Postdoctoral Training Fellow - Molecular Cell Biology of Autophagy Lab

Postdoctoral Training Fellows are expected to lead their own projects and collaborate within the lab and externally. The ability to work in a team is essential.
Deadline for applications has passed.

Key information

Job reference
From £38,300, subject to skills and experience
Applications closed
21 February 2022, 23:59 GMT
Hours per week
36 (full time)
Posted 21 January 2022
Background texture taken from the lab imagery.

The research group

The lab employs molecular cell biology approaches to study autophagy, a cellular recycling system. We are looking to recruit a new postdoc funded by The Francis Crick. The new postdoc will conduct research to study the mechanism of autophagosome formation, in particular the protein and lipid machinery required, using cell biology, biochemistry, and microscopy (confocal, super-resolution, and electron microscopy). More information about the Molecular Cell Biology Laboratory can be obtained here:

Project summary

The focus of the lab is to understand autophagy in mammalian cells, and in particular the initial stages of autophagosome formation induced by amino acid starvation. This is a fascinating process of vesicle formation and membrane remodelling that requires immediate mobilization of both proteins and lipids in an orchestrated fashion. We study both the essential autophagy proteins (called ATG proteins), as well as the network of interactors underlying these complex membrane events. Our work employs modern cell biology techniques, biochemistry, state of the art light and electron microscopy, and structural approaches. It is anticipated that the successful applicant will become proficient in a number of these techniques, and in addition to the expertise within the lab, be supported and trained by the Francis Crick Institute Science technology platforms (STPs).

The research aims to understand the mechanism of autophagy initiation through the activity of the WIPI family of proteins. In the canonical autophagy pathway WIPI2 is a key autophagy protein. Positioned between activated ULK1 and class III PI3K and the ATG8/LC3/GABARAP family it is a pivotal protein in the pathway. The regulation of WIPI2 membrane recruitment, binding to ATG5-12-16, and dissociation from the membrane are all open questions. Recent new data in the lab provides evidence that WIPI proteins are regulated by phosphorylation, a post-translational modification, and interactions with novel proteins. The project will address this regulatory activity and role of interactors both in cell models and in reconstituted systems. Further evidence supporting these experiments will be obtained by a structure-function approach both in cell models and using purified proteins.

Research techniques used in the laboratory include

  • Cell Biology
  • Molecular biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Imaging employing light microscopy, super resolution microscopy and electron microscopy
  • Structural Biology
  • Biophysics

Postdoctoral Training Fellows are expected to lead their own projects, contribute to other projects on a collaborative basis (both in the lab and with external collaborators) and guide PhD students in their research. The ability to work in a team is essential.

Key experience and competencies

The post holder should embody and demonstrate our core Crick values: bold, imaginative, open, dynamic and collegial. In addition to a passion for molecular mechanisms and cell biology, the following:


  • PhD in Cell biology, biochemistry/related fields or in the final stages of PhD submission
  • Experience with biochemical characterisation of proteins and/or lipids
  • Experience with mammalian cell biology
  • Track record of writing papers as evidenced by publications or submitted manuscripts in referred journals
  • Evidence of data presentation at scientific meetings
  • Experience of experimental design
  • Ability to work independently and also capable of interacting within a group


  • Experience with microscopy techniques
  • Experience with lipids
  • Experience with biophysical approaches
  • Experience with relevant software tools such as Fuji R, Python, or MATLAB