Research Associate in Immunology

King's College London

United Kingdom

# Job description

**The project**

*Shigella* is an important human pathogen and antimicrobial resistance priority threat. Using the zebrafish model of infection, we have recently determined that *Shigella sonnei* can establish persistent infections that are not completely cleared by the host immune system or antibiotic treatments.

 

We seek a Postdoctoral Research Associate to develop an innovative research project that will characterise what host and pathogen factors control *Shigella* persistent infections and the links of this phenotype with antimicrobial resistance. The candidate will combine molecular and cellular biology techniques, host transcriptomics, microbial genomics, and imaging (see for example Torraca et al., 2019; Torraca et al., 2023) in their project.

 

The research will focus on studying *Shigella* infection *in vivo* (using the zebrafish model) and *in vitro* (using macrophage models). However, the candidate will be also encouraged to work collaboratively and be involved in related projects. The ideal candidate will contribute to the training of undergraduate and postgraduate students. They will also contribute to setting up a Sindbis virus model of infection in zebrafish to use this in sequential bacteria-viral and viral-bacterial infection experiments with *Shigella*. The successful candidate will also be supported to apply for competitive postdoctoral fellowships towards the end of the post.

 

**The candidate**

The successful candidate will have obtained (or will obtain soon) a PhD in a relevant subject (i.e., molecular biology, cell biology, microbiology, and/or immunology). Experience with bacterial pathogens, and ‘omics’ sciences (i.e., transcriptomics, microbial genomics) is essential for this post. Experience with the zebrafish model and macrophage models is desirable.  

 

**Environment**

The KCL School of Immunology & Microbial Sciences and its Department of Infectious Diseases are internationally recognised for the broad spectrum of approaches they use to understand infectious diseases and improve health and well-being. The School and Department host world leaders in immunology, pathogen molecular biology, and host-pathogen interactions, encompassing a wealth of knowledge, expertise, and experience. The Department is based at the Guy's campus, enabling strong connections with clinical units at the adjacent Guy's & St Thomas' NHS Trust. At Guy's campus, KCL has a fully managed zebrafish, microscopy, and molecular biology facilities, which will be used in the project.

 

This post will be offered on an a fixed-term contract for 24 months.

 

This is a full-time post - 100% full time equivalent.# Key responsibilities

**Research Responsibilities**

- Develop a cutting-edge research project aiming to profile host and pathogen factors involved in the establishment of *Shigella* persistent infections. Perform laboratory work aligned with the project, ensuring smooth running of experiments. 
- Work semi-independently and collaboratively to develop knowledge of the literature in the subject area. Design and control experiments. Maintain accurate records of experiments and outcomes.
- Communicate research findings via drafting of publications. Prepare and deliver presentations about relevant research findings within the team and within and outside of the Department. Prepare periodic written reports and/or summaries of the work conducted.
- Work in a flexible but organised manner to meet objectives/deadlines.
- Help to maintain a safe working environment. Handle laboratory equipment considerately. Report safety issues as soon as possible. Comply with the requirements of the Health and Safety regulations.

 

**Broader Responsibilities**

- Assist with general laboratory upkeep and contribute to housekeeping tasks aligned with the project (for example management of zebrafish colony).
- Initiate purchase of consumables and minor equipment within budgetary limits and in consultation with the PI.
- Work and communicate effectively with other members of the Team, Department, School, and external collaborators.
- Contribute to the day-to-day training and supervision of junior staff and undergraduate and/or graduate students within the Team.
- Positively support equality of opportunity and equity of treatment to colleagues and students in accordance with the College Equal Opportunities policy.

*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

The successful candidate will have obtained (or will obtain soon) a PhD in a relevant subject (i.e., molecular biology, cell biology, microbiology, and/or immunology).

 

Experience with bacterial pathogens, and ‘omics’ sciences (i.e., transcriptomics, microbial genomics) is essential for this post.

 
Experience with the zebrafish model and macrophage models is desirable.

 

**Essential criteria**

1. PhD in a relevant subject (i.e. molecular biology, cell biology, microbiology, and/or immunology) or PhD in above subjects near completion.
2. Documented experience with studying bacterial pathogens.
3. Documented ability to design, implement and analyse experiments. 
4. Excellent oral and written communication skills (i.e., documented by presentations at academic meetings and track record of publications in peer-reviewed journals and/or preprints). 
5. Documented ability to work both collaboratively and independently.
6. Documented expertise in molecular biology (especially DNA/RNA extractions and manipulations).
7. Documented experience with omics-based approaches (e.g. RNA-Seq, microbial genomics).
8. Academic integrity and rigor.
9. Excellent Teamworking skills (i.e., documented by broader citizenship roles within the previous Departments/Teams, embracing equality/diversity/inclusion, and contributing to training others). 

**Desirable criteria**

1. Experience with the zebrafish model and macrophage models. 
2. Experience with CRISPR mutagenesis.

*\** 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

Applicants should include a CV (max. 2 pages) and a Cover Letter (max. 3 pages), outlining their suitability for the post and how they meet the Essential/Desirable criteria. In the cover letter, applicants should include a clearly labeled section for each criterion, explaining how the criterion is met. Please use Arial style and a minimum 11pt font size. 

Selection will be based on meeting essential and desirable criteria. Shortlisted candidates will be invited for a formal interview which will entail a research presentation, and discussion of the prospective work. Interviews are likely to be held 3-4 weeks after the application deadline. Candidates invited for interview will be notified as soon as possible.

Informal inquiries and previous knowledge of the lab’s research interests are strongly encouraged. Please do not hesitate to contact Dr Vincenzo Torraca ([vincenzo.torraca@kcl.ac.uk](vincenzo.torraca@kcl.ac.uk)) for further details.


In your application, please refer to Professorpositions.com

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