Research Associate – ID 013624

Posted 8 months ago

Job ID: 013624 Salary: £38,304- £42,652, including London Weighting Allowance, based on experience Posted: 21-Jan-2021 Closing date: 11-Feb-2021
Business unit: Faculty of Life Sciences & Medicine Department: St John’s Institute of Dermatology Contact details: Dr Paola Di Meglio ,

Job description

An exciting position is available in the Cutaneous Immunology group led by Dr Paola Di Meglio, at St John’s Institute of Dermatology, King’s College London.  The post holder will join a vibrant research group interested in the immune and environmental mechanisms underpinning pathogenesis and outcome to therapies in inflammatory skin disorders. This post will focus on studying the environmentally regulated aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR) pathway in psoriasis to develop novel therapeutic strategies which harness its homeostatic function. The postholder will develop and interrogate murine and humanized in vivo models of skin inflammation, conduct in vitro and ex vivo assays to measure CYP450 enzymatic activity in human and murine specimens, and  perform flow cytometric and imaging mass cytometric analysis of human and murine immune cells and tissue, liaising with  clinical and academic collaborators. The successful candidate will have a PhD in a relevant biomedical discipline, a background in immunology or pharmacology with expertise in animal models and experience in working with human primary samples and will ideally be available for an immediate start. Prior experience in skin immunology and model of skin inflammation and transplantation will be advantageous. Informal enquiries to out our lab at and on Twitter  @DiMeglioLab This post will be offered on an a fixed-term contract until January 2022 in the first instance, with the possibility of a further 1 year extension. This is a full-time post.

Key responsibilities

  • Design and implement in vitro and in vivo model systems of skin inflammation and xenotransplantation, suitable for dissecting the role of the AHR/CYP1A1 axis in inflammatory skin disease, including using pharmacological inhibitors of the pathway.    
  • Measure CYP1A1 enzymatic activity in human and mouse skin and immune cells 
  • Conduct imaging mass cytometry to examine the expression of AHR and CYP1A1 in human and mouse skin
  • Design and implement multi-parameter flow cytometric assays in blood- and skin-derived immune cells   
  • Isolate and purify primary immune cells from human and mouse blood and skin   
  • Conduct mammalian cell culture, transient and stable transfection of plasmid DNA and SiRNA.   
  • Perform isolation of high-quality RNA from human and mouse cells and tissue and RT-PCR analysis.   
  • Work flexible hours as required by the experiments (e.g. being available for drug dosing at weekends)
  • Work through close interactions with the clinical team supporting the project (Prof Smith at SJID, Dr Lynch at Centre for Stem Cells & Regenerative Medicine, research nurses at SJID) 
  • Assists the Lab Head in managing the animal colony
  • Liaise with mass spectrometry facility to measure AHR ligands in human biological fluids by LC-MS
  • Work closely and collegially within the Cutaneous Immunology group that currently include one Research Associate, a PhD student and one Biomedical Research Technician plus a variable number of UG/PGR students on short placements 
  • Contribute to general laboratory tasks
  • Support other members of the group and contribute expertise to other projects within the Cutaneous Immunology group, as appropriate
  • Contributions to writing of reports, grant applications, new patent applications and publications for appropriate scientific journals and present research findings at scientific meetings.   
  • Facilitate and maintain effective communication within immediate research group and with clinical and academic groups within the Institute/School   
  • Liaise regularly and effectively with clinical, research and admin colleagues within the Institute to ensure work is performed in accordance with Health and Safety and Human Tissue Act regulations
  • Work effectively to specific deliverables and to strict deadlines   
  • Help with supervision of PhD students, placement students and junior staff.   
  • Trouble-shoot and optimize experimental protocols, including flow cytometry panels and animal experiments   
  • Keep up with research developments in the field of psoriasis, cutaneous immunology, immunology and apply knowledge to experimental interpretations   
  • Record, analyse and write up the results of experiments maintaining an up to date and comprehensible electronic record of laboratory work and store it securely.   
  • 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 collaborators as required   
  • Present research findings at scientific meetings as required   
  • Prepare progress reports on research for funding bodies as required   
  • Prepare data for and contribute to writing of manuscripts and grant applications as required  
  • Being an excellent team player able to work as part of an interdisciplinary team
  • Always work in compliance with the Ethical regulations imposed by King’s College London, Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Trust and the
  •  Human Tissue Act.   
  • Always work in compliance with the Data Protection Act 1998.  
  • 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 a biomedical discipline relevant to the project, i.e. Immunology, Pharmacology, Biomedical Sciences, or equivalent near completion
  • Experience of in vivo animal models
  • Experience with primary murine samples (isolation and culture of cells from tissues)
  • Experience with primary human samples (isolation and culture of cells from blood and tissues)
  • Experience in multiparameter flow cytometry
  • Experience with pharmacological and/or enzyme activity assays
  • Skilled in molecular biology techniques (RT-PCR, SiRNA, transfections)
  • Experience in data analysis, including statistics
  • With a track record of publication in high quality scientific journals
  • Willing to work flexibly in accordance with the needs of the project to meet milestones
  •  Organised, highly motivated, able to take initiative in problem solving and working independently

Desirable criteria

  • Experience in skin transplant models
  • Current HO PIL holder or last held one within 3 years
  • Experience in animal colony management
  • Experience in Immunohistochemistry
  • Experience in bioinformatic analysis of large datasets

*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, a presentation, and an assessment.This post is subject to Occupational Health clearance.

Job Features

Job CategoryResearch Associate