3 Specialist Covid Researcher positions reporting to the Crick Covid Surveillance Unit Manager
This is a full-time 3-year fixed term position on Crick terms and conditions of employment.
The High Throughput Screening (HTS) facility is one of the core technology platforms available to all researchers at the Crick and enables the use of large-scale screening techniques as part of their research. The Worldwide Influenza Centre (WIC) at the Crick is one of six centres in the world responsible for analysing influenza viruses circulating in the human population, overseen by the World Health Organisation (WHO). Together, the WIC and HTS have created and are running, a high throughput live-virus antibody neutralisation assay to measure the ability of patient serum to prevent cell infection by SARS-CoV-2 across thousands of samples simultaneously. This unique neutralisation assay platform is essential to many ongoing research studies, for example those assessing the likely impact of Variants of Concern on current vaccinated populations. As such, this platform is of enormous current significance and produces data of international importance (see references)
In order to ensure the continuous delivery of this vital data, we are looking to consolidate expertise into a dedicated team, the Crick Covid Surveillance Unit. We are looking for three positions to create this group. The group will be responsible for running the current pipeline and we would expect each team member to either be capable of, or be willing to learn, all aspects of the pipeline to create a dynamic and fluid team. Much of the necessary equipment is in place and the team will also have access to bioinformatic and IT support as well as access to all of the other core facilities at the Crick. The team will also need to horizon scan in the development of future assay platforms by interacting with Crick researchers and maintain up to date knowledge of high-throughput technologies and machinery. The important and time-sensitive requirements of these activities means that although the team will be directed by WIC and HTS, it will largely need to be self-organising and capable of problem solving on the fly. This is an opportunity to use your technical skills in a clinically vital enterprise and shape its development with your knowledge and expertise within one of the largest research institutes in Europe.
These include but are not limited to;
- Ensuring the smooth operation of the neutralisation assay pipeline by conducting assays to the highest standards, liaising with all interested parties and ensuring clear communication between sample providers and data consumers
- Managing workflow and ensuring Neutralisation data is generated in a timely manner agreed with end users. The team must be adaptable and flexible in order to quickly adjust ongoing scheduled work to accommodate the unexpected.
- Isolation, propagation and genetic and molecular characterisation of newly emerging and reference SARS-CoV-2 viruses
- Developing and enforcing robust QC measures for the pipeline
- Improving the assay for throughput and data content.
- Individuals of the team must be highly motivated to keep up to date with literature on emerging variants SARS-CoV-2 and to communicate with other technology platforms at the CRICK to develop an arsenal of tools in order to be ready for fast response to emerging questions surrounding the pandemic
- The team should be active in disseminating the technical experience gained both within the institute and wider scientific community
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:
- Extensive direct experience in using cell-based assays, tissue culture and immunofluorescence-staining techniques
- Demonstrable experience of high containment (CL3+) work or previous experience in working with respiratory viruses is highly desirable
- Previous direct experience of HTS screening campaigns in either Pharma or academia
- Experience with high throughput screening techniques and associated machinery particularly automated microscope and HCA would be extremely advantageous
- Practical experience with a wide range of molecular and cell biology techniques
- Excellent organisation and communication skills
- Self-motivated and problem solving with the ability to work both independently and as part of a team toward a common goal
- Post-doctoral research experience or extensive relevant experience in Pharma a distinct advantage
- Demonstrable organisational skills and attention to detail, with the ability to prioritise own workload.
- Experience of working in a laboratory within the WHO GISRS, or equivalent
- Excellent inter-personal skills and a willingness to learn new skills
- Previous experience of service provision preferred
Carr et al. Neutralising antibodies after COVID-19 vaccination in UK haemodialysis patients. The Lancet. 2021.
Faulkner et al. Reduced antibody cross-reactivity following infection with B.1.1.7 than with parental SARS-CoV-2 strains. Elife. 2021;10.
Fendler et al. Functional antibody and T cell immunity following SARS-CoV-2 infection, including by variants of concern, in patients with cancer: the CAPTURE study. Nature Cancer. 2021.
Fendler et al. Adaptive immunity and neutralizing antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern following vaccination in patients with cancer: the CAPTURE study. Nature Cancer. 2021.
Wall et al. AZD1222-induced neutralising antibody activity against SARS-CoV-2 Delta VOC. The Lancet. 2021.
Wall et al. Neutralising antibody activity against SARS-CoV-2 VOCs B.1.617.2 and B.1.351 by BNT162b2 vaccination. The Lancet. 2021.