The Crick: Senior Laboratory Research Scientist in Electron Microscopy

Posted by , on 2 August 2021

Application close date: 6 September 2021

Project summary

An exciting opportunity to be a part of a pioneering biomedical research institute, dedicated to innovation and science. We are looking for a highly organised, enthusiastic, experienced and adaptable Electron Microscopist to join our growing team.

The role of Senior Laboratory Research Scientist (SLRS) will work within the Electron Microscopy Science Technology Platform (EM STP). The post-holder will assist in providing outstanding imaging science for researchers at the Crick, from initial consultation through to sample processing, imaging, analysis and data interpretation. The post-holder will work on multiple imaging projects in collaboration with Crick and partner university research scientists, across a broad range of biomedical research disciplines (cell biology, immunology, infection and immunity, parasitology, cancer biology, neurobiology, biomaterials, clinical research and more). The post-holder will use a range of sample preparation, imaging and analysis workflows, encompassing light, X-ray and electron microscopy, often combined into correlative and multimodal pipelines. The post-holder may be involved in technique and technology development projects where the scientific research questions demand new innovations in imaging science. The post-holder will also contribute to smooth day-to-day operation of the facility.

To take on this role, you will have a degree and (optionally) a PhD in the biological sciences, expertise in electron microscopy (EM) and the application of EM to biomedical research questions, and enthusiasm for working in a facility environment. Expertise in standard resin-embedding of cells and tissues, ultramicrotomy, scanning and transmission EM are essential. Expertise in advanced sample preparation techniques (such as cryo-preparation and correlative workflows), advanced electron microscopes (Serial Block Face SEM, Focused Ion Beam SEM), other imaging modalities (light and X-ray microscopy) and image analysis are desirable. This post offers an unparalleled opportunity to apply your microscopy skills to exciting and innovative research across biomedical disciplines, with access to cutting edge instrumentation, and the chance to develop completely new imaging techniques and technologies for direct application to biomedical research. The role reports to the Head of the EM STP.

The Research Group

Th EM STP is one of 17 STPs that support science at the Crick. The priority of the team is to collaborate with Crick scientists to prepare, image and analyse their cells, tissues and model organisms, and return results to expedite discovery science. To deliver the best imaging science within this dynamic and innovative institute, we have a team of ten electron microscopists, two physicists and a CZI Imaging Scientist responsible for our Citizen Science programme.

The EM STP has expertise in preparing, imaging and interpreting a wide range of samples including DNA, yeast, viruses and virus-infected cells, cultured cell lines, parasites and pathogen-infected cells, tissues and model organisms (including fruit flies, worms and zebrafish). The EM STP uses a wide range of sample preparation and imaging techniques, including negative staining, low-angle rotary shadowing,  resin  embedding  and  ultramicrotomy  (manual  and  automated), Tokuyasu cryosectioning and immunolabelling, CEMOVIS, plunge freezing, high pressure freezing and freeze substitution, light microscopy, correlative light and electron microscopy (CLEM), transmission EM, scanning EM, electron tomography, volume electron microscopy (Serial Block Face SEM and Focused Ion Beam SEM), integrated light and electron microscopy (ILEM), cryo-fluorescence microscopy, cryo-soft X-ray tomography, and lab and synchrotron-hosted hard X-ray microscopy. We have a comprehensive suite of sample preparation labs and equipment for room temperature, microwave and cryo-fixation, with advanced ultramicrotomy capability, and expertise and computational infrastructure for handling and analysing big image data. 

The EM STP team has broad interactions with the wider microscopy community and has wide-ranging collaborations with both academic and industrial partners. Where imaging technologies or workflows do not exist to answer a specific biomedical research problem, the team will strive to develop new techniques and technology tailored to the research. In addition to the Electron Microscopy team, the EM STP hosts a Microscopy Prototyping team that designs and builds new microscopy hardware and software solutions to improve the accuracy, speed and throughput of correlative imaging, and increase the speed, throughput and accessibility of advanced big image data analysis workflows.

The EM STP has a strong open science, public engagement and equitable science ethos. We are a hub for biomedical citizen science projects through our Etch a Cell projects on the Zooniverse platform. The team regularly works with the Crick Education and Public Engagement teams to communicate science to a wide audience.

Key responsibilities

These include but are not limited to:

  • Contribute to the provision of an outstanding EM STP for Crick scientists by producing high quality and timely results on individual projects, from initial consultation through to sample processing, imaging, image analysis and data interpretation, as part of the EM STP team.
  • Participate in the development of new EM techniques and technologies under the guidance of the STP Lead.
  • Train Crick scientists in all aspects of Electron Microscopy.
  • Assist with general laboratory support including maintenance of microscopes, sample preparation equipment and rooms; preparation of consumables including chemicals, buffers and EM grids.
  • Continuing professional development in the field of Electron Microscopy by  attending courses and workshops, writing papers, presenting work at scientific meetings, and keeping abreast of the relevant literature.

Key experience and competencies

The post holder should embody and demonstrate our core Crick values: bold, imaginative, open, dynamic and collegial, in addition to the following…


  • A degree in a relevant field
  • Experience of research in a biomedical field, for example, cell biology, neurobiology, developmental biology…
  • Experience in light microscopy including sample preparation techniques, microscope use and maintenance, digital image acquisition and analysis
  • Expertise in biological electron microscopy, including sample preparation  techniques, electron microscope use and maintenance, digital image acquisition and analysis
  • Experience of contributing effectively to the work of a team
  • Ability to work independently when required
  • Flexible and cooperative approach to working with others
  • Excellent project planning, time-keeping, organisational and record-keeping skills
  • Enthusiastic, well organised and able to prioritise workload
  • Effective written and verbal communication skills
  • Ability to think creatively and problem-solve


  • A PhD in a relevant field
  • Experience of cryo-preparation techniques
  • Experience of Correlative Light and Electron Microscopy
  • Experience of Serial Block Face SEM and/or Focused Ion Beam SEM
  • Experience of other high resolution biological imaging techniques e.g. X-ray microscopy
  • Experience of developing new techniques and technologies
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