Postdoctoral Training Fellow (The Francis Crick Institute)

Vacancy Reference Number
Closing Date
17 Nov 2019
Competitive with benefits, subject to skills and experience
The Francis Crick Institute, 1 Midland Road, London
4 years

This is a full-time fixed term (4 year) position on Crick terms and conditions of employment. The research group The Znamenskiy lab is looking for a postdoctoral fellow interested in studying the relationship between molecular make-up and circuit function of cortical neurons. Our goal is to discover how the gene expression patterns of cortical neurons guide the development of the distinct input/output wiring rules that give rise to their specialized response properties and route their output to appropriate targets.

Members of the lab will benefit from access to phenomenal scientific technology platforms of the Francis Crick Institute and its collaborative environment alongside other developmental and systems neuroscience groups. Project summary Excitatory cortical neurons are specialized—they send their long-range projections to a small number of areas and carry different kind of signals depending on where they project. These specializations limit what signals are available to their downstream targets and define the flow of information in the brain. Cortical neurons are also diverse at the molecular level, with every cortical area containing perhaps tens of different classes of excitatory cells, which differ between areas. How this genetic heterogeneity influences which input individual neurons select and where they send their axons is not known.

To tackle this question, we are using the primary visual cortex (V1) of the mouse as a model. Projections of V1 target a number of regions, including several higher visual areas that lie immediately adjacent to it. V1 neurons projecting to different higher visual areas show different biases in their responses to visual inputs and make connections with different populations of neurons in the local circuit. To understand how gene expression programs of V1 neurons determine their projection targets and constrain their functional properties, this postdoctoral project will combine measurements or perturbations of gene expression with detailed analysis of neuronal function and connectivity in vivo.

The details of the project will depend on the candidate’s background and interests but all projects are likely to involve an element of technology development. Therefore, a methodical approach to debugging new techniques and willingness to carry out high-risk high reward experiments would be key qualities for a successful candidate. In addition, postdoctoral fellows in the lab are expected to collaborate with other members of the team and contribute to other projects aiming to understand the organization of cortical circuits and its developmental origins.

Key experience and competencies


? PhD in Molecular Life Sciences, Neuroscience, or a related field, or in the final stages of PhD submission

? Good data analysis skills

? Ability to design experiments, review and troubleshoot results, and report on outcomes

? Enthusiasm for collaborative projects and willingness to help colleagues

? Good organizational and time management skills

? Track record of writing papers as evidenced by publications, submitted manuscripts in peer-reviewed journal, or pre-prints

? Evidence of data presentation at scientific meetings

? Commitment to the values of open science

By its nature, this project spans different subfields and would benefit from a range of technical skills. The skills listed below are not essential but any of them would be helpful. Most importantly, we are looking for candidates with the intellectual curiosity to learn new approaches and the courage to take on challenging projects.


? Experience with programming (ideally Python or MATLAB)

? Experience in RNA-seq, FISH, or in situ sequencing

? Experience in bioinformatics

? Experience with in utero electroporation

? Experience with CRISPR gene editing

? In vivo calcium imaging

? Fluorescence microscopy techniques on fixed tissue

For more information and to apply, please click here, and you will be taken to the postdoctorate page. Under 'Recruitment', click 'visit our vacancies page' and scroll down to find 'Postdoctoral Training Fellow - Znamenskiy Laboratory'.