Postdoctoral Research Scientist in Epigenetic and Transcriptional Regulation in Clonal Haematopoiesi

Expiring today

London (Greater) (GB)
£38,304 - £41,517 per annum, including London Weighting Allowance
Friday, 16 April 2021
End of advertisement period
Thursday, 13 May 2021
Academic Discipline
Life sciences, Biological Sciences
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

Job description 
The postholder will be a key researcher in a new project funded by an King’s Health Partners-industry partnership to study the genetic aberrations and their contribution to pathogenesis in Age-related Clonal Haematopoiesis (ARCH), also known as Clonal Haematopoiesis of Indeterminate Prognosis (CHIP) and myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS).  This position will be supervised by Dr Lynn Quek, based in King’s College London’s Denmark Hill Campus. 
CHIP is a phenomenon where individuals who have acquired mutations in their bone marrow and blood cells, but who do not have clinically apparent haematological disease.  These mutations are associated with blood cancers such as myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) and acute myeloid leukaemia (AML).  Individuals who have CHIP are at an increased risk of developing blood cancers, but also of cardiovascular disease, through mechanisms we do not fully understand.  We want to find out how mutations develop in individuals with CHIP, and how these may change over time to give rise to disease. 
We are looking for an ambitious post-doctoral research scientist who takes pride in performing scientific work to high technical standards, has excellent organisation skills, is ready to take on new challenges.  This postholder will be a key member of a team to study the genetics and epigenetic transcriptional regulation of CHIP and MDS.  
This work requires expertise in flow cytometry and cell sorting, tissue culture, gene-editing techniques, in vitro functional assays, and genomics (including DNAseq, RNAseq, MethylSeq and ATACseq). Training in more advanced techniques (e.g. flow-sorting, single cell genomics) will be offered, and the postholder will be expected to be self-driven in developing new skills.   The postholder will have the opportunity to become experts in state-of-the-art single cell multi-genomic analyses, and acquire computational skills.  We are able to offer training bioinformatics and encourage researchers to perform computational analysis of their own data.  
We are looking for a candidate who has excellent research skills and who is able to demonstrate self-motivation, independent critical thinking, flexibility and good teamwork. This post will be ideal for a committed scientist looking for their first or second post-doctoral position, with the opportunity to manage their own project.  They will gain most from this post by having a high level of commitment to this project and a true passion for furthering clinical scientific research. The successful candidate will also benefit from being able to work with a research assistant in this project. 
Dr Quek is especially interested in helping promising researchers develop their career.  This project will provide excellent scientific and technical training, working in an area that has direct relevance to patient care.  This post has a fixed term of 36 months, but there may be the possibility of extension for the suitable candidate. 
Some relevant recent publications: 
1.         Jaiswal S, Fontanillas P, Flannick J, et al. Age-related clonal hematopoiesis associated with adverse outcomes. N. Engl. J. Med. 2014. 
2.         Genovese G, Kahler AK, Handsaker RE, et al. Clonal hematopoiesis and blood-cancer risk inferred from blood DNA sequence. N. Engl. J. Med. 2014. 
3.         Jaiswal S, Natarajan P, Silver AJ, et al. Clonal hematopoiesis and risk of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. N. Engl. J. Med. 2017 Jul 13;377(2):111-12 
This post will be offered on a fixed-term contract for 36 months. 
This is a full-time / post -100% full time equivalent.

Key responsibilities

  • Motivation to perform research to the highest standards, aiming for publication in high impact scientific journals
  • Management of own academic research and administrative duties, planning, developing and executing experiments in discussion with Dr Quek. This involves project management, to co-ordinate multiple aspects of work to meet deadlines
  • Contribute directly to scientific discussions with Dr Quek and other members of the group and collaborators
  • Be able to adapt and develop new experimental approaches
  • Coordination and running of the laboratory including supervisory responsibilities for laboratory staff and students
  • Work as part of a team to prepare documentation e.g. grant applications, manuscripts for publication, scientific meetings; attend scientific meetings to present data
  • Be a source of information and advice to other members of the group on scientific protocols and experimental techniques
  • Ability to work flexibility to accommodate needs of the research programme.
  • Undertaking other duties as may be that are commensurate with the grade and responsibilities of the post.
  • Handling of patient AML samples, cell lines, nucleic acids; tissue culture
  • Performing FACS analysis and sorting of AML samples
  • Gene editing techniques
  • Molecular techniques: PCR/ RT-PCR/ cloning
  • Preparation of NGS libraries: for genotyping, RNA-seq, Methyl-seq, ATAC-seq and ChIP-seq
  • Digital PCR, single cell platforms (10x Genomics)
  • Performing sequencing runs on Illumina MiSeq and NextSeq
  • Running bioinformatic pipelines for analysis of multiple -omic data sets
  • Data collection and analysis, preparation of formal reports in a timely manner, maintain clear laboratory/ database records
  • Follow the KCL safety guidelines and adhere to risk assessments and COSHH regulations concerning the handling of chemical and biological substances
  • Collaborate within King’s College London and with collaborating centres, necessary for successful completion of the project. This will require prompt responses to work-related emails, and participation in teleconferences and in face-to-face meetings.
  • Communicate conceptual and complex ideas to a variety of audiences using appropriate media and methods.
  • Decision Making, Planning & Problem Solving: the postholder will
  • Be responsible for day-to-day decisions to ensure smooth running of the project and will be expected to discuss experimental plans with Dr Quek.
  • Work independently in planning day to day activities in accordance with the project deadlines as agreed with Dr Quek.
  • Be able devise and trouble-shoot experimental work flows
  • Work towards delivering agreed project goals.
  • Give support to junior team members in dealing with queries and monitor objectives and standards
  • Write or contribute to publications or disseminate research findings using other appropriate media.
  • Make presentations at conferences or exhibit work in other appropriate events.
  • be expected to collaborate and liaise with external collaborators.
  • Be expected to supervise team members
  • Act as a responsible team member, leading where agreed, and develop productive working relationships with others.
  • Be self-motivated to improve their skills and knowledge, and keep up to date with developments in the field

The above list of responsibilities may not be exhaustive, and the post holder will be required to undertake such tasks and responsibilities as may reasonably be expected within the scope and grading of the post.
Skills, knowledge, and experience

Essential criteria
1.       PhD in relevant area of Cellular/ Molecular Biology or Biochemistry
2.       Experience in tissue culture of cell lines and primary samples and molecular biology techniques
3.       Experience in preparation of NGS libraries
4.       Expertise in Flow Cytometry, including cell sorting
5.       Previous peer-reviewed publication in good quality journal
6.       Evidence of effective project management and ability to work flexibly.
7.       Experience in adapting and developing new experimental approaches
8.       Experience in supervising junior team members
9.       Expertise in basic IT (Word/ Excel/ Powerpoint) and data analysis tools
10.   Evidence of excellent organisation skills and working to deadlines
11.   Evidence of accurate and timely documentation and record-keeping
12.   Evidence of effective presentation and communication with academic, clinical and managerial colleagues.
Desirable criteria
1.       Experience in gene editing techniques
2.       Experience in haematology and / or cancer research
3.       Experience in Illumina NGS sequencing and single cell NGS techniques
4.       Evidence of bioinformatic skills (analysis of NGS datasets and statistics)
5.       Experience of working with collaborators outside immediate research group
*Please note that this is a PhD level role but candidates who have submitted their thesis and are awaiting award of their PhDs will be considered. In these circumstances the appointment will be made at Grade 5, spine point 30 with the title of Research Assistant. Upon confirmation of the award of the PhD, the job title will become Research Associate and the salary will increase to Grade 6.
This post is subject to Disclosure and Barring Service and Occupational Health clearance.