Technician (Stem Cells)
The newly formed Centre for Cell and Gene Therapy (CCGT) is seeking to appoint a research technician to work within its leading translational eye research group, in its stem cell facility.
This is an exciting opportunity to work at the interface of basic and clinical research in a group that is at the forefront of developing novel therapies for retinal disorders, with a major emphasis on translating research into clinical application. The Centre for Cell and Gene Therapy builds on a considerable body of research and large multidisciplinary research programme, led by Professors Robin Ali and Rachael Pearson (previously at UCL’s Institute of Ophthalmology). It is one of the largest cellular and gene therapy groups in the country and is currently expanding. Over the past 20 years, the group has been optimising cell transplantation and gene transfer to the eye with a comprehensive programme of work to develop novel therapeutic approaches for eye disease and in particular for disorders affecting the retina, including inherited retinal degeneration. The programme has already led to first-in-human clinical trials of gene and cell therapy for eye disease. Over the next 5 years, we will be continuing the pre-clinical development and work up for clinical trials for photoreceptor cell therapy.
We are now seeking to recruit a dedicated research technician to join its Stem Cell team. Working in close collaboration with other team members, the post holder will support the maintenance of pluripotent stem cells (PSCs) and assist with characterisation, validation and quality control of PSCs for transplantation purposes. The post holder will assist in the culture and retinal differentiation of human and murine PSCs. They will also undertake, in collaboration with other team members, a wide range of molecular and cellular techniques to assist the pre-clinical development of photoreceptor cell transplantation. The post-holder will be expected to contribute to the general departmental duties and may be asked to participate in other projects within the group.
This is a unique opportunity to work in a vibrant translational research environment bridging. The post holder will work in a collaborative team environment with very high potential to learn new skills.
This post will be offered on a fixed-term contract for 1 year
Working closely with their line manager(s) and lead academic, the post holder will:
• Provide a range of services where there are established service standards and scientific protocols.
• Use a broad range of technical or practical skills and a well-developed working knowledge of technical or scientific practices and procedures, applying knowledge in the context of new areas.
• Undertake routine maintenance and differentiation of PSCs using best practice, including contributing to the maintenance rota which involves non-core hours working.
• Perform basic molecular biology (e.g. PCR, RT-PCR) and cell biology (e.g. Immunohistochemistry, preparation of samples for flow cytometry) experiments. Training will be provided where required.
•Work with senior research staff to monitor and maintain relevant equipment, systems and software, stocks/stores equipment and supplies
•Liaise with Principal Investigators, senior research staff and other group members to understand their requirements and priorities and be responsive to changing priorities and an evolving environment/context, maximising the efficiency of the technical support being provided.
•Monitor compliance with regulations governing the research, monitoring safe working practice and risk assessments and adapting the working environment to reduce the level of hazard.
•Maintain meticulous written records of laboratory procedures and results and have clear spoken and written communication skills, with proficient computer use and strong interpersonal and influencing/behavioural skills.
• Contribute to lab meetings where required
• Use well-developed analytical skills to identify trends and patterns, using appropriate techniques and procedures to inform decisions
•Manage own workload within the parameters of an-agreed work plan, responding to changing priorities and an evolving environment/context.
• Engage in Continuing Professional Development and training initiatives, in line with the Technician Commitment and Research Concordat for a minimum of 10 days pro rata per year.
• Work with colleagues and network within and beyond King’s and provide advice/ guidance and, where appropriate, training.
• Implement local environmentally sustainable practices, following the King’s sustainability audit process, where appropriate. Collaborate with colleagues to share good practice and support wider sustainable initiatives and suggest new ideas where you see that improvements could be made..
• Facilitate an inclusive culture and ethos working in partnership with academic, research and other professional services staff and colleagues external to King’s
• Actively engage in King’s Technical Network, building a network across the Faculty to provide peer support and opportunities to share best practice.
• Participate in cross-School/ Faculty/ university projects and initiatives for up to 10% FTE.
Skills, knowledge, and experience
1. Minimum level 3 qualification, e.g. A levels, AS levels, International Baccalaureate diploma or other Level 3 qualification, plus work experience in relevant technical/scientific posts OR Considerable knowledge and skills gained through work experience in relevant technical or scientific posts.
2. Evidence of an active commitment to career development including professional registration, such as RSciTech or RSci AND/OR clear career progression in increasingly demanding jobs.
3. Evidence of training to perform, and commitment to, high quality translational research
4. Knowledge and experience in a range of scientific procedures, including standard molecular and cell biology techniques (PCR, RT-PCR, immunohistochemistry, tissue/cell preparations) and an awareness of their environmental impact.
5.Previous research experience in mammalian cell culture and working under aseptic conditions and to best practice.
6. Solutions-focused self-starter, with strong planning and analytical skills, able to manage competing priorities and work with minimal supervision.
7. Clear spoken and written communication skills, with proficient computer use and strong interpersonal and influencing/behavioural skills.
8. Proactive and responsive to contacts in immediate area, across King’s and externally (e.g., suppliers) to build relationships and network
9. Evidence of ability to learn new techniques effectively and train others, as required.
10. Commitment to working as a team member towards the overarching objectives of the programme
11. Working knowledge of regulations and best practice governing area of work, including Health & Safety and environmental sustainability.
12. Able and willing to provide support beyond core hours, as required.
- Experience of working with human stem cell cultures
- Experience of working to GLP/GMP standards
- Experience with cellular cryopreservation
- Experience with cell sorting techniques