Fellowship Opportunities

Application Process

We welcome and encourage applications for Fellowships from both Imperial Researchers and from Researchers at other institutes.

If you see an opportunity to apply for a Fellowship based in the Department of Life Sciences, you should first make contact and discuss your application with a potential sponsor who is currently at Imperial. A list of Research Themes, Research Groups and contacts is available from this link (Research Themes).

We ask that you submit your CV and a short summary of your proposed project to your sponsor, who will forward your application, with a letter of support, to the Departmental Fellowships and Honours Committee for review and consideration with regards to the current departmental activities and priorities. A decision will then be made whether your application will be supported by the Department. Feedback will be available in all cases.

If you have any queries, please email: dols-fhc@imperial.ac.uk

Examples of current Fellowships that are available include:

Supported Fellowships
 Funder Call Opens/Outline Full Application Date Shortlisting Link for Info
Wellcome Trust/ The Royal Society Sir Henry Dale Fellowship  02/04/2019  13/06/2019  Oct 2019 Sir Henry Dale
Wellcome Trust Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellowship  17/04/2019  27/06/2019  Nov 2019 Henry Wellcome
BBSRC David Phillips Fellowship  Now  09/05/2019  Oct 2019 David Phillips
MRC Career Development Awards  04/03/2019  25/04/2019  Sep 2019 Career Development Award 
EC Marie Curie Individual Fellowships   April 2019 September 2019  Feb 2020 Marie Sklodowska-Curie 
CRUK Career Development Fellowship  05/02/2019  21/05/2019  Oct 2019 Career Development Fellowship 
The Royal Society Newton International Fellowship  24/01/2019  27/03/2019  Sept 2019 Newton International Fellowship 
The Royal Society University Research Fellowship  Jul 2019  Sep 2019  Apr 2020 University Research Fellowship  
NERC Independent Research Fellowship  Jun 219 Oct 2019 Mar 2020 Independent Research Fellowship
Imperial College London Imperial College Research Fellowship  Jun 2019  Aug 2019   Imperial College Research Fellowship
Wellcome Trust Institutional Strategic Support Fund ISSF Springboard Fellowships* 27/03/2019 17/04/2019 May 2019 ISSF Springboard Fellowships
* ISSF Springboard Fellowships

If you are planning to apply for an ISSF Springboard Fellowship, you must submit your CV and a short summary of your project, along with a letter of support from a sponsor within the Department of Life Sciences - by 5pm, wednesday 27th March 2019 . Applications must be sent to dols-fhc@imperial.ac.uk. These will then be put forward for Departmental consideration.

Information for Sponsors

If you are planning on sponsoring an applicant, please submit a short reference and an outline of the support you will be providing to the applicant to the Fellowships and Honours Committee, along with the applicant's CV and short summary. The Fellowships and Honours Committee will then assess the fit of the applicant to the Department's activities.

Lectureships

We have a strong history of being able to offer our Research Fellows tenure within the Department of Life Sciences as Lecturers/Readers. Fellows that have been successful include: Katerina Artavanis-Tsakonas, James Murray, Cristina Banks-Leite, Abigail Clements, Giorgio Gilestro and Nadia Guerra.

PhD Opportunities

PhD Studentship on "Speciation genomics, adaptation and gene transfer networks in bacteria"

Imperial College London in partnership with the University of Reading are pleased to announce a 3.5-year PhD studentship starting in October 2019. The project is titled "Speciation genomics, adaptation and gene transfer networks in bacteria" and is co-supervised by Tim Barraclough (Dept of Life Sciences, Imperial College London) and Richard Everitt (Dept of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Reading).

Project Summary: 

Bacteria constitute a massively diverse radiation of life, but the mechanisms of diversification remain less well understood than in sexual eukaryotes. In particular, although all bacteria reproduce clonally, many engage in a wide variety of mechanisms of recombination that can transfer DNA between individuals and divergent species. We still lack detailed understanding of how recombination influences both the ability of bacteria to diverge into distinct species and the way that bacteria adapt to environmental change.

This project will use genomic data to infer networks of gene transfer in bacteria and to determine the consequences of transfer events for speciation and adaptation. Alternative models for the structure of recombination will be compared – for example, a model of gradually declining gene transfer with genetic distance versus a model of discrete species units defined by mechanisms preventing gene transfer between them. The results will be used to test recent models for alternative mechanisms of bacterial speciation. A key component will be to develop computational methods that are feasible for large datasets and flexible enough to encode alternative sets of evolutionary mechanisms.

Population genetic models will then be used to determine how the shape of gene transfer networks affects evolutionary responses to contemporary environmental change. For example, do multiple species tend to evolve independently and in parallel or do beneficial mutations arising in one species spread through a wider clade or community? Does adaptation involve sequential beneficial mutations in a clonal background or recombination of beneficial variants from different genomic backgrounds? Which mechanisms of gene transfer are most effective in responding to different kinds of environmental change?  Results will be applied to antibiotic resistance in waste water communities in order to improve management actions for limiting the spread of environmental antibiotic resistance.

The project will involve computational modelling, Bayesian statistics, Monte Carlo methods, bioinformatics, evolutionary analysis and genomics. Depending on your interests, it may also include evolution experiments on speciation or whole community responses in the laboratory. We are keen to shape the exact focus and range of approaches to match the student’s own experience and interests.

The student would join the Centre for Doctoral Training in Quantitative and Modelling Skills in Ecology and Evolution (QMEE), https://www.imperial.ac.uk/qmee-cdt/, which provides training in the quantitative and modelling skills needed to address real-world problems by connecting theory, data, and practice. You could be a life sciences student interested in quantitative methods or a mathematics, computing or physical sciences student interested in applying your skills to evolutionary problems.

How to apply:  Please send your CV, a covering letter explaining why you are interested in the CDT and that project, and the names and e-mail addresses of two academic referees to t.barraclough@imperial.ac.uk. At least one referee should have supervised you on a previous research project. Closing date 16th January 2019

Funding: The PhD funding will be for 3.5 years and provides a stipend of £16,999, which includes London weighting.

ICR Funded Studentship

Key information

Supervisor: Dr Masahiro Ono (Life Sciences) & Prof Alan Melcher (ICR)

Project Title: Understanding systems and molecular mechanisms underlying cancer immunotherapy for the development of precision immunotherapy with informed strategies

Recent breakthroughs in immunotherapy development have established that anti-tumour immunity is a major exploitable mechanism to fight cancer [1]. Notably, immune checkpoint inhibitors such as anti-PD-1 and anti-CTLA-4 antibodies abrogate negative regulatory mechanisms in the T cell system and enhance anti-tumour immune response, and have been clinically approved for various cancer patients including melanoma, renal cell carcinoma, ovarian cancer, and Hodgkin’s disease [2]. Our recent investigation using a single cell technology identified PD-1 and regulatory T cells (Treg) as two major suppressive mechanisms in tumour-infiltrating T cells from melanoma patients (malignant skin cancer) [3]. PD-1 is a surface protein that has a role in suppressing T cell receptor (TCR) signalling and thereby inhibiting T cell activation. PD-1 is highly expressed in overactivatedT cells (often called ‘exhausted T cells’), and inhibits their reactions to antigen. Thus the blocking of PD-1 and its ligand PD-L1/L2 can release the activity of tumourspecific T cells [4]. Treg specifically express the transcription factor Foxp3 and suppress anti-cancer immunity, and are a promising target for cancer immunotherapy [5]. Importantly, the immune check point inhibitor anti-CTLA4 antibody not only blocks costimulatory signalling (precisely, CD28 signalling), but also depletes regulatory T cells (Treg). However, anti-CTLA-4 increases the T cell responsiveness to not only cancer antigens but also self-antigens, inducing autoimmune reactions [2, 6]. In order to understand these dynamic processes during anti-tumour immune response,
Masahiro Ono and his group used Fluorescent Timer protein, which changes its emission spectrum spontaneously and irreversibly, and thereby developed a new tool for analysing time-dependent changes in antigen-reactive effector T cells and Treg, designated as Timer-of-Cell-Kinetics-and-Activity,Tocky [7, 8]).

The proposed project aims to increase the precision of cancer immunotherapy by improving the understanding of T cell regulation in animal models and clinical samples using a multidisciplinary approach. Under this major aim, the project has the following objectives.

Objective 1: To understand differential effects of immunotherapy on T cells from tumour tissues using the Tocky technology. In order to understand dynamic changes in these cells upon immunotherapy, the project will use computational codes that have been developed in the Ono lab, and the student will be trained for both experimental methods (multicolour flow cytometry) and computational analysis. Immunotherapy models include immune checkpoint inhibitors and viral immunotherapies, which have been developed in the Melcher lab [9].

Objective 2: To investigate new T cell subpopulations in tumour tissues that have unique 2 immunological functions. Multidimensional methods [3] will be used to identify effector, regulatory, and activated T cell subpopulations in tumour tissues. Objective 3: To identify clinically meaningful T cell subpopulations using clinical samples. The student will analyse tumour-infiltrating T cells using multicolour flow cytometry, gene expression analysis, and the multidimensional methods and other statistical methods.

Full details & How to Apply: https://www.icr.ac.uk/studying-at-the-icr/phds-for-science-graduates/joint-imperial-college-london-and-icr-phd-studentships 

NC3Rs-funded 3-year PhD studentship: Towards multiplexed in vivo phenotypic screening to improve antimicrobial drug discovery

Primary supervisor: Matthew Child, www.laboratorychild.com

Antimicrobial-resistant infections are prevalent worldwide, with drug-resistant strains emerging for all currently available antimicrobial drugs and the burden of disease estimated to be ~50,000 deaths/year in Europe and North America. New therapeutic targets and drugs to treat these infections are urgently needed. Unfortunately, drugdiscovery research and development (R&D) is costly in terms of time, money, and animal lives, with estimates of the cost of bringing a drug to market being $1-2.5 billion USD. Drug-discovery pipelines suffer from high failure rates, in part due to an inability to search for new drugs in vivo. The lack of knowledge of pathogen gene products essential for growth in vivo represents a significant gap in our knowledge. The ability to study hostpathogen interactions in vivo represents an exciting and scientifically important opportunity for the discovery of new biology, novel drugs and drug targets. It is a final frontier of host-interaction biology that remains inaccessible to many of the powerful high-throughput approaches shown to be successful in the past due to the experimentally intractable nature of the in vivo environment.
This project will be based on an approach pioneered by our lab to harness biological evolutionary principles (natural selection, inheritance and mutation) to template the chemical evolution of novel antimicrobial drugs. This project will establish a new drug discovery approach: biology-templated synthesis (BTS), harnessing biology to guide discovery and evolution of novel antimicrobials. For BTS evolutionary principles (natural selection, inheritance and mutation) are translated into a synthetic chemistry strategy. Pathogenic microorganisms will template the chemical evolution of new antimicrobials. Initially applied to Toxoplasma for proof-of-concept, BTS will be used to discover modulators of parasite fitness and virulence within the intact murine host organism. It will enable screening in vivo for the first time, and the application of evolutionary principles (natural selection, mutation, inheritance) to antimicrobial discovery.
Techniques employed for the realization of this ambitious project will include CRISPR-based genome editing, small-molecule phenotypic screening, next-generation sequencing, and integrated synthetic chemical biology/chemical proteomic approaches for downstream target identification and validation campaigns. For more details please visit: www.nc3rs.org.uk/towards-multiplexed-vivo-phenotypic-screening-improveantimicrobial-drug-discovery

Academic and residential eligibility: Applicants are expected to have a First Class or Distinction Masters level degree, or equivalent, in a relevant scientific or technical discipline, such as Microbiology or Chemical Biology. Applicants must be fluent in spoken and written English. The position is available to students worldwide.
Funding: The PhD funding will be for 3 years and provides a stipend of £16,777 per annum, which includes London weighting.

How to Apply: Individuals interested in this exciting opportunity should send their CV along with a short cover letter outlining reasons for their application by email to Matthew Child at m.child@imperial.ac.uk. Alternatively, contact the lab informally to discuss the position before proceeding. Closing date for applications is the 31st March 201