Research Associate - Immunology
Recent clinical trials have revealed new classes of immune-based cancer therapies that target key pathways of the immune and immune-interacting tumour microenvironment. Either alone or in combination with conventional therapeutics or targeted therapies, these interventions have led to unprecedented results in patients with previously untreatable advanced disease. The future development of this class of agents for the significant fraction of cancer patients who do not respond to current immune therapies demands more in depth understanding of the anti-tumoral immune response.
We have recently demonstrated several tumor-immune crosstalk at the levels of both transcriptional reprogramming and protein post-translational modifications. The latter are shown to have wide biological and therapeutic implications (succinate dehydrogenase downregulation leading to HIF up-regulation, induction of TGFb, upregulation of the DAMP molecule S100A9 in the premetastatic niche, activation of STING in macrophages and resistance to EGFR therapies etc) secondary to heterotypic cell- cell contacts made between tumor cells and macrophages (Eisenblaetter, Theranostics 7: 2392-2401, 2017; Evans, Cell Rep 27: 1967-1978, 2019; Gomez, Science Signaling 13, 2020; Vicencio, Evans et al., in prep for EMBO Mol Medicine, 2021; Weitsman, Oncogene 36: 3618-3628, 2017).
The post holder will focus on applying multiphoton imaging, in combination with deep immune profiling (including imaging CyTOF ((Ng, et al., ASCO (Journal of Clinical Oncology 36, 2018) and our pioneered fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy (FLIM)-FRET (Ng, Science 283, 2085-2089, 1999; Barber, J Natl Cancer Inst, doi:10.1093/jnci/djz231, 2019) on endogenous protein interactions of e.g. PD-L1, bulk transcriptomics and exosome analysis; to 3D tumor organoid/spheroid-immune co-cultures; to fully characterise tumor cell-immune crosstalk in situ. The work will directly impact data collection for various preclinical and clinical cancer studies within the City of London Cancer Centre ( https://www.colcc.ac.uk/our-organisation/; https://www.colcc.ac.uk/imaging-patient-therapy-response/) to better understand the biological determinants of checkpoint therapy efficacies.
The post holder will report to Prof Tony Ng ( https://www.kcl.ac.uk/people/tony-ng) and act as Senior Researcher within the group work cross-disciplinary and lead a number of different projects by offering advice and, in some cases, direct supervision to other post docs and Phd students. The post holder is also expected to collaborate with team members regarding immunological aspects of their research.
This post will be offered on an a fixed-term contract for 3 years in the first instance.
This is a full-time post - 100% full time equivalent
- To work on molecular and cell/tissue analysis in close collaboration with clinical and basic scientists
- To provide leadership (advise and direct supervision) in immunology related projects to other members of the lab (postdocs and phd students).
- To promote research initiatives and original contributions to the research programmes of the laboratory
- To disseminate the research results through publication in scientific journals and presentation at appropriate conferences.
- To direct & devise new projects
- To liaise with colleagues from King’s College London, other collaborative academic institutions on multiple patient immunological profiling projects.
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
1. PhD awarded in cancer immunology
2. Experience in high dimensionalFLOW and Mass cytometry (CyTOF)
3. High level of expertise in processing and analyzing peripheral blood biopsies
4. Knowledge of in-vitro immunological assays including 3 dimensional tumour-immune co-cultures
5. Knowledge of relevant imaging platforms (e.g. multiphoton microscopy) and techniques
6. Indepth understanding of cancer immunology and immunotherapy
7. Track record of publishing in cancer immunology, immunotherapy and tumour microenvironment
8. Interest in the field of translation cancer research
9. Experience in working in multidisciplinary teams
10. Ability to work within a team
11. Strong problem solving abilities
12. An independent and innovative thinker
1. Experience in the study and analysis of components of the immune system such as innate lymphoid cells, natural killer cells, monocyte/macrophage, and T regulatory cells
2. Basic knowledge of 3D imaging techniques and data analysis ®
* 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 post is subject to Occupational Health clearance.