Postdoctoral Training Fellow in Synthetic Systems Biochemistry: The research aims to understand the basic design principles underlying the architecture of bipolar spindles that assemble during cell division.

This is a full-time, fixed term position for 4 years on Crick terms and conditions of employment.

Postdoctoral Training Fellow in Synthetic Systems Biochemistry


Work in Thomas Surrey’s group focuses on understanding cellular architectures using biochemical reverse-engineering approaches.

The group has pioneered several in vitro reconstitutions of dynamic microtubule cytoskeleton behaviour.

Main interests are (i) control of microtubule nucleation and dynamics, (ii) role of molecular motors in cytoskeleton organisation, (iii) mitotic spindle assembly and function, (iv) interplay between microtubule cytoskeleton organisation and membrane confinement.

Major techniques used are biochemical in vitro reconstitutions, microfabrication and microfluidics, advanced fluorescence microscopy, quantitative analysis and theoretical modelling.

The overall research aim is to gain a quantitative mechanistic understanding of complex cell biological phenomena from the molecular to the systems level.

The group usually comprises 2-3 postdoctoral research fellows and 3-4 graduate students supported by 3 postdoctoral level research assistants. Details of the research projects currently being undertaken can be seen at

Postdoctoral Training Fellow in Synthetic Systems Biochemistry


The research aims to understand the basic design principles underlying the architecture of bipolar spindles that assemble during cell division.

Although most components constituting the cytoskeleton are known, it is not understood how they work together as a system to produce distinct dynamic architectures in different cell types and at different times during the cell cycle.

Here we take the perspective of an engineer or a physicist and ask what is the minimal set of components that allows the self-organization of bipolar microtubule architectures.

The vision is to understand the phase space of natural cytoskeletal architectures as a consequence of active filament network self-organization, using bottom-up reconstitution approaches and mathematical modelling.

The specific goal is to investigate the minimal conditions that can lead to the self-organization of bipolarity which is the key characteristic of mitotic and meiotic spindles that allows them to distribute the cell’s genome to the two daughter cells.

A large number of human spindle proteins has been purified in the lab and extensive biochemistry and microscopy expertise is available to support the project.

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.

Postdoctoral Training Fellow in Synthetic Systems Biochemistry


The post holder should embody and demonstrate our core Crick values: bold, imaginative, open, dynamic and collegial, in addition to the following:


  • PhD in biochemistry or biophysics or in the final stages of PhD submission
  • Track record of publication, evidenced by published research papers or submitted manuscripts in refereed journals
  • Genuine interest in ‘building the cell’ approaches
  • Excellent understanding of physical biochemistry and/or biophysics
  • Good understanding of cell biology
  • Extensive experience in molecular biology (cloning) and biochemistry (protein purifications)
  • Willingness to learn new techniques
  • Good organisational skills, ability to work independently and to prioritise workload
  • Experience of contributing effectively to work of a team


  • Experience in in-vitro reconstitution approaches
  • Experience in advanced fluorescence microscopy techniques
  • Experience in microfabrication/microfluidics
  • Experience in cytoskeleton and/or membrane biochemistry research
  • Experience in mathematical modelling

Please note: all offers of employment are subject to successful security screening and continuous eligibility to work in the United Kingdom.

Deadline: 26 June 2018

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