We have an exciting position for a qualified postdoctoral Research Associate to undertake a ground-breaking preclinical, British Heart Foundation-funded, project in the School of Biomedical Engineering at St Thomas' Hospital (STH). The project will run in collaboration with the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute in Australia.
The research aims to detect and treat high-risk atherosclerotic plaques by quantifying and modulating the vascular inflammatory activity in a rabbit model of atherosclerosis. The project will utilize a novel myeloperoxidase MRI probe; advanced MRI protocols and ex vivo bench-based techniques to investigate whether: (i) Molecular MRI of myeloperoxidase activity can distinguish plaque that will rupture and cause thrombosis from plaque that are stable and do not rupture; and (ii) myeloperoxidase inhibition promotes plaque stabilisation and reduces plaque rupture. This study will answer the clinically important question whether MRI can selectively identify high-risk plaque and guide treatment aimed at reducing the risk of myocardial infarction in a precision medicine approach.
The post is suitable for biologists, biochemists, chemists and trainees in surgery, with interest in molecular imaging of atherosclerosis wishing to obtain research training towards an academic or research career. You will have varied responsibilities including animal handling; performing or assisting in animal vascular surgery; MRI scanning of animals; animal dissection; analysis of MRI data and ex vivo analyses of tissues. You will also be responsible for managing the data, maintaining complete and accurate study files and be expected to present the results in various formats to different audiences and writing manuscripts. You may also have the opportunity to be involved in other preclinical imaging studies of vascular disease including heart failure and deep vein thrombosis to examine the merits of novel MRI contrast agents.
The successful applicant will be closely supervised by Dr Alkystis Phinikaridou and Prof René Botnar at the School of Biomedical Engineering and Imaging Sciences and will also be collaborating with Prof Roland Stocker and Dr Sergey Tumanov at the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute in Australia.
This is a full-time, fixed-term contract for 24 months.
- Animal (rabbit) handling - including injections, cannulation.
- Perform or assist in animal surgeries (denudation of the abdominal aorta).
- Perform vessel wall MRI imaging of the abdominal with and without molecular contrast agents.
- Perform animal dissection and collection of tissues for ex vivo analyses.
- Analyse MRI image using dedicated software.
- Perform bench-based techniques including liquid chromatography mass spectrometry, histology, immunohistochemistry, western blotting, PCR.
- Perform statistical analyses.
- 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
- PhD or equivalent.
- Experience with preclinical vascular imaging research, preferentially rabbit imaging.
- Experience with statistical analysis at a preclinical level.
- Experience with ex vivo bench-based techniques.
- Make presentations at conferences or exhibit work in other appropriate events.
- Decide on research programmes and methodologies, in collaboration with colleagues and subject to the approval of the PIs.
- Good general communication skills are essential and the post holder will collaborate actively within and outside the Divisions to complete research projects and advance thinking.
- Ability to work without close supervision.
- Ability to plan and prioritise workload.
- Ability to work to clinical and scientific deadlines.
- Resolve problems of meeting research objectives & deadlines.
- Plan, co-ordinate and implement research programmes.
- Develop ideas for application of research outcomes.
- Communicate complex ideas to those with limited knowledge and understanding as well as to peers using high level skills and a range of media.
- Experience with research design and grant record.
This post is subject to Occupational Health clearance.
This advertisement does meet the requirements for a Certificate of Sponsorship under Home Office regulations and therefore the university will be able to offer sponsorship for this role.