Postdoctoral Research Associate – Epigenetics, DDR and Replication Stress in Stem Cells and Leukaemia

Location: London, United Kingdom
Application Deadline: 26 November 2023.
Published: 3 weeks ago

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This is a research post aiming to assist Professor So in the design and expediting of his research projects for publication of academic papers and securing of grants.

The purpose of this post is to develop and expedite projects aimed at characterizing DDR response, replication stress and epigenetic networks in leukemia using newly developed disease models in the lab.  Transcription factors and their associated epigenetic modifying enzymes are frequently deregulated or even mutated in human acute myeloid leukemia (Zeisig et al., 2012, Cancer Cell).  Over the years, our lab has focused on characterization of key transcriptional/epigenetic networks and their emerging crosstalk with DNA damage repair (DDR) mechanisms critical for leukemia development (Kwok et al., 2006, Cancer Cell; Zeisig et al., 2007, Cancer Cell; Cheung et al., 2007, Nat Cell Biology; Arteaga et al., 2013, Cancer Cell; Esposito et al., 2015, Nature Medicine; Cheung et al., 2016, Cancer Cell; Luo et al., 2019, Cancer Cell; Zeisig et al., 2021 Science Translational Medicine, Luo et al., 2022, Molecular Cell). Details about the lab can be found at   https://www.kcl.ac.uk/research/leukaemia-and-stem-cell-biology. The candidate will lead projects aiming to characterize novel crosstalk between DDR, replication stress, transcription-replication conflicts, and epigenetic mechanisms in establishment and treatment of leukemia.  The initial contract is for 3 years but is renewable subject to the progress of the projects.  Candidates are expected to have strong background and relevant publications in areas of DDR, DNA replication, epigenetic gene regulation and/or cancer biology.

Key Objectives:

  1. To carry out cellular and molecular analysis to study epigenetic regulation in particular those involving PRMT1 and its crosstalk with DDR and replication stress during normal and leukaemia development.
  2. To introduce appropriate new techniques and procedures, ensuring that all new techniques and procedures techniques are adequately validated and documented and ensure that colleagues are trained in new techniques and procedures.
  3. To design and implement systems for laboratory information management (both electronic and manual) and archiving of analytical material.

This post will be offered on a fixed-term contract for 36 months, with possibility for renewal.

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

Key responsibilities

Analysis & Research

The post holder will:

  • routinely undertake a variety of complex and demanding computational analysis without supervision. These will include (this is not an exhaustive list):
  1. Biochemical purification of protein/transcriptional complexes
  2. Transcriptomic (e.g. RNA-seq) analysis.
  3. ChIP-Seq/Cut-and-Run Seq, ATEC-Seq, Bisupfite-Seq analysis
  4. Affinity purification of novel transcriptional complexes
  5. DNA Damage Response (DDR) and replication stress
  6. Mouse modeling
  7. Target and network identification
  • introduce appropriate new techniques and procedures, ensure that all new techniques and procedures techniques are adequately validated and documented and ensure that colleagues are trained in new techniques and procedures.
  • design and implement systems for laboratory information management (both electronic and manual) and archiving of analytical material.
  • develop original novel research projects based on thorough assessment of the published literature and the body of knowledge within their own speciality.

Team Work

The post holder will:

  • work with other lab members on a day-to-day basis according to the ever-changing needs of the Group as directed by the Head of the Leukaemia and Stem Cell Biology Group. This will require a commitment to a flexible and service-oriented / team-working approach
  • be trained in procedures as required by more senior and more experienced members of the Group
  • be able to train other junior lab members as required
  • develop and improve their own scientific knowledge and awareness of developments within the field of leukaemia stem cell biology via attendance of relevant meetings and conferences, both nationally and internationally.

Supervision, Communication & Networking

The post holder will:

  • organise and participate in departmental meetings and contribute to effective communication within the department relating to project development and project management.
  • present research work at national and international meetings
  • assist in grant application preparation, project justifications, business cases and project reports
  • prepare manuscripts for publication in peer reviewed academic journals
  • communicate in a timely fashion any adverse event or condition which will/may cause failure or disruption of the Group’s activities to the Head of the Leukaemia Stem Cell Biology Group
  • form effective networks with colleagues in other Groups of the department, with peers in King’s College London at large and outside of the college to assist the Head of the Leukaemia Stem Cell Biology Group to form and develop collaborative links
  • maintain professional conduct with all members of staff and visitors at all times.
  • communicate with suppliers for procurement of goods and services and in trouble-shooting problems with supplies and equipment.
  • assist and support PhD students in laboratory experiments

Decision Making, Planning and Problem Solving

The post holder will:

  • be accountable to the Head of Department
  • report to the Head of the Leukaemia and Stem Cell Biology Group for goal setting and prioritisation of workload
  • prioritise and plan own workload and communicate own work priorities within the team.
  • undertake complex laboratory tasks, including high-level problem solving, such as rectification of failures in laboratory equipment, with the no direct supervision

Service Delivery

The post holder will:

  • assist the Head of the Leukaemia and Stem Cell Biology Group in agreeing, defining and managing service standards

Sensory/Physical Demands & Work Environment

The post holder will:

  • adhere to the Departmental Code of Safe Working Practice at all times
  • assist the Head of the Leukaemia and Stem Cell Biology Group to maintain a safe working environment by acting as a Room Supervisor for one or more rooms within the Group’s facilities if and when directed by the Head of the Group
  • be required to work within the confined space of Biological/Microbiological Safety Cabinets and to carry out procedures that demand high levels of concentration for long periods of time

Pastoral Care

The post holder will:

  • mentor junior staff and students as directed by the Head of the Leukaemia and Stem Cell Biology

Skills, knowledge, and experience

  • Providing assistance on a day-to-day basis according to the ever-changing needs of the Group as directed by the Head of the Leukaemia and Stem Cell Biology Group. This will require a commitment to a very flexible and service-oriented / team-working approach
  • Be trained in procedures as required by more senior and experienced members of the Group
  • Assist with the training of new members of staff and students in the routine procedures of the Group
  • Develop and improve their own scientific knowledge and awareness of developments within the field of leukaemia stem cell biology via attendance of relevant meetings and conferences.

Essential criteria

1.       BSc Hons in a biomedical sciences subject or equivalent (eg medical degree)

2.       PhD in which investigations of epigenetic regulation/DDR/Biochemistry formed a substantial part

3.       A thorough knowledge of analyses on global transcription/epigenetic data sets/DDR

4.       A thorough knowledge of biochemical protein complex purification

5.       At least two relevant leading author publications in high impact journal

6.       Experience of general molecular biology and biochemistry procedures

7.       Experience in developing new assays and procedures

8.       Experience in writing, validating and following standard operating procedures

Desirable criteria

1.       Strong background in epigenetic gene study in particular PRMT

2.       Experience in affinity purification of protein complexes

3.       Experience of general cellular biology and immunology procedures

4.       Experience in studying mouse models

5.       Ability to assist and support PhD students and other postdocs when required

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.

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