Post-doctoral Training Fellow, Cell Death and Immunity Team
Breast Cancer Research, The Institute of Cancer Research
The ultimate goal of new cancer therapies is the destruction of cancer cells through a mechanism that activates the immune system. However, cells can die in many different ways, with distinct forms of cell death differentially activating the adaptive immune system. While apoptosis is generally tolerogenic or silent, programmed necrosis in the form of necroptosis and pyroptosis is highly immunogenic. This highlights the importance of understanding how the immune system determines whether cell death is immunogenic, tolerogenic or silent. Cell death is not an endpoint, but the beginning of an immune response.
The Meier lab investigates how dying cells communicate to the tissue micro-environment to shape an immune response. In the last minutes of its life, a dying cell has to document with precision the causes and processes at the origin of its demise. This information is interpreted by cells of the tissue micro-environment and the immune system to take the right executive decision necessary to preserve tissue homeostasis. In particular, we are studying how the different cell death modalities (Apoptosis, Necroptosis and Pyroptosis) can be harnessed to turn ‘immune cold’ tumours into ‘hot’ tumours that are more likely to respond to immune checkpoint inhibitors.
The aim of this post is to dissect cell death mechanisms, and gain a better understanding how we can trigger inflammatory forms of cell death, such as Ripoptosome-mediated apoptosis, necroptosis and pyroptosis, to alter the tumour immune microenvironment and the influx of tumour infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) in lung cancer. This is expected to convert ‘immune cold’ tumours to ‘hot’ tumours that are more likely to respond to immune checkpoint inhibitors.
The successful candidate will be embedded into a team of scientists that are dedicated in decoding the language of cell death, and using this knowledge to activate a patient’s own immune system against cancer. The candidate will be working with state-of-the-art cancer models and patient derived organoids to study the different cell death modalities, and their impact on the immune system.
This is fixed term appointment for 1 year in the first instance. The salary scale is in the range of £32,844* p.a. to £42,534 p.a. Starting salary will be based on previous postdoctoral experience.
*£32,844 p.a. inclusive for thesis submitted, awaiting PhD.
Applications should be submitted online, more information can be found in the job description, job ref 1094.