Higher Scientific Officer - Gene Function

23/07/2018, 23:55

Breast Cancer Research
Gene Function
Full time
Fixed Term
1 year
35 hours
Salary: £33,285 - £41,437
The Institute of Cancer Research, London, is one of the world’s most influential cancer research institutes, with an outstanding record of achievement dating back more than 100 years. We provided the first convincing evidence that DNA damage is the basic cause of cancer, laying the foundation for the now universally accepted idea that cancer is a genetic disease. Today, The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) leads the world at isolating cancer-related genes and discovering new targeted drugs for personalised cancer treatment. Under the leadership of our Chief Executive, Professor Paul Workman FRS, the ICR is ranked as the UK’s leading academic research centre. Together with our partner The Royal Marsden, we are rated in the top four cancer centres globally.

The Breast Cancer Now Toby Robins Research Centre at the ICR, led by Professor Andrew Tutt, is the first centre in the UK entirely devoted to breast cancer research and its goal is to advance research into the causes, diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer. Formerly known as The Breakthrough Toby Robins Breast Cancer Research Centre, at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, it is located in state-of-the-art laboratory space, with excellent core facilities and funding. The ICR is committed to attracting, developing and retaining the best minds in the world to join us in our mission – to make the discoveries that defeat cancer.

The Gene Function Laboratory, headed by Professor Chris Lord, focuses upon identifying and understanding tumour specific dependencies, such as synthetic lethal effects, as a means to design novel approaches to treating cancer. We have made major advances in identifying synthetic lethal interactions involving, for example, PARP inhibitors (Farmer et al Nature (2005), Edwards et al Nature (2008), Bajrami et al, Cancer Research (2014)), ATR inhibitors (Williamson et al, Nature Communications (2016)) and ROS1 inhibitors (Bajrami et al, Cancer Discovery (2018)). Using this same concept we have also systematically identified synthetic lethal interactions in breast cancer (Brough et al, Cancer Discovery (2011), Campbell et al, Cell Reports (2016)). We also use genetic approaches to understand the mechanisms of action of agents that target the DNA damage response and identify potential mechanisms of drug resistance (Pettitt et al; Krastev et al Nature Communications (2018)). We aim to generate pre-clinical information that can inform the design of clinical trials and the identification of novel targets for drug discovery programmes.

We are seeking an experienced Higher Scientific Officer to provide high-level technical support for a number of projects running in the laboratory. These projects include further laboratory work on PARP inhibitor resistance mechanisms, functional analysis of mutations of unknown significance found in drug-resistant tumours, establishment of genetically engineered cell line models and development and implementation of customised next-generation sequencing assays.


The successful applicant will be enthusiastic and focused, and keen to develop a good scientific understanding of the projects and be involved in the design and analysis of experiments. The Breast Cancer Now Centre has excellent facilities and state-of-the-art equipment which the successful applicant will make use of.


Summary of Duties:

  • To support projects running in the Gene Function laboratory by performing molecular and cell biology techniques such as:
    • o   Cell culture, including high-throughput genetic and drug screening approaches
    • o   Immunofluorescence
    • o   General molecular biology, including PCR and Western blotting
    • o   Modeling of cancer using xenograft and organoid systems
    • o   High throughput DNA sequencing library preparation (Illumina, Ion Torrent and Oxford Nanopore)
    • o   Preparation of nucleic acids and protein from clinical tumour and blood samples
  • To work under the supervision of the line manager and to consult where appropriate.
  • To take an interest in the relevant scientific literature.
  • To produce work suitable for high-quality, high-impact publications.
  • Collaborate and communicate effectively with other laboratories in the Centre and clinical colleagues.
  • To familiarise yourself with the Institute’s approach towards risk management including its policies and procedures, which require all staff to play an active part in identifying and managing risk.
  • Any other duties, which may be required, consistent with the nature and grade of the post.


This one year appointment has a full salary scale in the range from £32,628 to £40,619 p.a. inclusive. Starting salary will be based on previous experience.


Informal enquiries are welcome and can be made via email to Dr Stephen Pettitt (Stephen.Pettitt@icr.ac.uk). Please note – this address is for enquiries only and you should not send your application to this email address.





We consider all applications on merit and have a strong commitment to enhancing the diversity of our staff.
Additional Documentation for Candidates

This Program is closed to applications.