Group leader positions in London

October 23, 2012 § Leave a comment


The Cancer Research UK London Research Institute is currently recruiting Junior Group Leaders. The LRI is the largest research institute funded by Cancer Research UK, the largest independent cancer research organisation in Europe. Its research focusses on the analysis of fundamental biological processes involved in cancer. The Institute’s international staff work in 50 research groups at the Institute’s two London laboratory sites at Clare Hall (South Mimms) or Lincoln’s Inn Fields (central London).

In 2015 the LRI will be absorbed into the new Francis Crick Institute, housed in a state-of-the-art laboratory building currently under construction at St Pancras, London. The Crick will use interdisciplinary approaches to investigate the biology of human health and disease, and will work with scientists and research institutions across the UK. In addition to researchers from LRI, the Crick’s research portfolio – some 1500 researchers in over 120 research groups – will be developed from the MRC National Institute for Medical Research, and three London universities: UCL, King’s College London, and Imperial College London.

These positions thus offer a tremendous opportunity for an ambitious young scientist to establish a world-class research programme in an interactive and supportive environment. LRI research groups are extremely well supported: there is no requirement to obtain external grant funding, there are no teaching responsibilities, and we benefit from centrally funded cutting-edge core technology facilities.

LRI is focussed on the broad area of cancer biology, and particularly interested in the following fields:

Tumour Biology: tumour-host interactions, cancer models, human cancer genomics
Genome integrity: Chromosome Biology, DNA damage, Cell Cycle regulation
Computational Biology: Bioinformatics, biological networks, image processing

Applications should be submitted online.

Deadline November 30.

Theory Lunch this week

October 18, 2012 § Leave a comment

What cell shape oscillations tell us about cortical actin-microtubule interactions and amoeboid migration

Friday, 19 Oct 2012, 12:00-1:30 pm, Warren Alpert 563, HMS

Kenneth Jacobson
Department of Cell Biology and Physiology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Many cellular responses to environmental stimuli involve large-scale changes in cell morphology. For example signaling molecules, such as hormones or growth factors, can induce cell differentiation, proliferation, or migration. These global changes in cell shape are highly coordinated and require dynamic regulation of the actin cytoskeleton. Therefore understanding how the actin and microtubule cytoskeleton and associated regulatory proteins function as an integrated system is a central challenge for cell biology. The morphological oscillations that occur during cell spreading are ideally suited for performing a systems-level investigation into the biochemical and biomechanical mechanisms that drive changes in cell shape. In the broader context, these oscillations constitute a mechanochemical prototype of how signaling networks regulate cytoskeletally driven mechanical behavior that in turn feeds back to modulate the signaling network. Importantly, fluorescently labeled cytoskeletal proteins and fluorescent biosensors allow dynamic structural features of the actin-based cortex and spatiotemporal activity of signaling molecules and visualized. I will discuss what we know about the dynamic structural changes in the actin cortex during oscillations, how Rho proteins regulate these oscillations, how this model may be related to amoeboid migration and emerging theoretical models for this phenotype. If time permits, I will also discuss a new paradigm for membrane domains based on pathogen receptors located on the surface of dendritic cells.

TL schedule here.

Tim Mitchison helps NIGMS celebrate turning 50

October 16, 2012 § Leave a comment

Tune in tomorrow, October 17 at 1pm to see NIGMS’s celebration of 50 years of supporting basic research.


Carlos D. Bustamante, Ph.D.
Professor of Genetics
Stanford University School of Medicine
Population Genetics in the Personal Genome Era: Genomics for the World

Kathy M. Giacomini, Ph.D.
Professor of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences, Pharmaceutical Chemistry, and Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology
Co-Chair, Department of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences
University of California, San Francisco
Shifting Paradigms for Pharmacologic Research

Tim Mitchison, Ph.D.
Hasib Sabbagh Professor of Systems Biology
Deputy Chair, Department of Systems Biology
Harvard Medical School
Microtubules: From Basic Biology to Cancer Drugs and Back Again

Direct link to the live video feed here.  If you miss it, it will be archived here.

New Biomathematics seminar: Starts Weds next week!

October 12, 2012 § Leave a comment

Here are the details on the inaugural Biomathematics Seminar presentation:

Alison L. Hill – Biophysics Program, Harvard University
Going viral: Modeling the dynamics of HIV treatment
Harvard School of Public Health, FXB Building, Room G13, Wednesday October 17th, 4-5 pm

Abstract: I’m a graduate student in Biophysics and HST, and work with Martin Nowak at the Program for Evolutionary Dynamics on the Cambridge campus. My research uses mathematical models to understand how diseases spread and evolve at multiple scales, with a particular focus on the dynamics of anti-HIV drugs. I will discuss our recent work focusing on two of the major shortcomings of current antiretroviral drugs used against HIV – the development of drugs resistance, particularly in patients with suboptimal adherence, and the inability of these drugs to completely eradicate the infection from the body. First, I will discuss techniques we have developed to study the emergence of drug-resistant HIV within a patient, highlighting how we integrate models with laboratory data and measures of patient behavior. I will present results on how pharmacological properties of antiretroviral drugs affect the generation and selection of resistance mutations, and our attempts to realistically simulate clinical trials. Secondly, I will discuss our models of a new drug class, which may be capable of reversing viral latency and hence permanently curing patients with HIV. We can predict the threshold efficacy required of these investigational drugs and suggest important output metrics for planned drug trials. Our preliminary results suggest that the field may be overly optimistic about the potential of current drug candidates, but that a few important yet unknown parameters prevent definitive assessment. These projects are conducted in collaboration with Bob Siliciano’s group at Johns Hopkins.

Schedule for future talks here.

Theory lunch — TODAY

October 12, 2012 § Leave a comment

Trade-offs of aerobic glycolysis
Nikolai Slavov, Oudenaarden group, MIT

Today, 12 October 2012, 12:00-1.30pm, Warren Alpert 563 – HMS

Most cells can derive energy from glucose either by oxidizing it completely to carbon dioxide and water, i.e. oxidative phosphorylation, or by fermenting the glucose to ethanol/lactate. It has been known for a century that under some conditions cells ferment glucose into ethanol/lactate even in the presence of sufficient oxygen to support oxidative phosphorylation. This process, known as aerobic glycolysis, appears surprising since oxidative phosphorylation has higher energy yield per glucose molecule than fermentation. Thus, numerous studies have suggested many elegant mechanisms that, theoretically, can rationalize aerobic glycolysis and yet some of these mechanisms are mutually incompatible. Instead of examining existing hypotheses and models, we measured metabolic fluxes, rates of respiration and fermentation in budding yeast growing across a wide range of conditions, aiming to identify experimentally trade-offs associated with aerobic glycolysis. We used these data to eliminate theoretical possibilities and constrain as much as possible the systems-level physiological responses and adaptations of cell growth to different nutrient environments and growth rates. Our flux data, combined with simple analysis based on mass-conservation, suggest inherent trade-offs in respiration and fermentation. I will discuss how some of these trade-offs can be understood in terms of first principles.

TL schedule here.

FIVE positions available in Quantitative Biology, UCSD

October 5, 2012 § Leave a comment

The University of California San Diego invites applications from outstanding candidates for multiple tenure- track or tenured faculty positions as part of a multi-year, campus-wide initiative to establish a preeminent program in the area of Quantitative Biology (qBio), emphasizing quantitative experimentation and theoretical analysis to study living systems. The qBio initiative builds on the interdisciplinary infrastructure provided by the NSF Center for Theoretical and Biological Physics, the NIH Center of Excellence in Systems Biology, the BioCircuits Institute, existing divisional strengths and various interdepartmental graduate programs.

Candidates are encouraged to apply to each specific position that fits their interests; successful candidates may be affiliated with multiple academic units and will complement and participate in the development of quantitative biology across campus. All candidates must have earned a Ph.D. or equivalent degree and demonstrate a strong commitment to teaching at the undergraduate and graduate levels. The University is committed to excellence and diversity in its faculty and student body. Preference will be given to scholars with demonstrated excellence and creativity in research, scholarship, and commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion in higher education.

Cellular Dynamics and Pattern Formation (10-503): The Division of Physical Sciences is leading a broad- based search for a creative experimentalist for a tenure- track position at the Assistant Professor level, with focus on the dynamical aspects of cellular differentiation and multicellular development using novel physical approaches. Subject matters may range from organs and tissues in higher eukaryotes to biofilms and other microbial communities. Approaches might include advanced methods of in vivo imaging and novel functional probes to quantify molecular interactions and forces to dissect the spatiotemporal progression of morphological and physiological change, with the goal to elucidate the organizational principles of living systems from the sub- cellular to multi- cellular scales. While this search will be conducted University- wide, successful candidates will ultimately be appointed to a specific department within UC San Diego.

Quantitative Biological Networks (10-506): The Division of Biological Sciences is leading a broad- based search for a tenure- track faculty position in Quantitative Biological Networks at the Assistant Professor level. Candidates pursuing innovative research focused on exploring network interactions that control intra-  and/or inter- cellular behavior, are encouraged to apply. Potential areas of interest include but are not limited to the use of cellular systems to explore spatial- temporal control principles underlying decision making in signaling and gene-  regulatory networks, multicellular or organismal systems directed towards a quantitative understanding of how networks govern biological interactions within populations of cells or tissues, or in ecological communities that contain multiple species. Departmental affiliation will be tailored to the selected candidate.

Quantitative and Chemical Biology (10-445): The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry in the Division of Physical Sciences seeks to hire a talented and creative tenure- track Chemical Biologist who combines quantitative analysis, synthesis, and biological systems. Interests include but are not limited to candidates who have a strong chemistry background and predictively probe or engineer living systems.

Soft Condensed Matter and Biological Physics (10-496): The Department of Physics in the Division of Physical Sciences seeks to hire a talented and creative experimentalist for a tenure- track Assistant Professor position in the area of Soft Condensed Matter and biological physics. The successful candidate is expected to use physical reasoning and quantitative tools to define the future of pure and applied biological research. The search is broad- based, and extends to individuals with purely scientific approaches as well as those that combine advanced instrument design with scientific discovery. All candidates must have a Ph.D. in Physics or a closely related field.

Systems/Quantitative Developmental Biology (10-491): The Section of Cell and Developmental Biology, division of Biological Sciences, invites applications for a faculty position in Developmental Biology at the tenure- track Assistant Professor or Associate Professor level. Candidates pursuing innovative research using systems, quantitative or dynamical approaches to investigate the generation, regeneration, or maintenance of a particular cell type, tissue, or organ are encouraged to apply.

Quantitative Biosystems Engineering (10-507): The Department of Bioengineering in the Jacobs School of Engineering seeks to hire a tenure- track systems bioengineer who combines engineering principles and methods, and modern biomedicine to develop quantitative models of living systems in normal and pathophysiology. Interests include but are not limited to candidates who have a strong engineering background and quantitatively probe or engineer living systems.

Salary will be commensurate with qualifications and based on UC pay scales. Review of applications will commence as early as November 1, 2012 and will continue until the positions are filled. Interested applicants must submit a cover letter, curriculum vitae with a list of publications, statement of research, statement of teaching, reprints of 3 to 5 representative publications, contact information for 3 to 5 references, and a separate statement that addresses past and/or potential contributions to and leadership in promoting diversity, equity and inclusion (see Applications must be submitted through the University of California San Diego’s Academic Personnel RECRUIT System at UCSD is an equal opportunity / affirmative action employer with a strong institutional commitment to excellence and diversity (

Hemichordate you are

October 5, 2012 § Leave a comment

Via the Guardian (UK): a new acorn worm has been discovered and named after Yoda from Star Wars.

I wonder what other ways there are to make acorn worms into international news?  Of course, our local acorn worm community (all three of them) are delighted.

To celebrate Yoda purpurata, here are some pictures of Marc’s collection of acorn worm memorabilia, which is — as you will no doubt be able to see at a glance — focused on Y. purpurata‘s slightly better known relative, Saccoglossus kowaleskii.

Assistant Professor Position, Stanford

October 5, 2012 § Leave a comment

Applications or nominations are invited for an Assistant Professor position in the Department of Biochemistry, Stanford School of Medicine.  We are seeking individuals with an extraordinary record of scientific accomplishment and creativity working in any area of biochemistry, biophysics or molecular biology research, broadly defined.  As a basic science department within the School of Medicine, we encourage applications focused on the molecular basis of human health and disease as well as those focused on fundamental mechanisms of life.  The principal criterion for appointment in the University Tenure Line is a major commitment to research and teaching.  Candidates should submit in one complete PDF document: a curriculum vitae including a list of publications, a description of research accomplishments and future plans, and contact information for three references to  Applications should be received by December 7, 2012.  References should send their letters electronically to the above email address or hardcopy to: Search Committee Chair, Department of Biochemistry, Stanford University School of Medicine, 279 Campus Drive, Room B400, Stanford, CA 94305-5307.

Stanford University is an Equal Opportunity Employer and is committed to increasing the diversity of its faculty. It welcomes nominations of and applications from women and members of minority groups, as well as others who would bring additional dimensions to the University’s research, teaching and clinical missions.

Assistant Professor position, HERE

October 5, 2012 § Leave a comment

We’re recruiting!  Official ad here.

The Department of Systems Biology at Harvard Medical School invites applications for a tenure-track Assistant Professor position. We seek broad and careful thinkers with strong theoretical foundations (e.g. in physics, mathematics, or computer science) who have a demonstrated commitment to tackling challenging biological or medical questions. Harvard Medical School offers a unique concentration of biomedical expertise, and the Department of Systems Biology has created a supportive and interactive environment for researchers with quantitative and theoretical skills. The successful candidate will become a member of the university-wide Ph.D. Program in Systems Biology, which has an established record of attracting extraordinary graduate students.

The deadline for applications is November 30, 2012. Candidates should have a Ph.D. in a relevant discipline or an MD.

To apply, please submit a statement of research interests (~ three pages), a curriculum vitae, and the names and e-mail addresses of at least three colleagues who have agreed to write letters of recommendation to Once you apply, your recommenders will be prompted to submit their letters on this application portal; please make sure your recommenders submit their letters before the deadline.

Candidates should have a Ph.D. in a relevant discipline or an MD.

Applications from, or nominations of, women and minority candidates are encouraged. Harvard is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer.

Lecturer position, Oxford University

September 25, 2012 § Leave a comment

University Lecturership in Mathematical Biology in association with Balliol College

Vacancy Reference:  BK/12 009
Salary Range:  On a scale from £42,883 per annum.
Appointment Term:  Permanent

The Mathematical Institute proposes to appoint a University Lecturer in Mathematical Biology from 1 April 2013 or as soon as possible thereafter.  The successful candidate will be offered a Tutorial Fellowship at Balliol College under arrangements described in the further particulars.  The combined University and College salary will be on a scale from £42,883 per annum.

The main duties of the post are to carry out, disseminate the results of, obtain funding for, and supervise research at a high international standard in Mathematical Biology, to teach a range of topics in mathematics via lectures, classes and tutorials, and to perform administrative and pastoral functions associated with teaching and research.

The successful candidate will have a PhD in mathematics or closely related subject and must have a record of outstanding research and publication in Mathematical Biology.

The successful candidate will be expected to have the ability to teach effectively over a range of topics in the undergraduate mathematics syllabus at Oxford, not exclusively in the area of his or her research expertise, in both tutorials and lectures.  The duties and responsibilities of the post are set out in the further particulars, which may be obtained from The further particulars also contain details of the application procedure.

The closing date for applications is 29 October 2012. Please quote reference: BK/12/009.

Queries about the post should be addressed to Brenda Willoughby at or telephone: +44 (0) 1865 273576.

Applications are particularly welcome from women and black and minority ethnic candidates, who are under-represented in academic posts in Oxford.

Committed to equality and valuing diversity.