Senior Laboratory Research Scientist

Vacancy Reference Number
Closing Date
15 Oct 2020
Competitive with benefits, subject to skills and experience
The Francis Crick Institute, Midland Rd, London
Permanent position

Job details

The Prieto-Godino lab ( is seeking a senior laboratory research scientist to support ongoing projects in the lab as well as lead independent research. The goal of the lab is to understand how evolution sculpts nervous systems, giving rise to novel behaviours. Studying the evolutionary forces imposed on neural circuits can provide us with important insights on how brains work and what goes wrong in diseases. We study these questions using as a model the olfactory systems of several fly species, some of which are pests or contribute to the spread of diseases.

The lab employs a multidisciplinary approach to understand how neural circuits function and evolve, combining techniques that range from population whole brain in vivo calcium imaging, electrophysiology, electron microscopy circuit tracing, genetics, bio-informatics, single-cell RNA sequencing, genome editing, behavioural analysis, field work and environmental chemical analysis.

Members of the lab benefit from access to phenomenal scientific technology platforms of the Francis Crick Institute and its collaborative environment alongside other developmental and systems neuroscience groups.

We and others have previously shown that olfactory guided behaviours can evolve through changes in the periphery, at the level of olfactory sensory neurons (e.g. 2017 Neuron, 2016 Nature, 2020 Science Advances). In addition, behavioural diversity can evolve through modification in how sensory information is processed in the brain, but we know much less about how this happens. In the lab, we investigate these processes by combining behavioural studies, with two-photon imaging, electron-microscopy based connectomics, genetics and single-cell transcriptomics. We have found that evolutionary relatives of the lab model D. melanogaster display species-specific behaviours towards odour sources. This is associated with changes in their olfactory sensory neuron ensemble representations. Furthermore, by performing comparative connectomics we found differences in how their central olfactory processing neurons are interconnected, and by using transcriptomics we are investigating the genetic bases of these changes. To address these types of questions we also contribute to the development of novel imaging tools and behavioural set-ups (e.g. 2019 bioRxiv, 2020 bioRxiv, 2017 PLoS Biology). We also use a wide range of computational analysis tools and modelling approaches.

Research in the Prieto-Godino lab is highly collaborative. The position is best suited for a PhD holder in molecular or systems neuroscience. The new appointment will collaborate with other lab members to help them develop and deliver their projects, in addition to running their own independent projects. The exact nature of the collaborative and independent projects will vary depending on the applicant’s background and interest as well as current lab needs, but is likely to involve a subset of molecular cloning, genome editing, behavioural assays, cell culture work, RNA sequencing, confocal imaging, two-photon imaging or computational analysis/modelling.

The successful candidate will perform experiments and analysis for collaborative and independent projects. They will interact with the lab manager and the group leader in the organization and maintenance of the laboratory and support and train other members of the lab.


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

  • PhD in Neuroscience or a related field 
  • Expertise in molecular biology
  • Track record of writing papers as evidenced by publications in refereed journals
  • Track record of working on collaborative projects
  • Experience in design of neurophysiology, neurogenetic or behavioural experiments
  • Strong organizational skills

Desirable skills

  • Expertise in Drosophila genetics
  • Experience in genome editing
  • Experience in data analysis using programming languages such as R, Matlab or Python
  • Experience with confocal or two-photon imaging microscopy

How to apply

Contact details

Lucia Prieto-Godino (Group Leader): lucia.prietogodino(at)