Research Associate (ER-mitochondria signaling in dementia) in the Department of Basic & Clinical Neuroscience

Location: London, United Kingdom
Application Deadline: 11 December 2023.
Published: 3 weeks ago

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Applications are invited for a postdoctoral research associate to be based in the Department of Basic and Clinical Neuroscience and the Randall Centre for Cell and Molecular Biophysics at King’s College London.

The post is funded by the UK Medical Research Council for 3 years and will investigate the role of defective endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-mitochondria signaling in dementia and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). ER-mitochondria signaling and its role in dementia/ALS are highly topical areas of research and the grant holders have made major contributions to these fields.

The successful applicant will join a multi-disciplinary group that seeks to understand the mechanisms by which ER-mitochondria signaling is perturbed in dementia/ALS and how correcting damaged ER-mitochondria signaling might be therapeutic for these major diseases. The post will focus on how phosphorylation affects ER-mitochondria tethering and signaling, and how disruption to ER-mitochondria signaling affects key neuronal functions in dementia/ALS. Experience in cell and molecular biology approaches including advanced light microscopy, experimental manipulation of neurons and working with transgenic mouse models would be advantageous. Knowledge of defective signaling processes in dementia and related disorders will also be useful.

The successful applicant will join an established research group and will have access to state-of-the-art facilities in both King’s College and the King’s College Dementia Research Institute. For further information on our work see https://kclpure.kcl.ac.uk/en/persons/christopher-miller

This post will be offered on a full-time, fixed term contract until 29th October 2026.

Key responsibilities

  • To use Mass Spectrometry (MS) in collaboration with MS units to identify phosphorylation sites in ER-mitochondria tethering proteins.
  • To use cell, molecular and advanced microscopy approaches to understand the roles of this phosphorylation in binding of tethering proteins and ER-mitochondria signaling functions.
  • To generate antibodies to defined phosphorylation sites in tethering proteins and to use these to probe the roles of phosphorylation in dementia and ALS.
  • To determine how disruption of ER-mitochondria tethering affects key neuronal functions linked to dementia and ALS using transgenic mouse and cell biology approaches.
  • To conduct literature reviews and contribute to publications arising from this project.
  • Attend and as appropriate, present research findings and papers at internal and external academic meetings and external professional conferences, and to contribute to the internal and external visibility of the departments and group.

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 a relevant field (e.g. Biochemistry, Neuroscience or other medical science).

2.     Experience of cell and molecular biology methods including plasmid manipulation, mammalian cell culture, transfection and siRNAs, SDS-PAGE and immunoblotting.

3.     Experience in advanced light microscopy methods e.g. live cell imaging and proximity ligation assays.

4.     A strong track record of independent research as evidenced by published or accepted papers in peer-reviewed journals and/or poster presentations at scientific meetings.

5.     Proficient IT skills including MS Office, knowledge of statistical analysis of laboratory data, knowledge of Adobe CS programmes etc for preparation of data for internal and external presentations and publications.

Desirable criteria

1.     Experience of working with transgenic mice.

2.     Knowledge of neurodegenerative disease mechanisms and cell signaling.

3.     Highly developed organisational skills. Ability to work proactively and independently. Strong passion and commitment to science. Excellent communication and time management skills. Adaptable & flexible.

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

Shortlisted applicants will be invited to give a Powerpoint presentation of some of their recent research as part of the interview process.

This post is subject to an Occupational Health clearance.

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