Post Doctoral Research Fellow in Life Science

Sydney, Australia
19 Jun 2018
End of advertisement period
22 Jul 2018
Academic Discipline
Life sciences, Biological Sciences
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

Stem Cells & Cancer Group

  • One of the Asia-Pacific’s leading research intensive Universities
  • Strong regional and global engagement
  • Cutting edge facilities and equipment

At UNSW, we pride ourselves on being a workplace where the best people come to do their best work. UNSW is currently implementing a ten year strategy to 2025 and our ambition for the next decade is nothing less than to establish UNSW as Australia’s global university. We aspire to this in the belief that a great university, which is a global leader in discovery, innovation, impact, education and thought leadership, can make an enormous difference to the lives of people in Australia and around the world.

About the role  

Junior or Senior PostDoctoral Research Fellow (Level B)

  • $92K-$129K plus (17% superannuation and leave loading)
  • Fixed Term for up to three years
  • Full-time

The vibrant and interdisciplinary Stem Cell & Cancer Group is focusing on targeting cancer stem cells to prevent relapse in pancreatic cancer, one of the most devastating human cancers. It has now become evident that cancer heterogeneity is promoted by so-called cancer stem cells (CSCs), which are responsible for intraclonal heterogeneity, are driving metastasis and are inherently resistant to conventional therapies. Specifically, CSCs represent a subset of cancer cells, for which we and other have provided conclusive evidence down to the single-cell level that they represent the root of the disease by giving rise to all differentiated progenies within each cancer subclone (e.g. Cell Stem Cell 2007, 2011, 2015, Cell Metab 2015, Cancer Cell 2014, 2016, Nat Methods 2014). We now aim to improve the still dismal outcome of pancreatic cancer by systematically developing new strategies that target these highly tumourigenic and metastatic CSCs.

The underlying hypothesis is that comprehensive functional interrogation of CSCs results in the identification of novel CSC targets with broad applicability. Inhibition of these newly defined CSC pathways will reduce CSC content and thus prevent tumour relapse during/following treatment. To achieve this, we have developed an array of innovative methods that allow for the first time in vivo functional interrogation of rare CSCs embedded in whole primary human tumours including a comprehensive tumour microenvironment. To identify common regulators of CSC functions we are analysing (metastatic) CSCs derived from patients with (advanced) pancreatic cancer. In vivo RNAi library screens have now revealed several novel targets for specifically eliminating these cells.

The selected Post-Doctoral Research Fellow will lead independent research projects within the Group in order to jointly realise the objectives and development of our research programme on the “Identification and validation of novel targets against cancer stem cells”, thereby contributing to the overall scientific endeavour of the Group. The successful candidate will be focusing on two candidate genes, for which we already generated preliminary in vitro data validating their potential as novel CSC targets. The project will span a broad spectrum of advanced in vitro and in vivo techniques. All techniques have been developed/established in the lab. The project will start ASAP.

About you

To be successful in this role you will:

  • lead the intellectual development of the assigned project, including figure preparation and research writing for publications and grant proposals. 
  • perform experimental procedures in animals, where necessary
  • work towards a publication record of the kind that will enhance the Group’s research reputation at national and international level and that will clearly demonstrate originality and scholarship
  • make research initiatives and original contributions to the research programme wherever possible and to contribute freely to the team research environment in a manner conducive to the success of the research project as a whole
  • attend and participate in Group’s academic activities, e.g. laboratory and journal club meetings, and weekly seminars
  • are responsible for supervising trainees as required.
  • cooperate with all health and safety policies and procedures of the university and take all reasonable care to ensure that your actions or omissions do not impact on the health and safety of yourself or others.

You should systematically address the following selection criteria in your application.

  • A PhD (or MD) thesis in life science or a related discipline
  • An in-depth understanding of cancer and/or stem cell biology
  • A track record in publishing scientific research papers in a relevant area or field, and experience in grant writing
  • Research laboratory experience, e.g. advanced molecular biology techniques, cell sorting and confocal microscopy, in vivo mouse experimentation, especially cancer models,
  • Understanding of the research process and active contribution to the project development process
  • Knowledge of health and safety responsibilities and commitment to attending relevant health and safety training.

You may be required to undergo pre-employment checks prior to appointment to this role.


Prof. Christopher Heeschen

Head, Stem Cells in Cancer Group


T: +61 (0) 2 9385 1004

Applications close: 11:00 pm Sunday 22nd July 2018

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UNSW is an equal opportunity employer committed to diversity

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