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Job id: 083665. Salary: £43,205 - £50,585 per annum, including London Weighting Allowance.

Posted: 01 February 2024. Closing date: 14 March 2024.

Business unit: IoPPN. Department: Basic & Clinical Neuroscience.

Contact details: Younbok Lee. younbok.lee@kcl.ac.uk

Location: Denmark Hill Campus. Category: Research.

Job description

We are seeking a Research Associate who will become an integral member of Dr. Youn-Bok Lee's dynamic research team, which is at the forefront of a gene therapy initiative. This program is dedicated to combating C9orf72-linked amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and fronto-temporal dementia (FTD) and is supported by the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation.

The mission of the research program is to develop novel vector and refine the dosage of both gene augmentation and silencing vectors within cellular and animal models of these diseases. This is to establish a solid foundation of proof for their efficacy and potential application in clinical settings.

You will collaborate with a dedicated group of Post-doctoral Scientists, Technicians, and PhD students who together will perform analyses on cells and tissues that have been treated with various plasmid and vector constructs, aiming to quantify the impact on the expression of the targeted gene. The role involves spearheading the assessment of innovative plasmid and Adeno Associated Viral (AAV) vectors, as well as confirming their effectiveness in both cellular and animal disease models.

Key technical competencies required for this position encompass a broad spectrum of molecular and cellular biology techniques, including gene cloning, plasmid DNA purification, iPSC cell culture, RNAseq data analysis, CRISPR gene editing, AAV vector production, mouse handling, and the meticulous quantification of vector genomes, mRNA, and protein expression levels.

Conducting experiments to the highest standard of excellence is imperative, as is maintaining the strictest levels of confidentiality with all research data. This position represents a remarkable chance to advance one's career within the cutting-edge field of Gene Therapy, offering a deeply fulfilling professional pursuit for those committed to making a difference in the lives of individuals affected by ALS and FTD.

This post will be offered on an a fixed-term contract until 31st March 2027.

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

 

Key responsibilities

  • Designing and cloning novel genes into plasmid vectors   
  • Organize the project and prepare milestone reports
  • Perform in-vitro and in vivo lab work
  • Transfection of cultured cell lines, iPSC and primary cells by plasmids and vectors 
  • Protein detection by Immunocytochemistry and western blot 
  • RNAseq and data analysis
  • Processing animal tissues for immunohistochemistry and western blotting 
  • Image tissues using slide scanning and confocal microscopes 
  • Perform image analysis using advanced analytical software tools 
  • Conduct statistical analysis on the data generated 
  • Prepare milestone reports
  • Prepare manuscripts for publication 

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 

1. PhD in Biology, Biochemistry, Biotechnology or Neuroscience 

2. Extensive experience of cloning genes into expression plasmids 

3. Experience in plasmid and/or viral vector cellular transduction (primary neuron, iPSC and other cell types)

4. DNA and RNA extraction, sequencing (RNAseq) and quantification by RT-qPCR 

5. Experience of protein quantification by ELISA and western blot 

6. Experience in cell culture and AAV production

6. Experience of immunocytochemistry and advanced microscopy 

7. Viral vector injection to brain (animal model)

8. Sectioning animal tissues and performing immunohistochemistry 

9. Willing to work occasionally during weekends and bank holidays 

10. Prepare study reports and manuscripts for publication

Desirable criteria

1. Designing microRNA and shRNA 

2. Quantification of RNA by FISH  

3. Production of AAV, Adeno or Lenti viral vectors 

4. In vitro and in vivo transduction using AAV, Adeno or Lenti viral vector 

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 an Occupational Health Clearance.