Research Assistant / Research Associate in Biosensors Research
The Department of Analytical, Environmental and Forensic Sciences (AEFS) is seeking a talented and enthusiastic researcher to work on an exciting UKRI-funded project titled “DisCoVer: Aptamer biosensors for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 on surfaces”.
DisCoVer aims to develop new fluorescent biosensors for the detection of the SARS-CoV-2 virus based on recognition by aptamer-conjugated polymer nanoparticles. Through delivery to surfaces as part of an aerosolised spray reagent, this sensor will allow the ‘stand-off’ visualisation of viral deposits through the production of discrete areas of fluorescence.
Biosensor construction will be based on a ‘molecular beacon’ design, in which an initially quenched dual-labelled probe is restored to a fluorescent state upon SARS-CoV-2 binding.
This role will involve the design, construction and testing of the proposed biosensors. Research objectives for the post include (but are not limited to):
- Characterisation of conjugated polymer nanoparticles (CPNs)
- Selection and testing of appropriate CPN-quencher pairs
- Characterisation, optimisation and testing of aptamer sequences binding to SARS-CoV-2
- Biosensor design, construction, optimisation and testing (sensitivity, selectivity, in situ application, etc.)
The successful candidate must possess an MSc/PhD (or have equivalent practical experience) in a relevant field and previous experience in biological assay development. A working knowledge of the analytical/conjugation chemistry methods likely to be utilised in this project (e.g. nanoparticle synthesis, DNA immobilisation, surface plasmon resonance, spectrofluorometry and fluorescence microscopy) is also desirable. Strong communication and data presentation skills are also essential, as the post holder will be supported to publish project results in peer-reviewed journals, and present at national/international conferences.
The project is being run as a collaboration between the Department of Analytical Environmental and Forensic Sciences and the KCL Department of Physics, and is led by Dr. Nunzianda Frascione (AEFS), Dr. James Gooch (AEFS), Prof. Mark Green (Physics) and Prof. Chris Lorenz (Physics). The successful candidate will be based in Dr. Frascione’s laboratory at the KCL Waterloo Campus but may also conduct some work within the Department of Physics’ laboratories on the Strand Campus. The candidate will be expected to work closely with another Postdoctoral Research Associate on the project.
This project will run initially from the 1st March 2021 until the 31st August 2022.