Research Associate

London (Greater)
£38,304 – £39,345, including London Weighting Allowance
10 Nov 2020
End of advertisement period
23 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, immunological or antibody functional assays, to join its Cancer Antibody Discovery & Immunotherapy research programme. This position is funded by an Innovate UK award held in partnership with the KCL spinout company, Epsilogen Ltd. The postholder will focus on developing and evaluating IgE-based cancer therapeutic agents for translation and commercialization. The post will be fully-integrated into the academic team's translational research programme led by Prof. Sophia Karagiannis.

The project will involve functional studies using in vitro/ex vivo flow cytometric assays and in vivo rodent models of cancer. The postholder will work closely with two appointed researchers, and liaise with our 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 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 will be offered on an a fixed-term contract until 31st December 2022.
This is a full-time post.

Key responsibilities

  • Examine 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
  • Immune monitoring 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

Teamwork, 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 two researchers 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.

Further information

Selection process will include a panel interview, an assessment and a presentation.

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 Occupational Health clearance.

Similar jobs

Similar jobs