Research Associate

London (Greater) (GB)
£39,345 per annum including London Weighting Allowance
27 Jul 2021
End of advertisement period
22 Aug 2021
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

Job description

The Bannister lab (Central Modulation of Pain) invites applications to join a clinical and pre-clinical team of researchers interested in defining the somatosensory profile of people with Parkinson’s disease (PD) using psychophysics. This Parkinson’s UK -funded opening is a fixed-term two-year post-doctoral position and the successful candidate will work between the Wolfson CARD (Guy’s Campus) and King’s College Hospital (Denmark Hill campus).

The post holder will perform a series of studies of experimental pain states using quantitative sensory testing and conditioned pain modulation paradigms as well as application of specialist pain scale questionnaires alongside the clinical neurologist employed on the grant. Duties will include recruitment, data collection, processing, analysis and writing of research reports. Understanding that early-career candidates may require additional support for some elements of the role, the necessary training will be provided.

Precisely, the project title is ‘investigating the reason why some people with PD experience constant pain’. People with PD typically experience problems with movement, but pain is a non-movement problem that is equally troublesome and lasts for the lifespan of the disease. The cause of this pain is poorly understood and as such, patients do not receive adequate pain relief. We wish to assess pain-related symptoms in people with PD with constant pain, people with PD without constant pain and healthy people. The results will create personalised pain sensitivity profiles and will guide knowledge of the mechanism(s) that underlie constant pain experienced by some people with PD.

The recruit is expected to have a PhD in the relevant field (including but not limited to Neuroscience or Neuropharmacology topics, ideally combining human psychophysics methodology). We can offer full training in the psychophysics techniques and the recruit will also receive training in clinical research methodology with a research passport to work at KCH in addition to GCP training and attending Parkinson’s clinics with the appointed clinical research fellow.

This post will be offered on a fixed-term contract for 2 years or until 3 October 2023.

This is full-time post - 100% full time equivalent

Key responsibilities

The post holder will:

  • Join a team of researchers performing psychophysical assessment of healthy volunteers and patients
  • Recruit participants to take part on the research programme
  • Perform experiments in humans experiencing acute and chronic pain
  • Perform assessments including structured questionnaires and psychophysical techniques
  • Prepare and submit research reports, manuscripts and presentations emerging from the work and assist junior members of the team in doing the same
  • Actively engage with researchers engaged in pain projects with associated collaborators nationally and internationally.

Skills, knowledge, and experience

Essential criteria

1.       First degree in relevant field (e.g. neuroscience, psychology, physical sciences, medicine, not exhaustive)

2.       Relevant PhD in same field (applicants awaiting PhD outcome are invited to apply)*

3.       Experience and knowledge of performing clinical and/or psychophysical tests in humans

4.       Core ICT skills

5.       Excellent people skills and written and verbal communication skills

Desirable criteria

1.       Ability to solve problems independently

2.       Proficiency in use of univariate statistical packages (e.g. R, SPSS)

* 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.

Interviews will be held within a couple of weeks of advert closure.

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