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Job id: 092345. Salary: £43,205 - £46,732 per annum, including London Weighting Allowance.

Posted: 10 July 2024. Closing date: 09 August 2024.

Business unit: IoPPN. Department: Neuroimaging.

Contact details: Diana Cash. Diana.cash@kcl.ac.uk

Location: Denmark Hill Campus. Category: Research.

About us

Join our multidisciplinary preclinical laboratory, which features state-of-the-art in vivo neuroimaging and electrophysiology/EEG facilities, along with corroborative histological, autoradiographic, and behavioural techniques. Our lab is part of the wider King's College London (KCL) imaging network, which includes a small animal Nuclear Medicine facility with PET and CT scanners at St. Thomas' Hospital, and the Centres for Ultrastructural Imaging and Nikon microscopy at Guys Campus. As part of the world-renowned Neuroimaging Department at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IOPPN), you'll be embedded in a vibrant environment where preclinical and clinical collaborations thrive.

You'll have access to cutting-edge expertise in image analysis and statistics, and the opportunity to collaborate with a diverse group of scientists from KCL and beyond, spanning both industry and academia. This role offers an exciting chance to work in a leading research institution, contributing to ground-breaking studies and advancing the field of neuroimaging.

About the Department of Neuroimaging

The Department of Neuroimaging is one of four departments in the School of Neuroscience at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience. It focuses on the use of neuroimaging techniques,  Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), electroencephalography (EEG) and Positron Emission Tomography (PET, in collaboration with the St Thomas’ PET Centre) to accurately measure brain structure and function in health and disease. Research at the Department focuses on developing technology to extend the use of imaging to unreached cohorts, widen the palette of brain biomarkers and coverage of the central nervous system, and to improve image quality and the sensitivity and specificity of the derived biomarkers. Research is carried out in clinical cohorts, pre-clinical experimental, and in-vitro models to understand neurological and psychiatry disorders and to examine mechanisms and effects of potential new treatments.

The Department is located at the Centre for Neuroimaging Sciences (CNS) at Denmark Hill campus. Researchers have access to state-of-the-art imaging equipment for human MRI scanning at the CNS and at the NIHR King’s Clinical Research Facility (CRF) as well as preclinical imaging at the BRAIN (Biomarker Research and Imaging for Neuroscience) Centre and provides NHS services under the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust.

About the role

We are seeking a Research Associate to join our preclinical neuroimaging laboratory, The BRAIN Centre ( https://brain-imaging.org), to support the operation and maintenance of the 9.4T Bruker scanner. This post will be embedded within the research teams led by Drs Diana Cash and Marija Petrinovic, and under the supervision of Head of Preclinical MR Physics and Analysis, Dr Eugene Kim.

You will assist users and collaborators with imaging data acquisition, data conversion, quality control, and pre-processing to ensure high-quality data. A key aspect of the role involves implementing, optimizing, evaluating, and applying both routine and novel MR image acquisition and analysis techniques for preclinical imaging and spectroscopy projects, particularly those focused on central nervous system research.

Additionally, you will be involved in developing imaging and spectroscopy pipelines for evaluating cerebral ischemia and its structural and functional consequences, in collaboration with the newly established Jagiellonian University Medical College imaging facility in Krakow, Poland. This collaboration will also include (optional) biannual visits to Krakow, for 4 years in the first instance.

The role also involves ensuring the seamless operation of the scanner in alignment with the facility's strategic aims, coordinating with the Biological Operations Manager to meet the needs of neuroimaging users and collaborators. The scientist will participate in project planning, developing novel MRI/MRS methods, present research findings, and contribute to manuscript and report writing. The role requires a commitment to ongoing training, including attending Bruker preclinical MRI programming and advanced imaging courses as necessary.

This post will be offered on a full-time, indefinite contract.

About you:

To be successful in this role, we are looking for candidates to have the following skills and experience:

Essential criteria

1.       PhD in Physics/Medical Imaging/Engineering or a related field

2.       Experience of performing preclinical (experimental animals) in vivo imaging experiments

3.       Scientific data acquisition, management and processing

4.       Competency in a programming language such as Matlab, Python or C++, as well as using Unix shells

5.       Excellent mathematics, problem solving, and analytical skills

6.       Rigorous attention to detail and capacity for troubleshooting

Desirable criteria

1.       Maintenance and operation of a Bruker MR scanner

2        Programming of MRI/MRS pulse sequences

3        Good understanding of MRI physics and associated biophysics

4         Experience of image analysis methods and statistics for structural and functional MRI

5         Familiarity with electronics in general and specifically MRI and computer hardware and peripheral equipment

Downloading a copy of our Job Description

Full details of the role and the skills, knowledge and experience required can be found in the Job Description document, provided at the bottom of the next page after you click “Apply Now”. This document will provide information of what criteria will be assessed at each stage of the recruitment process.

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

We pride ourselves on being inclusive and welcoming. We embrace diversity and want everyone to feel that they belong and are connected to others in our community.

We are committed to working with our staff and unions on these and other issues, to continue to support our people and to develop a diverse and inclusive culture at King's.

We ask all candidates to submit a copy of their CV, and a supporting statement, detailing how they meet the essential criteria listed in the advert. If we receive a strong field of candidates, we may use the desirable criteria to choose our final shortlist, so please include your evidence against these where possible.

To find out how our managers will review your application, please take a look at our ‘How we Recruit’  pages.

We are able to offer sponsorship for candidates who do not currently possess the right to work in the UK.

This post is subject to Occupational Health clearances.