Jobs and PhD studentships

Postdoctoral fellows

We are always interested in hearing from potential new lab members. Whilst we have no open postdoc positions currently, enquiries from competitive candidates for fellowships (EMBO/HFSP/Marie Curie etc) are strongly encouraged.

For informal enquiries please email

Funded PhD studentships

We currently have a fully-funded 4-year position to start October 2021, kindly supported by the Royal Society. UK applicants only.

From formation to closure of phagocytic and macropinocytic cups

The capture and digestion of pathogens by phagocytosis is a key component of the innate immune system, protecting the body from infection.  The uptake of extracellular liquid by the related process of macropinocytosis also allows immune cells to survey their environment for antigens and recently has also been identified as a major factor in cancer, allowing cells to feed on extracellular proteins to sustain their unregulated growth.

The aim of this project is to understand how cells form and regulate the cup-like structures required for engulfment. Specifically, we want to know how they close and initiate digestion, which is essential to both kill pathogens efficiently, and extract nutrients to support growth. These are very poorly understood involving coordination of the actin cytoskeleton and vesicle trafficking pathways.

To investigate this, you will combine genetics, biochemistry and state-of-the-art 3D live cell imaging, using the amoebae Dictyostelium as a model system. Dictyostelium use both phagocytosis and macropinocytosis to feed, providing an ideal system to observe and manipulate these processes which has allowed us to make several significant advances.

You will join our team at the University of Sheffield, with a strong track record, located in a vibrant scientific environment with access to first-class facilities. We are a friendly group, well-funded through a Royal Society fellowship to Jason King, with a firm commitment to good supervision and development.

We are seeking an enthusiastic candidate interested in fundamental cell biology, immunity or cancer. Candidates are expected to hold (or be about to obtain) a minimum upper second-class honours degree (or equivalent) in a related area / subject. Previous molecular biology or microscopy experience is preferable but not essential.

Informal enquires are strongly encouraged, by email to

Applications will close on 18th January.

Projects for self-funded students

Understanding the role of DRAM in infection and autophagy-related disease

We are currently looking for a new student to understanding how the lysosomal protein DRAM contributes to bacterial killing and autophagy

This is a collaboration with Phil Elks at Sheffield (, and involves using both Dictyostelium and zebrafish.

Full project and application details can be found here.

The physics of phagocytosis

We are also looking for potential candidates to undertake an interdisciplinary, collaborative project with Andrew Parnell in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Sheffield.

To effectively prevent infections, phagocytic cells of the immune system need to efficiently engulf microbes of widely varying size, shape and biomechanical properties.

How phagocytic cup formation is spatially organized, and adapts to engulfing particles of different geometries and stiffness is however poorly understood. We will directly address this, providing insight into both fundamental mechanisms of phagocytosis and immune cell function.

1) Analyze the mechanisms and forces used for phagocytosis of particles with differing biophysical properties
2) Understand the role of surface ligands in facilitating engulfment
3) Identify the cytoskeletal regulators that enable phagocytosis of complex shapes and differing stiffness

Full details can be found here.

University of Sheffield