Human Resources

Postdoctoral Research Assistant - Neurobiology - QMUL9574

Department: School of Biological & Chemical Sciences
Salary: £32,052 - £37,648 per annum
Reference: QMUL9574
Date posted: 12-Sep-2016
Closing date: 09-Oct-2016

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BBSRC Grant, Ref: QMUL9574

A Postdoctoral Research Assistant position is available at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) with Professor Maurice Elphick, working on neuropeptide biology.

QMUL is one of the UK’s leading research-focused higher education institutions, with a budget of £285 million per annum.

The Elphick group is world-leading for research on the evolution and comparative physiology of neuropeptide signalling systems, using echinoderms (e.g. starfish) as model experimental systems. Prof. Elphick pioneered this field of research (Elphick et al. 1991; Proc. Roy. Lond. B 243, 121-127; Elphick 2014; Gen. Comp. Endocrinol. 205, 23-35) and he is now leading a new era of research using next generation sequence data as a basis for functional analysis of neuropeptide evolution and diversity in the animal kingdom (e.g. Semmens et al., 2013; see also; Semmens et al. 2015

The Elphick lab has identified 40 neuropeptide precursors in the common starfish Asterias rubens (Semmens et al. 2015, submitted). The aim of this BBSRC-funded project is to i). investigate neuropeptide expression (anatomically) and function (pharmacologically) in starfish, in order to obtain the first comprehensive insights on how neuropeptide systems are used to regulate physiological processes and behavior in echinoderms, pentaradially symmetrical animals that have a decentralized nervous system without a brain ii). determine to what extent there has been conservation/diversification of neuropeptide function in echinoderms, by comparison of our findings with knowledge of neuropeptide function in other animals (vertebrates and other invertebrates).

The successful candidate will have a PhD or equivalent in biological sciences, with a solid grounding in comparative physiology/anatomy and/or neurobiology and/or echinoderm biology. During the project the PDRA will have opportunities to develop their supervision, writing, communication and organisational skills. Duties may also include assisting in the training and supervision of PhD and final year project students.

The position is full time and available for 18 months. The salary will be in the range of £32,052 - £37,648 per annum, inclusive of London Allowance. Salary will be according to qualifications, skills and experience. Benefits include 30 days annual leave, defined benefit pension scheme and interest-free season ticket loan.

Candidates must be able to demonstrate their eligibility to work in the UK in accordance with the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006. Where required this may include entry clearance or continued leave to remain under the Points Based Immigration Scheme.

For further information about the School, please see

For informal enquiries, please contact Prof Maurice Elphick via email

Application enquiries should be directed to

The closing date for applications is 9 October 2016. Interviews will be held shortly thereafter.

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