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Research Assistant at UCL Institute of Neurology

UCL Huntington’s Disease (HD) Centre 

Applications are invited for a Research Assistant to work on a Cure Huntington’s Disease Initiative (CHDI) Foundation funded project within Professor Sarah J Tabrizi’s research group at the Huntington’s Disease Centre, UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology.  

Recent genome-wide association (GWA) data from our group and others has highlighted the importance of the DNA damage response (DDR) pathway in the modulation of age at onset (AAO) and progression of Huntington’s disease (HD). This post will examine the involvement of DDR proteins in somatic CAG repeat expansion in the Huntingtin (HTT) gene that is observed in HD models. The post holder will use HD patient induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) that demonstrate somatic instability (SI) at the CAG repeat to model the effects of DDR pathway gene mutations found in either fast or slow progressing HD patients, specifically FAN1 and MSH3 mutations.  They will use techniques including antisense oligonucleotide (ASO) and shRNA-mediated knockdown, and CRISPR to manipulate expression of DDR pathway components in iPSCs, which will subsequently be differentiated to medium spiny neurons (MSNs). The effect on SI in MSNs will be monitored using CAG repeat sizing and HD phenotypes assessed using High Content Imaging (Opera Phenix). Effects on DNA repair and damage will be investigated in a number of ways including DNA repair reporter assays.

The post-holder will be responsible for daily maintenance of human iPSC lines, differentiation to neuronal cultures and assisting with the day-to-day running of the tissue culture laboratory. 

The successful candidate will hold Honours degree (minimum 2:1) in biological science or a related discipline. Experience of working in experimental laboratory research is essential, as is tissue culture experience and molecular biology experience including PCR assays and transduction/ transfection of cells. Experience of iPSC cultures and biochemical assays including western blotting is desirable, as is an understanding of neuroscience and neurodegenerative diseases. 

The post is available from 1 September 2020 and is funded by a grant from the CHDI Foundation until 31 August 2022 in the first instance. Starting salary is on UCL Grade 6B which ranges from £31,479 to £33,194 pa, including London Allowance. 

You should apply for this post through UCL’s online recruitment website, www.ucl.ac.uk/hr/jobs, where you can download a full job description and person specification using ref 1869360. 

If you have any queries regarding the application process, please contact Samantha Robinson, HR Officer, UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology (email: ion.hradmin@ucl.ac.uk). 

Informal enquiries concerning the post can be made to Dr Michael Flower (michael.flower@ucl.ac.uk). 

Interview Date: Afternoon of 9 October 2020 

UCL Taking Action for Equality 

We will consider applications to work on a part-time, flexible and job share basis wherever possible.



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