Research Assistant in Microbiology

University of Cambridge

United Kingdom

Patil lab at MRC-Toxicology Unit is looking for a microbiology Research Assistant to contribute to its programme on Microbiome-mediated Toxicity of Xenobiotics. An adult individual typically harbours a few hundred grams of bacteria in their digestive tract. Recent findings have brought forward the fundamental role of this microbiota in determining drug efficacy, mode of action and side effects. Yet, such interactions at the microbiome level remain unknown for most of the drugs and for other xenobiotics that we are exposed to (e.g., food contaminants like pesticides). The overarching goal of our research is to discover and model complex (xeno-) metabolic networks emerging in the gut microbiota and thereby gain mechanistic insights into microbiome-mediated toxicity.

Applicants must hold, or be close to completing, a degree in a relevant discipline (e.g., microbiology, cell biology or molecular biology) and have experience in microbial cultivation. Experience in anaerobic culturing and/or genetic engineering is desired. The Patil lab is home to researchers representing a wide range of expertise, ranging from mathematical modelling to metabolomics. Enthusiasm for working in a diverse inter-disciplinary team is therefore a must.

The MRC Toxicology Unit is an internationally renowned institution focused on the delivery of field-changing mechanistic insights into toxicology and disease. The Unit is equipped with state-of-the-art facilities including mass spectrometry, microscopy, and bioinformatics, and offers excellent opportunities for scientific career development.

Fixed-term: The funds for this post are available for 3 years in the first instance.

Further information on the Toxicology Unit can be found at (

Relevant publications:

  • Blasche S., Kim Y., Mars R., Kafkia E., Maansson M., Machado D., Teusink B., Nielsen J., Benes V., Neves R., Sauer U., Patil K.R. Metabolic cooperation and spatiotemporal niche partitioning in a kefir microbial community. Nature Microbiology, 6, 196-208 (2021)

  • Maier L, Pruteanu M, Kuhn M, Zeller G, Telzerow A, Anderson EE, Brochado AR, Fernandez KC, Dose H, Mori H, Patil KR, Bork P, Typas A. Extensive impact of non-antibiotic drugs on human gut bacteria. Nature. doi: 10.1038/nature25979 (2018)

  • Tramontano M, Andrejev S, Pruteanu M, Klunemann M, Kuhn M, Galardini M, Jouhten P, Zelezniak A, Zeller G, Bork P, Typas A, Patil KR. Nutritional preferences of human gut bacteria reveal their metabolic idiosyncrasies. Nature Microbiol. doi: 10.1038/s41564-018-0123-9 (2018)

Click the 'Apply' button below to register an account with our recruitment system (if you have not already) and apply online.

Informal enquiries are invited and can be directed to Kiran Patil at

If you have any queries regarding the application process please contact Bronwen Chamberlain at

Please quote reference PU26554 on your application and in any correspondence about this vacancy.

The University actively supports equality, diversity and inclusion and encourages applications from all sections of society.

The University has a responsibility to ensure that all employees are eligible to live and work in the UK.

In your application, please refer to


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