in neuroscience disease models and assays, ensuring that MDC is ahead of new developments in the field. The opportunity to join a world class laboratory team in this high-profile national organisation should provide a fantastic platform for career development.

Main duties and responsibilities

  • Lead the development and scale-up of humanised 2D and 3D neurobiology models with an initial focus on models of neuroinflammation
  • Establish and validate experimental endpoints for neurobiology to industry standards
  • Establish and lead collaborations to develop these models and utilise them in drug discovery programmes
  • Act as the disease area expert, providing insights to allow the development of a neurobiology platform across all technologies within the Catapult
  • Deliver high quality data in a complex and time pressured research team environment
  • Contribute drug discovery knowledge, scientific insight and innovative technical approaches for more successful drug discovery programmes
  • Effective communication and research collaboration skills, working with a wide range of colleagues in range of academic and commercial organisations
  • Supervision of more junior members of staff and/or students on a day to day basis

Qualifications and Experience

  • The successful candidates will possess a PhD in neurobiology, along with substantial relevant postdoctoral experience
  • Extensive experience in culture of mammalian cells including significant background of working with human primary and iPSC derived microglia and/or blood brain barrier models
  • Experience of working in drug discovery, ideally in an industry setting
  • Proven expertise and good publication record in neurobiology and development of complex in vitro disease models of neurodegeneration
  • Proven track record of leading and delivering projects in a collaborative environment
  • Broad knowledge of innovative technologies being applied to advance complex cell models
  • Experience of working in or with SMEs and a good understanding of commercialisation of science would be an advantage