Department of Oncology
Job description and selection criteria
Job title Research Assistant (maternity cover)
Division Medical Sciences
Location Old Road Campus Research Building, Oxford
Grade and salary Grade 6: £25,854 to £30,870 p.a.
Hours 37.5 hour per week
Contract type Fixed-term 6 months in first instance
Dr Anne Kiltie, Clinical Group Leader
Vacancy reference 101081
The University of Oxford is a complex and stimulating organisation, which enjoys an
international reputation as a world-class centre of excellence in research and teaching. It
employs over 10,000 staff and has a student population of over 21,000.
Most staff are directly appointed and managed by one of the University’s 130 departments or
other units within a highly devolved operational structure - this includes 5,900 ‘academic-
related’ staff (postgraduate research, computing, senior library, and administrative staff) and
2,820 ‘support’ staff (including clerical, library, technical, and manual staff). There are also
over 1,600 academic staff (professors, readers, lecturers), whose appointments are in the
main overseen by a combination of broader divisional and local faculty board/departmental
structures. Academics are generally all also employed by one of the 38 constituent colleges
of the University as well as by the central University itself.
Our annual income in 2009/10 was £879.8m. Oxford is one of Europe's most innovative and
entrepreneurial universities: income from external research contracts exceeds £367m p.a.,
and more than 60 spin-off companies have been created.
For more information please visit www.ox.ac.uk
Medical Sciences Division
The Medical Sciences Division is an internationally recognized centre of excellence for
biomedical and clinical research and teaching. We are the largest academic division in the
University of Oxford.
World-leading programmes, housed in state-of-the-art facilities, cover the full range of
scientific endeavour from the molecule to the population. With our NHS partners we also
foster the highest possible standards in patient care.
For more information please visit: http://www.ox.ac.uk/divisions/medical_sciences.html
The Department of Oncology within the Medical Sciences Division was created in October
2010, under the headship of Professor Gillies McKenna, to enhance the coordination of
clinical and basic cancer research in Oxford. The Department incorporates the Cancer
Research UK-MRC Gray Institute for Radiation Oncology & Biology, the Department of
Medical Oncology, the Department of Clinical Pharmacology and the Surgical Oncology
Group of the Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences.
The Department is the second largest in the University’s Medical Sciences Division. Its
activities currently cover four sites: the Old Road Campus Research Building, science
facilities in the Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine at the John Radcliffe Hospital, the
Radiobiology Research Institute on the Churchill Hospital site, and clinical service and
facilities at the Cancer Hospital.
The creation of the new Department marks an exciting step towards truly multidisciplinary
and collaborative oncology research in Oxford and positions us to take this discipline to new
heights. Working closely with colleagues in the new state-of-the-art NHS Oxford Cancer and
Haematology Centre, research can be rapidly and efficiently translated into cutting-edge
clinical treatment for cancer patients.
The DNA Repair in Cancer Treatment Group’s main aims are the study of DNA damage
signaling and DNA repair as they relate to bladder cancer aetiology and its response to
radiotherapy and combined modality treatments.
This post will involve one aspect of a current project on the DNA damage signalling protein
MRE11, expression of which we have previously shown to be predictive of patient response
to radiotherapy in bladder cancer. We are currently seeking to understand the mechanism
underlying the low MRE11 expression seen in poor responders. The role of this post is to
generate MRE11 knockdown bladder cancer cells using an inducible shRNAi vector system,
and to use these in experiments to study the effects of MRE11 knockdown on apoptosis, cell
proliferation and DNA repair and the effects of the cell cycle on MRE11 expression.
For more information please visit: http://www.oncology.ox.ac.uk
Research topic MRE11 inducible shRNAi knockdown
Dr Anne Kiltie
Project team DNA Repair in Cancer Treatment
Project web site http://www.rob.ox.ac.uk/research/researchgroups/Anne%20Kiltie/
The funds supporting this research project are provided by
Cancer Research UK.
Choudhury A, Nelson LD, Teo MT, Chilka S, Bhattarai S,
Johnston C, Elliott F, Lowery J, Taylor CF, Churchman M, Bentley
J, Knowles MA, Harnden P, Bristow RG, Bishop DT, Kiltie AE
(2010) MRE11 expression is predictive of cause-specific survival
following radical radiotherapy for muscle invasive bladder cancer.
Cancer Res 15:7017-7026.
Choudhury A, Swindell R, Logue JP, Elliott PA, Livsey JE, Wise
M, Symonds P, Wylie JP, Ramani V, Sangar V, Lyons J,
Recent publications Bottomley I, McCaul D, Clarke NW, Kiltie AE, Cowan RA (2011)
Phase II study of conformal radiotherapy with concurrent
gemcitabine in locally advanced bladder cancer. J Clin Oncol
Qiao B, Ansari AH, Scott GB, Sak SC, Chambers PA, Elliott F,
Vaslin L, Bentley J, Churchman M, Hall J, Taylor CF, Bishop DT,
Knowles MA, Kiltie AE (2011) XPC gene rare variants in bladder
cancer patients demonstrate functional effects in in vitro assays.
Tissue culture, molecular cloning, western blotting, FACS
Overview of the role
To play a key role in the project stated above, working with Dr Anne Kiltie and members of
the DNA Repair in Cancer Treatment Group.
Much of the work will involve tissue culture and molecular biology methods.
Experimental techniques performed to a high level are likely to include:
Molecular cloning of inducible (tet-on) shRNAi vector
Introduction of expression vectors into mammalian cells
Analysis of expression of protein by western blots
Apoptosis assays and cell proliferation assays
Maintaining frozen stocks and inventory
Full training will be given as required.
Responsibilities will include:
Maintaining a high standard of housekeeping in the laboratory areas.
Involvement with the ordering of laboratory consumables and monitoring associated
Involvement with the system of recording and updating laboratory research
procedures and laboratory protocols.
Maintaining accurate recording of samples, reagents and experimentation details.
Experiments will be coordinated with other laboratory staff. There are currently three
postdoctoral scientists, one research assistant and one student in Dr Kiltie’s laboratory.
Education and Training
To keep up to date with developments in molecular and cell biology techniques and with
other topics related to the current main research project.
To participate in the education and training of other staff as necessary and appropriate.
Participate and contribute to group discussions and meetings including the presentation of
To present results in oral and written form.
To inform the group about progress or difficulties in research projects or services.
Maintain confidentiality regarding research and personnel issues when interacting with those
outside the laboratory.
Contribute as a co-author in the preparation of manuscripts for peer-review and publication in
Act at all times in the interests of the Department to ensure good laboratory practice.
To be accountable for their own professional conduct within the Group.
To ensure that work in the laboratory is conducted safely and, in particular, persons
undertaking the work do so using appropriate safety procedures and in the dedicated areas.
Undertake duties as may be required from time to time that are commensurate with the
grade and responsibilities of the post.
Conduct him or herself with due regard to the University Equal Opportunities and Data
The successful applicant will be expected to meet the following criteria:
A BA/BSc or higher degree in biology, molecular biology, biochemistry, or related
Technical competence in cell/tissue culture.
Technical competence in standard molecular biology techniques.
Ability, skills and confidence to communicate in English, both orally and in writing,
scientific and safety information clearly and accurately.
The ability to work flexibly and supportively as part of a team.
Experience of working unsupervised under own initiative on a day-to-day basis.
Organised, able to prioritise and to work to deadlines.
Interest in cancer.
Technical competence in molecular biology skills listed above.
Experience in Fluorescence-Activated Cell Sorting (FACS).
Good computing skills.
Working at the University of Oxford
For further information about working at Oxford, please see:
How to apply
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