Research Associate

London (Greater) (GB)
£38,304, including London Weighting Allowance
19 Oct 2020
End of advertisement period
01 Nov 2020
Academic Discipline
Life sciences, Biological Sciences
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

Job description

The antibody discovery group wishes to appoint a Postdoctoral Research Associate with experience in flow cytometry, in vivo cancer models and cell-based cancer cell/immune/antibody functional assays, to join its established Cancer Antibody Discovery & Immunotherapy Group research programme. This post will focus on developing novel IgE-based cancer therapeutics and evaluating candidates for translation and commercialization. The post will be integrated into the academic team’s translational research activities, led by Prof. Sophia Karagiannis.    

The postholder will conduct flow cytometric in vitro/ex vivo antibody functional studies, develop and interrogate in vivo rodent models of cancer, working closely with two appointed researchers, liaising with academic researchers and commercial, clinical and academic collaborators. The programme is conducted to specific deliverables and strict deadlines. Therefore, the position will suit a highly-motivated and focused team player, with strong communication and collaborative skills.   

This post is not CoS compliant. 

This post will be offered on an a fixed-term contract until 31st December 2021.

This is a full-time post.

Key responsibilities

Examine the efficacy, safety and mechanisms of action of a tumour antigen-specific IgE antibody by multicolour flow cytometry, flow cytometric sorting, cell-based and ELISA methodologies, to include tumour cell cytotoxicity and phagocytosis functional assays   

Conduct efficacy, safety and mechanisms of action studies of tumour antigen-specific IgE antibodies using patient and healthy volunteer immune cells, whole blood and sera  

Design and implement in vivo mouse model systems of cancer featuring human immune cell engraftment for cancer immunotherapy with antibodies   

Design and implement immunocompetent in vivo rat model systems of cancer to examine IgE immunotherapy  

Immunomonitoring of blood and tumour lesions through novel medium-throughput screening, characterisation and evaluation studies using a range of cell-based functional assays and flow cytometric/flow sorting methodologies   

Assist in project management.  

Help with supervision of PhD students and junior staff.   

Contributions to writing of reports, grant applications, new patent applications and publications for appropriate scientific journals and present research findings at scientific meetings.   

Design and implement antibody engineering and efficacy testing   

Design and production of tumour cell lines transfected with tumour antigens to be used for antibody immunotherapy evaluations in vitro and in vivo   

Cloning and expression of antibodies of different specificities and species using molecular biology approaches  

Primer design, sequencing of heavy and light chain of novel fully human antibodies against cancer antigens   

Conduct immunohistochemical evaluations to examine expression of tumour antigen target, Fc receptors and immune cell infiltration in patient tumour lesions, tissue microarrays, and animal tumours and other tissues  

Communication & networking   

Facilitate and maintain effective communication within immediate research group and with clinical and academic groups within the Unit/Department/Division   

Work closely with our academic and clinical collaborators in Dermatology/Genetics, Cancer Studies, Allergy and Early Phase Trial Unit for the collation and analyses of data generated from research and clinical studies   

Work in collaboration with the Research Associate and Research Fellow (Grade 7) appointed in the programme. • Interact effectively with external commercial and academic partners to present data when required.  

Decision making, planning & problem solving  

Work effectively to specific deliverables and to strict deadlines   

Trouble-shooting antibody screening, and antibody/protein functional and cloning technologies in the laboratory   

Compliance with the Ethical regulations imposed by King’s College London, Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Trust and the Human Tissue Act.   

Compliance with intellectual property rights, and the Data Protection Act 1998.  

Service delivery   

Design and implementation of multi-parameter flow cytometric and cell-based functional assays to study tumour antigen-specific IgE and IgG antibody efficacy, safety and mechanisms of action   

Design and implement in vitro and in vivo model systems of cancer suitable for dissecting cancer-associated inflammation, immune responses and for evaluating immunotherapy approaches including monoclonal antibodies   

Cloning and expression of different species monoclonal antibodies of the IgE and IgG class using molecular biology approaches   

Design and implementation of tumour cell lines transfected with tumour antigens to be used for antibody immunotherapy evaluations in vitro and in vivo   

Isolation and purification of lymphocytes from human and animal specimens   

Primer design, sequencing of heavy and light chain of novel fully human antibodies against cancer antigens  

Ex vivo and ELISA assays of blood analytes.   

Mammalian cell culture, transient and stable transfection of plasmid DNA.   

Medium-scale production of recombinant cultures   

Isolation of RNA from mammalian cells and RT-PCR analysis.   

Expression cloning in competent systems   

Mammalian cell harvest, measurement of antibody titres.   

Isolation and purification of antibodies and proteins by chromatographic methods e.g. affinity chromatography, FPLC, HPLC etc.  

Analysis & research   

Keep up with research developments in the field of cancer immunology, immunotherapy and antibody discovery and apply knowledge to experimental interpretations   

Record, analyse and write up the results of experiments   

Prepare and present findings of research activity to colleagues for review purposes   

Present work and other material at laboratory meetings   

Present work and other material at meetings with external collaborators as required   

Present research findings at scientific meetings as required   

Prepare progress reports on research for external partners as required   

Prepare progress reports on research for funding bodies as required   

Prepare data for and contribute to writing of manuscripts and grant applications and new patent applications as require  

Team work, teaching & learning support   

Work closely with an interdisciplinary team of scientists in the antibody discovery programme that include two Research Associates, a Clinical Lecturer, a Clinical Fellow, a PhD student and two Research Technicians focusing on different aspects of cancer immunotherapy with antibodies   

Interact closely and highly effectively with the Research Associate (Grade 7) appointed to this programme on a daily basis   

Work through close interactions with colleagues in Allergy and Asthma, Cell and Molecular Biophysics, Imaging Sciences and with clinical academic colleagues in Cancer Studies   

Work through close interactions with clinical oncology and early clinical trials unit (Prof. James Spicer) and the Breakthrough Breast Cancer Unit (Prof. Andrew Tutt) at Guy’s Hospital   

Assist with supervision and mentorship of PhD students and junior staff  

Sensory/physical demands & work environment:  

Carry out tasks that require the learning of certain skills   

Required to be aware of the risks in the laboratory and clinical work environment  

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 

•         PhD awarded in Biological Sciences, Cancer Biology, Cancer Immunology, Molecular Biology, or equivalent of PhD in Biological Sciences, Molecular Biology, Cancer Biology, Cancer Immunology or equivalent near completion 

•         BSc in Molecular Biology, Immunology, Biophysics, Biochemistry or related subject 

•         Cell-based functional evaluations (e.g. cancer cell viability, cell signaling, antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity/phagocytosis) 

•         In vivo models of cancer 

•         Tumour immunology, immunomodulation and immunotherapy, including monoclonal antibody direct/effector functions 

•         Multiparameter flow cytometry 

•         Working with in vivo models of cancer (e.g. for cancer immunotherapy, such as antibody immunotherapies 

•         Isolation and purification of lymphocytes (e.g. monocytes, NK cells, basophils, B lymphocytes) and tumour cells from human and animal specimens 

•         Experience in antibody and/or protein cloning and purification techniques (e.g. affinity purification,ion exchange and reversed phase HPLC) 

•         Organised, highly motivated, focused towards high quality deliverables and able to meet strict deadlines 

•         Excellent team player able to work as part of an interdisciplinary team 

•         Ability to take initiative in problem solving and working independently 


Desirable criteria 

•         Experience in ELISA-style assays 

•         Immunohistochemistry 

•         Antibody and immune cell functional, potency and efficacy assays and antibody effector function evaluations (e.g. ADCC, ADCP, mast cell degranulation, basophil activation) 

•         Single cell PCR 

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 advertisement does not meet the requirements for a Certificate of Sponsorship under Home Office regulations and therefore the university will not be able to offer sponsorship for this role.

This post is subject to Disclosure and Barring Service and Occupational Health clearance.

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