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MRC Mitochondrial Biology Unit


Interested in doing a postdoc at the MBU?

The MBU takes on postdoctoral researchers from around the world through a range of different schemes. If you are interested in carrying out postdoctoral research in the MBU you should first contact the programme leader you are interested in working with (see Research Groups). Then you can discuss potential projects, funding (see below) and when to join the Unit.

In addition to postdoc positions, the Unit also hosts a number of researchers moving towards establishing their own research lab. To discuss this, you should first contact the Unit Director, Judy Hirst.



There are a number of ways of funding your post-doctoral research at the MBU. Your prospective programme leader may have funding from the MRC through the Unit.  In addition, some programme leaders will have external grant funding which they can use to fund postdocs.

Another way to fund a postdoc is for you to obtain your own fellowship. There are a number of sources you can apply to and these include: the MRC, The Wellcome Trust, EMBO, MSCA, FEBS. In addition, your home country may have particular schemes to fund postdoctoral research. The Research Operations Office also has lots of useful information on finding funding. A number of the University of Cambridge colleges also offer stipendiary or non-stipendiary positions which may also be of interest (they are listed here and on individual College websites).


Life as a postdoc in the MBU

Postdocs in the MBU become part of a close-knit cohort of research teams exploring different aspects of mitochondrial biology in a collaborative and interdisciplinary way. Thus, the MBU provides a unique training environment for both basic and clinical researchers. The cross-disciplinary, multiscale mix of research in the MBU, from structural biology to cell biology, genomics and experimental medicine, united by the common theme of mitochondria, cuts across the boundaries of traditional disciplines. Assisted by our active seminar and networking series, the Unit’s researchers are exposed to a broad spectrum of mitochondrial science, not restricted to their specialist areas. The MBU is a world-leading research institute, home to one Nobel Laureate, two Fellows of the Royal Society and four Fellows of the Academy of Medical Sciences, it is equipped with state-of-the-art facilities and equipment, and its diverse and complementary expertise in mitochondrial biology is unique worldwide.

Further augmenting our own expertise and knowledge, the MBU is embedded in the University’s School of Clinical Medicine on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus, putting us at a hub of academic, clinical and pharmaceutical research. The MBU makes the most of this opportunity and is closely integrated into its environment, acting as a vital centre for mitochondrial biology at the heart of the community. Our networks and interactions enable us to promote mitochondrial biology research, provide expertise, advice and collaboration, and engage with opportunities for training and development across all areas of biomedicine. MBU researchers work closely with colleagues in the Clinical School and in diverse departments and institutions across Cambridge, including the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Gurdon Institute, Wellcome Sanger Institute, Cancer Research UK, Cambridge Institute for Medical Research, MRC Toxicology Unit, and the University Departments of Biochemistry, Chemistry and Physics. Furthermore, our many interactions with the pharmaceutical industry also provide opportunities for training and development, through MBU collaborations with companies such as Apollo Therapeutics, Immunomet Therapeutics, Mission Therapeutics, Sangamo Therapeutics and Storm Therapeutics, as well as with ‘big pharma’, including GlaxoSmithKline, AstraZeneca, Boehringer Ingelheim and Calico Inc.

There are many opportunities for teaching within the University Colleges and for assisting in supervising students. In addition, the MBU mentoring scheme means that every postdoc at the unit has the opportunity to be mentored by senior postdocs or PI’s in the Unit. This is a unique opportunity to discuss career aspirations and plans with those who have been through it and to get advice tailored to your needs.

All MBU postdocs are automatically added to our Postdoctoral Society mailing list when they start working at the Unit.


While moving to a new place can be daunting, we have assembled handy resources to make that transition to the MBU smoother.

The University accommodation service – signing up the University accommodation service may be a useful place to start to find accommodation for your needs. There are a number of housing options available, from University-owned to private accommodation and short to longer term letting.

Other useful websites to search for accommodation include Rightmove or Zoopla