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Postdoctoral Research Associate in Stem Cell Biology & Tissue Engineering

Based at
University of York - Heslington Campus
Hours of work
Contract status
Fixed term
32,817 - 40,322 a year
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Posted Date
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Role Description


We are seeking a highly motivated full-time postdoctoral research associate to join the Jack Birch Unit based in the Department of Biology and York Biomedical Research Institute at the University of York. 

The Jack Birch Unit is a Research Unit that studies the (patho)biology of normal human urothelium using a cell culture system by which normal human urothelial cells can be first expanded then differentiated into functional urothelium. Using this experimental system we have identified the underpinning transcriptional regulators of differentiation (Varley et al., 2008; Fishwick et al., 2017) found to be implicated in bladder cancer (eg Biton et al. 2014), as well as establishing a unique platform for investigating molecular carcinogenesis (Baker et al. 2020). Alongside basic research, we run a translational programme in Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine (eg Morgante et al. 2021). We have shown the potential to transdifferentiate buccal cells towards a urothelial phenotype by retroviral transduction of key nuclear receptor genes (Hustler et al., 2018), setting the scene for iPS cell reprogramming to urothelium.  


Significant progress has been made in developing kidney-like organoids, but challenges remain before these approaches can be used to supplement or replace failing host kidneys.  This exciting new 3 year position is funded by the Wellcome Trust Human Organs, Physiology and Engineering (HOPE) Leap programme as part of a three year programme “Engineering functional human kidneys and urinary tracts”.  The research will involve collaboration with an international expert consortium of scientists, academic nephrologists and surgeons to develop draining plumbed renal units following integration of urothelial tissues into kidney organoids.  As a member of the York team, the researcher will take a lead in generating urothelial tissues from human iPS cells and in characterising the molecular events around urothelial tissue integration with kidney organoids.

We are looking for a highly motivated individual able to conduct high quality research with both basic and translational goals. A critical role will be to generate well-characterised ureteric tissues for integration into kidney organoids, with the secondary aims of differentiating urothelial cells from human induced pluripotent stem cells and characterising the molecular drivers of these processes.  The work will require application of cell and molecular biology approaches, including stem cell programming and tissue engineering technologies. Characterisation will use a combination of immunohistochemistry and single cell RNAseq, including spatial transcriptomics. 

You will contribute to the production of research output and assist with the development of the research programme, including contributing to the building of a strong collaboration between the internal and external team members, analysis and interpretation of research data, use of appropriate research techniques and methods, writing up of research results, and dissemination through publications, seminar and conference presentations.

Skills, Experience & Qualifications needed

  • You will have a strong first degree in Cellular Molecular Biology or related subject and a PhD in a subject relevant to understanding human cell and tissue biology at a molecular level.
  • You should be knowledgeable and experienced in the planning, conduct, analysis, interpretation and validation of scientific findings and in the publication of high-quality research, evidenced by publication. 
  • You should be enthusiastic and have the organisation skills to help co-ordinate a cross-site, multi-disciplinary team.

This is a fixed term contract for 3 years.

This role is available immediately with a view to the appointed candidate ideally being able to start in first week of June or as soon as possible thereafter.

Previous unsuccessful applicants need not reapply.

Interview date: 27 May 2021

For informal enquiries: please contact Professor Jennifer Southgate by email at

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