Research Fellow (Cancer Biology) School of Pharmacy
The School of Pharmacy at Queen’s University Belfast, is currently seeking to appoint an exceptional candidate to the post of Research Fellow.
Blood tests, instead of invasive tissues biopsies, are the holy grail for cancer diagnosis and optimal treatment selection for patients. Such blood tests called “Liquid Biopsies” offer many advantages over tissue biopsies such as (i) being faster, cheaper, and routinely available; (ii) avoiding unnecessary delays for those with cancer and worry for those with harmless conditions; (iii) maximising optimal treatment choices, while avoiding use of often expensive drugs producing side-effects but no benefit; and (iv) reducing overall strain on healthcare. Even if Liquid Biopsies do not fully replace all tissue biopsies, they could add benefit by enabling on-going monitoring for tumour recurrence, treatment response, etc., contributing to improved quality-of-life and longevity.
Increasing evidence by members of the All-Ireland Cancer Liquid Biopsies Consortium (CLuB), at Trinity College Dublin (TCD) and Queen’s University Belfast (QUB) and others indicate that substantial information originating from tumours enter body fluids, such as the bloodstream, and so have potential as Liquid Biopsies, serving as non-invasive alternatives to surgical biopsies. These entities, representing the tumour, include circulating tumour cells, tumour DNA (mutated/methylated-DNA); RNA; and extracellular vesicles (i.e., shed vesicles containing cancer cell contents and implicated in drug-resistance, immune suppression, metastasis). Combining this multi-disciplinary expertise with expertise in big data analysis at the National University of Ireland Galway (NUI Galway) as an emerging hub of excellence, CLuB will synergistically evaluate component parts of cancer liquid biopsies, assessing their individual relevance and the added value of their co-analysis towards the development of personalised profiles and optimal patient care. It will also evaluate tumour organoids as ‘patient avatars’, contributing further information to the liquid biopsy, as well as assessing optimal treatment choices for the individual cancer patient.
There are, however, still many gaps in knowledge that need to be addressed to ensure optimal use of liquid biopsies for patients, societal, and economic benefit. Addressing this, CLuB’s objective is to provide excellent and integrated multi-disciplinary training to a critical mass of outstanding researchers, while performing novel cutting-edge research to address these gaps and generate new knowledge. This will be achieved by appointing 7 Post-Doctoral Fellows and 4 PhD students (as well as 3 Nurses and a Technician) offering secondments, training, and additional networking opportunities. All PI’s have highly relevant and complementary expertise that will collectively contribute to the training/mentoring of a critical cohort of CluB personnel as future leaders. This specific post, working in the Buckley group, School of Pharmacy, will focus on the development of a organoid-based biobank from patient samples and assess how this may be used as a source of secreted material to be assessed in liquid biopsy based assays.
The successful candidate must have, and your application should clearly demonstrate you have:
- Have or about to obtain a PhD in cancer biology, or biomedical sciences
- 3 years’ recent relevant experience in standard molecular biology assays (e.g. tissue culture of human and/or murine cancer cell lines, western blot, qPCR, flow cytometry)
- Experience in assessment of key cancer phenotypes (proliferation, migration, invasion, etc)
- Experience in advanced tissue culture techniques such as primary cell culture, tissue explants, organoids and/or 3D models
Please note the above are not an exhaustive list.
Fixed Term available until 31/08/2026
Fixed term contract posts are available for the stated period in the first instance but in particular circumstances may be renewed or made permanent subject to availability of funding.
At Queen’s our people are at the heart of everything we do. As a staff member you will become part of a vibrant organisational culture, which will provide you with the opportunity to achieve your full potential and enhance your career through a continuous focus on learning and development.
We offer an excellent employment package that includes:
- Great terms & conditions
- Pension schemes
- Family-friendly initiatives
- Career development opportunities
- Support for health & mental wellbeing
- Generous holiday entitlement of 8 weeks a year (made up of 23 days annual leave, 10 closure days and 9 bank holidays)
Queen’s University is committed to promoting equality of opportunity to all. We have created an inclusive culture by establishing staff networks such as iRise (Race) and PRISM (LGBTQ+) which help us progress equality.
We also subscribe to Equality Charter Marks such as the Diversity Charter Mark NI in addition to Athena Swan. For further information on our commitment to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, please visit: www.qub.ac.uk/diversity; www.qub.ac.uk/qgi and www.qub.ac.uk/sites/StaffGateway/StaffNetworks/
Informal enquiries may be directed to Mr Cory Fines at firstname.lastname@example.org
For further information about the role including the essential and desirable criteria please click Candidate Information Below.