Post-doctoral Research Associate
This position is funded by the Biomedical Research Centre at KCL. The post holder will join the recently formed lab of Dr Rui Pedro Galao, at the Department of Infectious Diseases. The Galao lab mainly focuses its research in uncovering molecular mechanisms underlying the innate immune responses to viral infection, including evasion mechanisms deployed by RNA viruses such as SARS-CoV-2.
The postholder will molecularly characterise primary SARS-CoV-2 virus isolates from persistently infected immunocompromised and haematological cancer patients. This will include the study of their phenotypic variation in terms of tropism, antagonism of immune responses and sensitivity to neutralisation by antibodies. Given the nature of the primary isolates, and the diversity of variants present in the cohort, the postholder research will help answering important questions regarding the selective immune pressures leading to the generation of new mutations in the virus genome, as well as defining the impact of those in viral evasion and pathogenicity.
The successful candidate should be highly motivated and well organised, with experience in managing complex laboratory projects and communicating effectively with other scientists and students.
This post will be offered on an a fixed-term contract until 30/11/2022.
This is a full-time post - 100% full time equivalent
• To investigate the interaction between the host immune system and SARS-CoV-2 by phenotypically characterise primary viral isolates.
• To design and perform a wide range of laboratory techniques and experimental strategies to meet the objectives outlined above
• SARS-CoV-2 isolation and propagation from clinical samples
• Experiments with full-length SARS-CoV-2 under BSL3 conditions
• Generate tools including CRISPR-generated knock-out cells, and molecular cloning of proteins of interest and mutants thereof
• Perform routine tissue culture and immune assays under sterile conditions
• Use technologies including gene and protein expression analyses, fluorescence microscopy, luminescence-based reporter assays, flow cytometry, ELISAs
• Analysis of large data sets of genomic sequences
• Be responsible for reporting/analysing/storing assay results
• Provide technical and organizational support to other members of the team
• Ensure that reagents are prepared, stored and used in an appropriate manner
• To assist and participate in departmental research projects and departmental protocols under the guidance of the Project Supervisor.
• To be willing and able to interact with collaborators and other members of the group working on related projects
• To maintain consistent and regular progress reporting to the Head of Group
• To establish best practice for the recording of all data relevant to the research
• To contribute to responsibility for ensuring that equipment is safe and maintained in working order and assist with laboratory upkeep
• To follow all the Code of Practices and Safety guidelines while working in the BSL3 facility.
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 awarded in Virology, Microbiology, Immunology or relevant field.
• Excellent knowledge of virology and immunology (mainly innate immunity)
• Experience working with full-length viruses and tissue culture
• Effective time management and organizational skills
• Excellent communication and presentation skills
• The ability to work towards deadlines and/or milestones
• The ability to manage a busy research project
• The ability and willingness to learn new techniques
• The ability to work effectively as part of a research team
• The ability to analyse and interpret data
• The ability to work flexible hours where required
• Experience working under a BSL3 environment
• Experience in molecular virology techniques
• Extensive experience with general laboratory techniques including molecular cloning
* 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.
Selection process will include a presentation of the candidate’s previous research, followed by individual interviews with the Head of the Group and other members of the Department.
This post is subject to Disclosure and Barring Service and Occupational Health clearance.
SARS-CoV-2; Long-term persistence; Innate Immunity