Careers at Children's Cancer Institute
Research Assistant - Cell Culture - Personalised Medicine

Randwick - Sydney, Australia  
Employment Type:
Full-Time Fixed Term  
Translational Tumour Biology (TTB)

  • Innovative, collaborative and positive team-orientated environment
  • Modern, world-class facilities
  • Convenient Randwick location, close to transport
  • Flexible working options
  • 12 month contract with strong possibility of extension


The Zero Childhood Cancer (ZERO) Program is Australia’s most comprehensive precision medicine program led by Children’s Cancer Institute and the Kids Cancer Centre, Sydney Children’s Hospital. It is aimed at identifying individual cancer therapy for children, adolescents and young adults diagnosed with high-risk cancer where the expected survival rate is less than 30%. The objective of the program is to prolong survival and reduce treatment side effects. The data generated by the ZERO program is globally unique for paediatric cancer and interim results are highly encouraging.

The second largest patient cohort in the ZERO program consist of young patients with sarcoma. No targeted agents are routinely available for these patients, and molecular genomic profiling is often not enough to identify a targeted treatment. Drug screening on primary patient material provides a promising alternate approach to pinpoint a targeted drug that may be effective for sarcoma patients. Primary sarcoma cells are however difficult to culture, and we are therefore looking for someone dedicated to help improve the establishment of novel functional sarcoma models, to allow testing of novel targeted drugs in much more sarcoma patient samples.

The Research Assistant will work in the Sarcoma Research Laboratory led by Dr. Emmy Fleuren, which is part of the multidisciplinary team of researchers in the Translational Tumour Biology Laboratory, led by Professor Paul Ekert. The position will contribute to study of the biology of sarcomas, where the main role of the Research Assistant will be the establishment and validation of unique sarcoma cell cultures from sarcoma patients enrolled in the ZERO Childhood Cancer Program. Critical skills for this position therefore include experience in cell culture, where prior experience in and knowledge of establishing primary patient cultures, 3D cell cultures and experience with mouse patient-derived xenograft (PDX) models is considered a major advantage. The position will further involve assisting in the molecular and functional studies of sarcoma cell lines and patient samples, including investigating the consequences of mutations/fusions, developing functional genomic screens, test drug responses, examine (phospho)protein signal transduction pathways, and identifying potential drug targeting strategies.


Responsibilities will include, but are not limited to:

  • Assist with the development and maintenance of primary sarcoma cell lines
  • Optimise sarcoma culture conditions and perform literature research to drive this project
  • Set-up and work with sarcoma patient-derived xenograft (PDX) models
  • Assist with drug screens and molecular work in the sarcoma cell line models.
  • Assist with general laboratory management including contributing to ordering supplies, maintaining laboratory inventory
  • Achieve an outstanding level of competence in all aspects of experimental work
  • Contribute to quality publications
  • Train, supervise and guide junior researchers & students on a day to day basis
  • Involved in professional activities
  • Be involved in CCIA activities
  • Collate, organise and present experimental results


Qualifications, experience and skills required:

  • Minimum Bachelor degree in Science (Honours or equivalent) or related area
  • Previous experience in optimising in vitro primary cell cultures and model validations is highly desirable
  • Experience with primary and 3D cell cultures will be a significant advantage
  • Experience with patient-derived xenograft models will be highly regarded
  • Experience in sarcoma biology and sarcoma cell lines is an advantage
  • Willingness to perform literature research to optimise sarcoma culture conditions, and drive this project is required
  • Demonstrated experience in data analyses using Microsoft Excel and GraphPad Prism for basic statistical analysis.
  • Experience in sample processing and cell validation techniques, such as microscopy, RT-PCR and Western Blot is highly regarded
  • Experience with PC2 and WHS standards and behaviour highly desirable
  • Commitment to conducting experiments involving humans, animals & GMOs under strict ethical and regulatory guidelines

This is an excellent opportunity to work in an inspiring workplace. You'll be rewarded with a friendly and professional flexible work environment, comprehensive on-campus facilities, competitive salary, salary packaging options, access to a leading EAP program and regular social activities. Join a group of dedicated people in a performance-driven environment to achieve success and discover what it's like to look forward to coming to work every day and make a real difference. We're looking for people who share our values of accountability, integrity and camaraderie, teamwork, sharing and excellence, success and satisfaction.

A detailed job description and additional information about Children's Cancer Institute can be found on our website at: . We embrace diversity and encourage applications from people from diverse backgrounds and cultures.

To apply, please click the 'APPLY' link and forward both your resume AND cover letter (mandatory) clearly addressing the qualifications, experience and skills required.

Note: Applications will be reviewed prior to the closing date; which is dependent on the status of the recruitment process. Only successfully shortlisted candidates will be contacted.