Postdoc Fellow: B-Cell Signatures of High-Affinity Antibodies

Cambridge, UK

Competitive Salary, Bonus & Benefits

AstraZeneca is a global, science-led, patient-centered biopharmaceutical company that focuses on the discovery, development and commercialization of prescription medicines for some of the world’s most serious disease. But we’re more than one of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies. At AstraZeneca, we ‘re dedicated to being a Great Place to Work where you are empowered to push the boundaries of science and fuel your entrepreneurial spirit. There’s no better place to make a difference to medicine, patients and society!

About the Postdoc Programme:

Bring your expertise, apply your knowledge, follow the science and make a difference.

AstraZeneca’s Postdoc Programme is for self-motivated individuals looking to take on interesting, high impact projects in a collaborative, challenging and innovative environment.

Working with peers and professionals from a diverse group of backgrounds, together with a world class academic mentor aligned specifically to your project, you’ll be respected as a specialist, and encouraged to speak up. You’ll lead a novel and cutting-edge research project at the interface of drug discovery and biopharmaceutical development in a multi-disciplinary scientific environment. You’ll be empowered and supported to drive the success of your project, publish papers, achieve your goals and make difference to our patients.

Running alongside your research project, our postdoc training program will help you learn about drug discovery and development from industry leaders working in our cutting edge research laboratories and organization.

About the Opportunity:

Working with Dr. Darren Schofield, Director Antibody Discovery & Protein Engineering and Dr. Xavier Romero Ros, Director Biosciences, at AstraZeneca, and Dr. Roser Vento Tormo, Group Leader at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, you’ll investigate key processes in B-cell biology. Utilising cutting-edge technologies, such as single B-cell RNA sequencing combined with in silico molecular modelling of antigen:antibody interactions, you’ll explore how to drive immune responses to produce better antigen-specific antibodies.

You will be embedded in a well-integrated, collaborative team of bench Biologists and Data Scientists. You’ll learn data science skills, expand your single cell analysis capabilities, and could develop the project further by collaborating with AstraZeneca’s structural modelling scientists.

A detailed understanding of the process of B-cell affinity maturation has been hindered by the inability to track the behaviour of individual B-cells upon interaction with antigens. For this post-doctoral project, we hypothesise that the process of affinity maturation is echoed in the B-cell transcriptomic profile, and aim to investigate this through single B-cell RNA sequence analysis of both the B-cell receptor repertoire and the B-cell transcriptome. You will combine this data with insights generated by in silico modelling of antigen:antibody interactions to develop a better understanding of the B-cell affinity maturation process and enable us to generate higher affinity target specific antibodies. This project has the scope to influence multiple areas of science, ranging from a better understanding of how higher affinity antibodies are generated to cope with pathogens, to having a better insight into how B-cell autoimmune diseases occur.

In this role you will lead the analysis and interpretation of single cell transcriptomic expression data, and design and apply innovative computational/statistical algorithms and visualizations to generate biological insight from the data generated, and integrate and interpret proprietary and public data to generate further additional insights. Our ambition is for you to publish this research in high impact journals, and share your findings via conference presentations at both national and international level.

Qualification, Skills & Experience


  • PhD or postdoc with technical expertise in RNA seq data analysis
  • Proficient in programming languages such as Python, R or Perl
  • Enthusiasm for exploring new approaches to bringing big data together in biologically meaningful ways
  • Keen to exploit graph modelling, machine learning, and artificial-intelligence techniques to solve biological problems.
  • Good networking, collaboration and teamworking skills
  • Highly organized
  • Ability to identify opportunities, learn, and apply that learning


  • Hands on experience with single cell RNA seq data analysis.
  • Sound understanding of basic immunology, including familiarity with antibody sequence analysis and the utilization of relevant bioinformatic tools to achieve this.
  • Skilled in using bioinformatics, computational biology, biostatistics, and data science techniques.
  • Prior experience of working on cross-disciplinary/ global project teams.
  • Strong publication record.

This is a 3-year programme. 2 years will be a Fixed Term Contract, with a 1-year extension which will be merit based.

Are you ready for an exciting, rewarding challenge? Apply today!

Advert Opens: 15th September

Advert Closes: 17th October

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