Zebrafish Advanced Animal Technologist

Location: London, United Kingdom
Application Deadline: 14 December 2023.
Published: 3 weeks ago

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Biological Services provide facilities, services, and advice for all research scientists within King’s College London who need to carry out research using animals. Such work is ethically reviewed, carefully regulated, and kept to a minimum within the overall objectives of advancing knowledge in biomedical research. Alternatives to research involving animals are always used where possible.  The post holder will work as part of a dedicated team, alongside skilled professionals committed to finding new cures for major diseases.  They will support the unit management in the smooth running of the facility, engendering a culture of care within the unit and providing an excellent level of service in support of scientific research at King’s.  Key responsibilities will include the maintenance, care, and welfare of animals, ensuring compliance with Home Office regulations and the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986, as well as liaising with academic and research staff that use the facility, to ensure that appropriate services are offered and to assist in the provision of those services. The post holder will be responsible for the supervision of trainee and animal technicians in the absence of senior unit management and will need a flexible approach to work and be able to work independently and under supervision, as required, following appropriate training. The individual must be willing to make use of IT systems to ensure accurate record keeping.

This post will be offered on an indefinite contract.

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

Key responsibilities

  • Provide an excellent level of service to support scientific research.
  • Communicate with the Facility Manager and Technical Manager on matters relating to the smooth running of the facility and ensure the facility is maintained in accordance with Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 and health & safety regulations.
  • In conjunction with the Facility Manager and Technical Manager, manage the assigned facility including the supervision of staff and management of the facilities of the facility.
  • Liaise with academic and research staff that use the facility to ensure that appropriate services are offered, and to assist in the provision of those services.
  • In the absence of the Facility Manager and Technical Manager, be expected to communicate relevant issues to the Establishment Licence Holder, Named Veterinary Surgeon and Home Office Inspector.
  • In the absence of the Facility Manager and Technical Manager, to actively participate in the local Animal Welfare and Ethical Review Board (AWERB) and Facility User Groups.
  • Be able to identify ill health or abnormal behaviour and biosecurity problems, communicating clearly in the appropriate language to licensees, recording as appropriate and to the Named Veterinary Surgeon.
  • Be expected to maintain high standards of performance.
  • Ensure the facility operates in an efficient and dynamic manner, prioritising tasks allocated to technical staff so they can carry out and complete their duties as effectively and as efficiently as possible.
  • Be responsible for ensuring all husbandry duties are carried out while following the relevant SOPs and rota.
  • Provide information to the facility management so that decisions can be made on related matters, including legislative issues covered by the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act and associated Codes of Practice, health and safety etc.
  • Alert the facility management to any issues that could impact on animal welfare or matters outside of their remit.
  • Be required to attend the facility in the event of an out of hours emergency, taking appropriate action as the role holder sees fit.
  • In the absence of the Facility Manager and Technical Manager, be expected to run the facility on a day-to-day basis and be the main contact for the research teams using the facility.
  • Always ensure the highest standards of animal welfare, including out of normal hours, while projecting the ethical principles of the 3Rs (Reduction, Refinement and Replacement).
  • Take an active part in animal husbandry and experimental procedures.
  • Liaise directly with facility stakeholders, such as researchers or technical staff from other departments who have animals within the facility.
  • Be able to answer questions raised by the Home Office Inspector on their unannounced visits; a deep understanding of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act and current project licences is therefore required.
  • May be expected to train Biological Services staff and researchers in a number of procedures
  • May be expected to perform experimental procedures, including surgery, and liaise with the personal and project licence holders as required.
  • In conjunction with the Facility Manager and Technical Manager, be expected to delegate other technical staff to assist licensees as required.
  • Ensure that accurate records, both written and electronic, are made and when performing licensed procedures under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986.
  • Be able to interpret the implication of draft project licences, especially the Category E Section, on both the animal and the facility.
  • Analyse requests from research staff for the breeding and provision of zebrafish to ensure experiments can be carried out efficiently. This may involve devising complex breeding strategies.  In conjunction with the Facility Manager and Technical Manager, the role holder would be expected to be responsible for the supervision of the technical staff in their facility and to play a full role in their training, particularly in relation to experimental procedures.
  • Actively participate in formal and informal meetings and briefings of the facility staff.
  • Advise researchers accordingly where they may have more experience of basic animal handling techniques and experimental procedures than some of those who may use the unit.
  • Hold a personal licence under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 and be able to carry out procedures on animals such as fin clipping, taking blood, injection of substances, surgical etc. Balancing the needs of the research versus the allowed adverse effects under the various severity bandings under the project licences can be demanding.
  • Be required to ensure that when euthanasia is required, it is carried out as humanely as possible while conforming to Home Office Guidelines and experimental requirements.
  • Be trained in health and safety aspects and be aware of issues such as laboratory animal allergens (LAA), using electrical equipment in a wet environment, correct method of lifting, control of hazardous chemicals, correct disposal of clinical waste etc.
  • The role holder should be sensitive towards all animal care staff, some of whom will be inexperienced in animal technology and possibly in a workplace situation. This support is especially critical when dealing with aspects involving experimental procedures and euthanasia.

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. In depth knowledge of Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act.
  2. Knowledge of Health & Safety legislation.
  3. Qualification in animal technology to MIAT/level 3.  An equivalent qualification or experience may be considered.
  4. Experience of breeding techniques, anaesthesia, euthanasia, removal of body fluids, etc.
  5. Understanding of the principles and methods of biosecurity and containment.
  6. Significant experience of working in a biological services facility.
  7. Ability to work under pressure in a busy and demanding environment
  8. Willingness to work in any unit on any campus as directed.
  9. Ability to train and supervise junior staff.
  10. Comprehensive computer skills
  11. Commitment to a career in animal technology.
  12. Commitment to continuing professional development (CPD).

Desirable criteria

  1. Degree in biological or related subject.
  2. Registered Animal Technologist (RAnTech) or similar professional registration.
  3. Training in supervisory management skills.
  4. Experience of staff supervision and management.
  5. Experimental procedures experience on cryopreservation

Further information

This post is subject to Occupational Health clearance.

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