Postdoctoral Fellow – PARP inhibitor resistance in cancer
Job Type: Full time
R-180218: Postdoctoral Fellow – PARP inhibitor resistance in cancer
Location: The Discovery Centre, Cambridge Biomedical Centre, Cambridge, UK
Competitive Salary, Bonus & Benefits Package
Do you have expertise in, and a passion for molecular biology? Do you have a keen interest in the DNA damage response and cancer research, particularly in the areas of PARP inhibitors, CRISPR screens, biomarkers and mechanisms of drug resistance? Then join the DNA Damage Response team at AstraZeneca and unlock the power of what science can do.
AstraZeneca is a global, science-led, patient-centred biopharmaceutical company focusing on discovering, developing, and commercialising prescription medicines for some of the world’s most serious diseases. But we’re more than a global leading pharmaceutical company. At AstraZeneca, we're dedicated to being a Great Place to Work and empowering employees to push the boundaries of science and fuel their entrepreneurial spirit.
About our Postdoc Programme
Bring your expertise, apply your knowledge, follow the science, and make a difference.
AstraZeneca’s Postdoc Programme is for self-motivated individuals looking to deliver exciting projects in an encouraging, engaging, and innovative environment. You'll work with multidisciplinary scientific teams from a diverse set of backgrounds and a world-class academic mentor specifically aligned to your project. Our postdocs are respected as specialists, encouraged to speak up, and supported to share their research at conferences, publish papers, achieve their goals.
Make a more meaningful impact in your career, with greater ownership and accountability to make a contribution whilst making a difference to the lives of our patients!
This is a 3-year programme.
About the Opportunity
The purpose of this position is to provide early-career researchers with an opportunity to develop their expertise and skills in the field of DDR Biology, specifically on their applicability to drug discovery programs. Postdocs play a crucial role in advancing scientific knowledge and driving innovation in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries.
Our postdoctoral fellow will join Dr Josep Forment’s team (Director, Bioscience DDR, Oncology R&D). Supervised by Dr Forment, you will benefit from a supportive community of scientists within the AZ DDR team and from well-established structures and guidance by current and previous postdoctoral fellows within the team. This is a truly collaborative role, seeing you engage with other functions within AZ, particularly Translational Medicine.
Dr Forment has an extensive publication record in DDR biology and is the current pre-clinical lead of the PARP inhibitor, olaparib. Academic mentorship and guidance will be provided by Professor Ross Chapman, a leading expert in DDR biology based at the University of Oxford (https://www.rdm.ox.ac.uk/people/ross-chapman)
The primary objective of this project is to generate one or more high quality publications, which the team produces on a regular basis.
DDR is one of the scientific platforms we are focusing on at AZ, to improve clinical outcomes in Oncology. Our understanding of the role the DDR plays in cancer is enabling us to push our research further to target a broad range of cancers including difficult-to-treat or aggressive cancers.
An example of this is the development of PARP inhibitors (PARPi), which exploit the genetic vulnerabilities caused by mutations in homologous recombination repair (HRR) genes like BRCA1 and BRCA2. We have performed a number of CRISPR screens in cell lines carrying different BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations and identified novel PARPi resistance pathways. Our postdoc will explore the molecular mechanisms driving this resistance and their translational relevance.
What You’ll Do
In this role you'll acquire an understanding of the importance of providing mechanistic insights into DDR targeted therapy and learn the importance of this in terms of both drug discovery and developing lines of sight for clinical development.
Key Duties & Responsibilities:
- Design and conduct in vitro experiments utilising various molecular biology and genome editing methods
- Plan, write, publish, and present high-quality scientific papers
- Work collaboratively with other members of the in vitro and in vivo DDR biology team and be responsible for designing, analysing, interpreting and presenting your data both internally within AZ Oncology and externally to academic audiences
Qualification, Skills & Experience
Our Postdoc programme is aimed at individuals who are either:
- Within 5-years of obtaining their doctoral degree (PhD, DVM, or MD) - PhD already awarded, or
- Students, soon to obtain doctoral degrees (the PhD must be awarded within 6 months of joining AstraZeneca)
- A PhD or equivalent in biochemistry, cancer biology or molecular and cell biology, preferentially in the DNA-damage response field
- Experience in molecular biology methods and in vitro genetic manipulation techniques
- Highly motivated and ambitious, you will employ the highest standards of scientific excellence and integrity
- Strong communication skills, with fluent written and spoken English and a desire to work in a collaborative, multi-disciplinary setting
- Experience in a variety of in vitro biochemical, cell biology and pharmacology-related skills that can be applied to DDR and oncology research. For example: growth inhibition/toxicity assays, colony-forming assays, immunoblotting, immunofluorescence staining with high-content microscopy, cell cycle analysis, flow cytometry, CRISPR cell line generation and DNA repair reporter assays
- Good knowledge of cancer biology and the utility of DNA damage response inhibitors
- An understanding of PARP inhibitor and homologous recombination repair (HRR) biology
- A strong scientific track-record, as evidenced by published or accepted papers in well recognised peer-reviewed journals, oral and/or poster presentations at scientific meetings
Reasons to Apply
This is a fantastic opportunity to work in a dynamic team of DDR experts in drug discovery and clinical drug positioning. You’ll benefit from gaining experience in working in a large pharma company and being part of the science team working on early-stage cancer drug discovery and development.
Through your experience at AZ, you will come to understand how these basic research insights can be translated into strategies for developing cancer therapy and to implement patient selection strategies.
We believe you will gain significant experience from this position, eventually developing important skills that enhance basic science, drug discovery and translational understanding, providing a great platform to either continue in industry or return to academic research with important insights gained from an industrial placement.
The unique positioning of this postdoc within a pharmaceutical company such as AZ, means that you will be able to access large datasets which are not available in the public domain. Moreover, you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that methods and techniques you develop will not only be published but will also be used within AZ after the postdoc position concludes, in real-life projects - and that ultimately the work you do will directly impact patients’ lives!
As a key member of a research group and taking a leading role on a Postdoctoral project, we expect regular attendance - a minimum of 3 days per week on the AstraZeneca campus. For laboratory-based scientists, this may be higher.
Given the unique positioning of our Postdoctoral researchers, you may have an additional opportunity to spend some time with an external academic mentor. In this instance, you may be required to spend some of your time working alongside them at their facility as driven by the research project. Your flexibility to meet the needs of the research and the scope of the project is required, and we also look to support you with flexibility in accordance with our standard work policies.
If your passion is science and you want to be part of a team that makes a bigger impact on patients’ lives, then there’s no better place to be.
This advert will be running from Thursday, 26th October 2023 and, we welcome your application as soon as possible, but ahead of the scheduled closing date of Sunday, 14th January 2024. In the event, that we identify suitable candidates ahead of the scheduled closing date, we reserve the right to withdraw the vacancy earlier than published.
Find Out More
AstraZeneca DNA Damage Response: https://www.astrazeneca.com/our-therapy-areas/oncology/dna-damage-response.html
Our recent publications: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/?term=forment+jv&filter=years.2021-2023&sort=date
AZ’s Postdoc Programme: https://careers.astrazeneca.com/postdocs-astrazeneca
Life at AstraZeneca: https://careers.astrazeneca.com/life-at-astrazeneca
This is what we’re made of: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pmFx_jr2eFo&t=2s
AstraZeneca embraces diversity and equality of opportunity. We are committed to building an inclusive and diverse team representing all backgrounds, with as wide a range of perspectives as possible, and harnessing industry-leading skills. We believe that the more inclusive we are, the better our work will be. We welcome and consider applications to join our team from all qualified candidates, regardless of their characteristics. We follow all applicable laws and regulations on non-discrimination in employment (and recruitment), as well as work authorisation and employment eligibility verification requirements.
AstraZeneca embraces diversity and equality of opportunity. We are committed to building an inclusive and diverse team representing all backgrounds, with as wide a range of perspectives as possible, and harnessing industry-leading skills. We believe that the more inclusive we are, the better our work will be. We welcome and consider applications to join our team from all qualified candidates, regardless of their characteristics. We comply with all applicable laws and regulations on non-discrimination in employment (and recruitment), as well as work authorization and employment eligibility verification requirements.