Laboratory Research Scientist - Wilkinson Tuberculosis Lab

This role will be important in supporting research activities in the Wilkinson Tuberculosis Laboratory. This role will have specific emphasis on the activities taking place in the Biosafety Level 3 Laboratory, therefore requiring Containment Level 2 and 3 experience. You will provide hands-on expertise in the culture of various cell types as well as Mycobacterium tuberculosis strains.

Key information

Job reference
R265
Salary
Competitive with benefits, subject to skills and experience.
Application close date
05 August 2021, 00:00 BST
Hours per week
36 (full time)
Posted 08 July 2021

Tuberculosis (TB) is a very common infectious cause of death worldwide. Although usually thought of as a lung disease, the bacteria that cause TB can also cause meningitis (TBM). This is the most severe form of TB, killing 20 - 40% of people affected, including in the UK, with children, HIV-infected people and recent immigrants at particular risk. TBM is currently treated with a combination of anti-inflammatory and antibiotic drugs, but the best drugs and drug combinations are not well understood. We are investigating how TB causing bacteria enter the brain, and how the brain responds to infection and treatment, with the aim to guide the development of new drugs.

The position is envisaged to support various research projects mainly focused on improving treatment outcomes in tuberculous meningitis, using in vitro models and samples from clinical trials taking place in South Africa. The in vitro model of the blood-brain barrier (BBB) is built using different cell types from the brain in order to study how these cells interact with Mycobacterium tuberculosis as well as HIV and more recently SARS-CoV2. The model will also be used to test the effects of new antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs, both alone and in combination, using metabolomics and other technologies.

The Research Group

Dr Wilkinson’s laboratory focuses on research questions arising from the clinical care of tuberculosis (TB) and HIV-TB co-infected persons in South Africa and London. Through clinically-based studies we aim to improve knowledge of pathogenesis and thereby improve prevention and treatment. Details of research projects currently being undertaken can be seen at  http://www.cidri-africa.uct.ac.za/

Research techniques used in the laboratory can be seen at https://intranet.crick.ac.uk/our-crick/wilkinson-r-lab-tuberculosis-laboratory

Key responsibilities

These include but are not limited to:

  • Maintain various cell lines essential to build the BBB model

  • Collaborate with other members in the group in generating the BBB model

  • Train new users in CL2 and CL3 practices

  • Assist with sample shipping from the South African site to the Crick

  • Help sample processing for metabolomic and other downstream technologies

  • Identify solutions to address key scientific challenges required for the success of the project.

  • Establish and maintain policies and procedures related to lab operations, biosafety and sample shipping

  • Maintain electronic laboratory notebooks for proper documentation of research activities.

  • Deliver reports and presentations supporting experimental results.

  • Drive effective communication across the team and internal and external collaborators.

  • Demonstrate continuous integrity and positivity and motivate others to do the same.

Key experience and competencies

The post holder should embody and demonstrate our core Crick values: bold, imaginative, open, dynamic and collegial, in addition to the following:

Essential

Qualifications, experience and competencies:

  • Biosafety containment Level 2 and 3 experience

  • Experience in sterile mammalian and bacterial cell culture conditions

  • Ability to contribute to the design, execution and reporting on research projects

  • Ability to work collaboratively within an interdisciplinary research team.

  • Excellent written and oral communication skills.

Desirable

Qualifications, experience and competencies:

  • Experience in Biosafety containment Level 4 laboratory practices

  • MSc or above in immunology, microbiology or a related discipline.

  • Knowledge of and experience in imaging and multicolour flow cytometry.