Research Associate at UCL

Posted: 02 22, 2017


Job Title:                     Research Associate

Centre:                        Division of Infection & Immunity

Responsible to:           Professor Arne Akbar 

Salary:                        Grade 7, (£34,056 – £41,163) per annum inclusive of London Allowance 

Note: Appointment at Grade 7 is dependent upon having been awarded a PhD; If this is not the case, initial appointment will be at Grade 6B (salary £29,809 – £31,432 per annum) with payment at Grade 7 being backdated to the date of final submission of the PhD thesis)

Location:                     Rayne Building, UCL Bloomsbury Campus

Leave Entitlement:      27 days per annum plus College Closure days and Bank Holidays

Duration:                     This post is funded for 8 months. 

General Introduction

A Research Associate position is available, funded by the Medical Research Council Experimental Medicine Grant awarded to Professor Akbar, in UCL’s Division of Infection and Immunity (Bloomsbury campus, Rayne Institute). Work within the Division of Infection & Immunity aims to translate advances in the understanding of the immune system and its interaction with pathogens into improved diagnosis and therapy.

UCL has been graded one of the top five universities worldwide by the QS (world university rankings 2013). The Division of Infection and Immunity provides an effective infrastructure for molecular/cellular immunology/pathogen research and a lively and sociable environment, always striving for excellence. 

Information about the Research Project and Lab

The successful candidate will join a dynamic group of basic and clinical scientists all working on integrated aspects of immunosenescence; the reduction in immune function with advancing age. The main focus of the Akbar lab is the study of effects of ageing on the human immune system. By identifying changes in immune function and the mechanisms behind these alterations the research group aims to accelerate the development of new immune enhancing therapies for older adults. Akbar group has developed and validated a new model for the study of a human memory T cell response in vivo and is currently using this model to investigate the causes for defective secondary responses to antigen injection in the skin of older humans. A recent paper for the Akbar group that was published in Nature Immunology  identified how a family of molecules celled the sestrins  inhibited immunity during ageing in both humans and mice. Furthermore, sestrin inhibition enhanced vaccine responses in old mice ( Prof Akbar has a wide range of leading national and international collaborators with whom members of his group interact with frequently. For further details of the lab see:

The post-holder will further  investigate how sestrins regulate human immune responses both in vitro, and in the skin after antigen challenge in vivo. This study will increase the platform of knowledge on the regulation of T cell dysfunction during human ageing. The Akbar group is at the forefront of such studies worldwide. These studies have the potential to identify ways to enhance the immunity of older humans to vaccination and to improve anti-tumour therapy.


Principal Duties & Responsibilities

The post holder will provide specialist technical expertise that is essential for the performance of these studies. They will manage collection of blood samples and the sample processing and to isolate and test the function and signaling pathway activation of T cells before and after sestrin and inhibitory receptor blockade.



The following is a list of essential and desirable requirements needed in order to do the job.

Applicants will be shortlisted solely on the extent to which they meet these requirements.






Knowledge and Experience

  • PhD (or equivalent experience) or be about to submit a PhD in a relevant subject.
  • Highly trained in sterile cell culture and multiparameter flow cytometry
  • Extensive experience in T cell subset isolation
  • Expertise in lentiviral transduction of human T cells
  • Advanced molecular biology skills
  • Ability to manage and maintain shared databases












  • Excellent oral & written communication skills
  • Ability to keep accurate and detailed written records
  • Ability to deal pleasantly & effectively with a wide range of people





Teamwork and Motivation

  • Willingness and ability to work as part of a team



Liaison and Networking

  • Willingness and ability to exchange information with team members, internal and external contacts
  • Coordinate sample collection and processing with other team members




Service Delivery

  • Ability to react effectively to requests from the Team Leader and other colleagues
  • A willingness to learn a variety of practical techniques and the ability to apply them in any given project.





Planning and Organising Resources

  • Ability to organise and prioritise work
  • Ability to work safely and effectively with varied degrees of supervision





Initiative and Problem Solving

  • Ability to use initiative
  • Ability to resolve operational difficulties





  • Commitment to UCL’s policies including Equal Opportunities and Race Equality policies
  • Maintain an awareness and observation of Fire and Health & Safety Regulations






E = Essential

D = Desirable



The post holder will be required to have the following expertise:

The successful candidate will be an expert on multi-parameter extracellular and intracellular flow cytometry, cell culture, antigen-specific techniques, T cells transduction, immune precipitation and Western Blot analyses.

Possess cutting-edge expertise in the assessment of T cell function and differentiation such as phospho-flow cytometry and long term tissue culture.

Knowledge of how to manipulate T cells using specific small molecule inhibitors, transduction of T cells with lentiviral vectors containing shRNA, trasnsfection of cells with siRNA and antibodies to the inhibitory receptors or their ligands.

Analyse data and produce results in figures and tabular form.

Maintain an accurate lab book and file their data in a form accessible to other members of the lab

Maintain accurate and up-to-date liquid nitrogen/freezer storage and shared database records for participants.

To maintain awareness of health and safety regulations; to make sure all risk assessments are up-to-date and to ensure that all codes of practice are being followed.

To actively follow UCL policies including Equal Opportunities and Race Equality policies

Due the nature of scientific work, and in particular work with participant samples, be willing to work outside normal working hours in order to complete an experiment as is necessary.

To Apply:

Informal Enquiries: Please contact Isabel Lubeiro by email at

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