Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Centre for Cell and Gene Therapy

London (Greater)
£38,304 - £45,026 per annum, including London Weighting Allowance
25 Jan 2022
End of advertisement period
14 Feb 2022
Academic Discipline
Life sciences, Biological Sciences
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

Job description
This role is for a postdoctoral research associate to explore methods for the improvement of vision through modulation of photoreceptor cell light sensitivity. It is an opportunity to work within a leading translational eye research group led by Professor Robin Ali. In addition to the core role, the post holder may be required to participate in other projects within the group and will design and execute experiments independently or in collaboration with other group members. 
The post holder will have a strong background in neuroscience, especially retinal function and vision. The post holder will have expertise in gene therapy, molecular biology and immuno techniques, including western blot and immunoprecipitation. The post holder will be competent in confocal imaging and image analysis and have good working knowledge of optogenetics and assessments of vision. The post holder will be a team player with good communicative skills. 
This post will be offered on an a fixed-term contract to 30th September 2023 
This is a full-time  post

Key responsibilities

  • Undertake original and state of the art biomedical research as an integral member of a group working on the development of gene and cell-based therapies for the treatment of retinal disease. The post-holder will use a range of molecular biology, immunohistochemistry and imaging techniques to investigate methods to improve vision through modulation of photoreceptor light sensitivity. 
  • Design and manufacture of gene therapy constructs for the transfer of optogenetic molecules and phototransduction cascade modulators to improve vision 
  • Production of AAV viral vectors, (assist with) administration in rodent models of retinal dystrophy and assessments of vision 
  • Cryo-sectioning and immunohistochemical analysis of retinal tissue
  • Maintain up-to-date, accurate and comprehensive laboratory notes
  • Assist, supervise and train other members of the group, including students and other research staff in their application in related lab projects.
  • Manage the progress and set goals for achievement of project aims in collaboration with team leaders including the execution of literature reviews, data collection and analysis, and report preparation.
  • Prepare reports on results for verbal and multimedia presentations at regular lab meetings, departmental seminars, national and international meetings.
  • Prepare manuscripts for publication in peer review journals or book chapters
  • Facilitate collaboration and networking which engages and supports the activities of this research.
  • Identify areas for research, develop new research methods and extend the research portfolio
  • Contribute to collaborative decision making with colleagues
  • Deal with problems that may affect the achievement of research objectives and deadlines
  • Implement new technological approaches to solve problems
  • Contribute to decisions affecting the work of the team
  • Take initiative to undergo relevant training
  • Develop research objectives and proposals for own or joint research, with the assistance of a mentor
  • Conduct individual and collaborative research projects
  • Write up research work for publication in scientific journals
  • Continually update knowledge and understanding in field
  • Translate knowledge of advances in the subject area into research activity
  • Analyse and interpret research data and draw conclusions on the outcome  
  • Actively participate as a member of a research team
  • Attend and contribute to relevant meetings
  • Provide mutual support to the team, acting as a role model for good practice
  • Set up and maintain relevant laboratory equipment for use by self or others.
  • Supervise the research activities of undergraduate and postgraduate students engaged in related research under the direction of group leaders, as required.
  • Balance with help the competing pressures of research and administrative demands and deadlines
  • Be aware of the risks in the work environment and their potential impact on own work and that of others
  • Show consideration to others            

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.  
Essential criteria  
1.       PhD in a relevant subject 
2.       Strong background in neuroscience and/or vision 
3.       Experience in translational research 
4.       Good knowledge of retinal function and disease  
5.       Skilled in relevant molecular biology techniques 
6.       Excellent record keeping / attention to detail  
7.       Organised and systematic approach to research  
8.       Strong work ethic, evidence of productivity  
9.       Excellent interpersonal skills  
10.   Ability to contribute to the team success (training colleagues, providing scientific input during meetings, keeping a healthy working atmosphere in the lab) 
Desirable criteria
1.       Experience in gene therapy and gene transfer techniques 
2.       Good knowledge of the field of optogenetics  
3.       Experience with assessments of vision in rodents 
This post is subject to Occupational Health clearance.
* 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.