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Academic Positions

St John’s College is committed to ensuring equality of opportunity for all. We encourage job applicants from all sectors of the community and are especially keen to encourage women and candidates from other under-represented and minority groups to apply for advertised positions.

Research Associate: Mapping cortex evolution through mathematical modelling

Applications are invited for a 24-month fixed-term post of Research Assistant in St John’s College Research Centre. The post involves working on a research project entitled ‘Mapping cortex evolution through mathematical modelling’ funded by the St John’s College Research Centre and led by Professor Zoltán Molnár, Professor Philip Maini, and Dr Thomas Woolley. The appointee will take up the post on November 1st or as soon as possible thereafter. The post is full-time and is for 24 months. The appointment will be on the University’s Grade 7 for Academic and Academic-related staff, currently ranging from £30,738 - £41,255 per annum.

Our project proposes to develop and understand a mathematical model for the differentiation of neurons from earlier pluripotent progenitor cell populations. This framework will allow us to map all possible evolutionary pathways of the cortex enabling us to quantitatively and qualitatively highlight multiple possible divergent evolutionary trajectories. Further, by comparing these theories with data we will construct a novel categorisation of different species, and understand the high diversity of cortex development, thus generating an impact in the field of neurobiology. Finally, through applying our framework to pathological cases, we will predict mechanistic links between neuron production failure and resulting phenotypes such as microcephaly, polymicrogyria syndromes and lissencephaly syndromes.

The appointee is expected to take the lead in delivering the programme of research, namely:

  1. Construct a mathematical model of differentiation from progenitor cells to neurons.
  2. Qualitatively map the possible outcomes of the neuron developmental model in terms of the population distributions and time to full differentiation.
  3. Categorise species data using the map.
  4. Quantitatively parameterise the model using Bayesian inference techniques.
  5. Highlight current gaps in data.

The candidate is expected to work closely with neurobiologists through extended visits to Professor Zoltán Molnár’s laboratory, where they will learn about the various cell lineage tracing methods in detail. Equally, they will attend pertinent biological group meetings.

Finally, they are expected to lead the creation of an interdisciplinary network of St John’s neurobiologists, psychologists and collaborative sciences.

The candidate will contribute to preparing findings for publication and dissemination to academic and non-academic audiences; therefore, excellent communication skills are essential, and an excellent record of academic publication commensurate with stage of career is expected.

The appointee will hold or be close to completing a PhD in mathematics or in a relevant field of quantitative biology. Research expertise in the field of inference is desirable.

For more information about the post and how to apply please view the further particulars.

Applications and references should reach the College no later than noon on 1st September.

Contact details

St John's College
St. Giles, Oxford OX1 3JP
Work Tel: 01865 277300
Fax: 01865 277435
University of Oxford