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Department of Infectious & Tropical Diseases
Pathogen Molecular Biology Unit
Post Doctoral Scientist
We are seeking to appoint a Post-doctoral Scientist to work in a dynamic and
productive research laboratory with Professor Polly Roy. Professor Roy’s laboratory
is currently involved in various aspects of Bluetongue virus research, including
reverse genetics and transcription/replication processes.
The successful applicant should have a PhD in virology, with proven postdoctoral
research experience, experience of protein expression and purification, mammalian
RNA viruses and/or virus purification. Applicants should be highly motivated and able
to work both independently and in a team environment.
The post is available from 1 December 2009. Salary is from £30,639 to £35,194 per
annum, inclusive.
Applications should be made on-line via our website at The
reference for this post is PR17. Applications should also include a CV and the
names and email contacts of 2 referees who can be contacted immediately if
shortlisted. Closing date for the receipt of applications is 12 November 2009.
The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine is committed to being an equal
opportunities employer
The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine
The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine has an internationally excellent
reputation in public health and tropical medicine, is a leading postgraduate medical
Institution in Europe and is Britain’s national school of public health. The School was
ranked one of the top 3 research institutions in the country in the Times Higher
Education’s 'table of excellence', which is based on the 2008 Research Assessment
Exercise (RAE), ahead of the London School of Economics, Oxford, Imperial and
University College, London. The institution also achieved the largest increase in
ranking compared with 2001 of any of the top 10 institutions in the RAE rankings.
The School was awarded the 2009 annual Gates Award for Global Health, both the
first academic institution to win the award and the first British winner.
A special strength of the School’s research is its multi-disciplinary nature: leading
researchers have backgrounds in public health medicine, epidemiology, clinical
medicine, infectious diseases, chemotherapy, biochemistry, immunology, genetics,
molecular biology, entomology, statistics, demography, health economics, public
health engineering, medical anthropology, health promotion, environmental health
management, and health policy.
The mission of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine is to contribute to
the improvement of health world-wide through the pursuit of excellence in research,
postgraduate teaching and advanced training in national and international public
health and tropical medicine, and through informing policy and practice in these
Department of Infectious and Tropical Diseases
The Department of Infectious and Tropical Diseases encompasses all of the
laboratory-based research in the School as well as that on the clinical and
epidemiological aspects of infectious and tropical diseases. It is headed by Simon
Croft, who is Professor of Parasitology. The range of disciplines represented in the
department is very broad and inter-disciplinary research is a feature of much of our
activity. The spectrum of diseases studied is wide and there are major research
groups with a focus on malaria, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and other sexually
transmitted diseases, vaccine development and evaluation, and vector biology and
disease control. The Department is organised into four large research units
comprising: Pathogen Molecular Biology, Immunology, Disease Control and Vector
Biology, and Clinical Research. There is close interaction between scientists in
different research teams. The Department has strong overseas links, which provide a
basis for field studies and international collaborations in developed and developing
countries. The teaching programme includes MSc courses, taught in-house and by
distance learning, which are modular in structure, a variety of short-courses and an
active doctoral programme (PhD and DrPH).
Immunology Unit (Head: Professor Eleanor Riley)
Research in the Immunology Unit centres on analysis of the host response to
infection at the molecular, cellular and population levels. The goals are to develop a
greater understanding of basic mechanisms of immunological protection versus
pathology, and to apply this knowledge to the development of immunological
interventions and the identification of correlates of immune status. Our work involves
application of state-of-the-art cellular and molecular approaches to the in vitro
analysis of pathogen-host cell interactions, to in vivo studies in models and to the
study of immunity at the population level in disease endemic areas. Main areas of
research include the regulation of acute and chronic inflammation; macrophagepathogen interactions; cellular pharmacology; the production of cytokines during
innate and acquired immune responses; T-cell function and antigen recognition; the
mechanisms of immunopathology; the development of vaccines; and delivery
systems for vaccines and drugs.
Current research includes the role of acute phase proteins in resistance to infection,
homeostasis and inflammatory disease, mechanisms of macrophage activation,
control of cytokine synthesis and mammalian lectin interactions (J. Raynes);
intracellular trafficking and secretory pathways of cells of the immune system (T.
Ward); the role of innate responses in resistance to the bacterial pathogens,
Mycobacterium tuberculosis and Burkholderia pseudomallei, activity and regulation of
natural killer cells and their effect on macrophage activation and recruitment,
regulation of chemokine receptors during infection and granulomatous tissue
responses in the lung against Cryptococcus neoformans and Mycobacterium
tuberculosis (G. Bancroft); correlates of protection against tuberculosis and studies of
BCG vaccination, human CD8+ T-cell responses to mycobacterial antigens and
synthetic peptides, use of whole blood assays in immuno-epidemiology (H. Dockrell);
cytokine and chemokine responses to leprosy, cellular composition and effects of
steroids on skin and nerve lesions of reactional leprosy, identification of specific
peptides for immunodiagnosis of leprosy (S. Young); innate and adaptive immunity to
malaria including activation of natural killer cells, cytokine regulation in clinical
immunity and immunopathology, regulation of antibody production and
immunoglobulin class switching (E. Riley); transmission of Plasmodium falciparum
malaria including antibody responses to gametocyte-infected erythrocyte surface
antigens, effect of gamete antigen variability on transmission, gametocyte
sequestration and development and gametocyticidal drug therapy (C. Sutherland);
characterisation of protective immune mechanisms and defined antigens in
attenuated vaccine models of schistosomiasis (Q. Bickle); impact of concomitant
viral, bacterial, protozoal and helminth infections on induction of immune responses
and immunopathology and T cell regulation and induction of mucosal immune
responses during intestinal nematode infections (H. Helmby); the identification and
evaluation of novel drugs and drug delivery systems for leishmaniasis,
trypanosomiasis and malaria, interaction between antiprotozoal drugs and the
immune response (L. Vivas, V. Yardley)
Pathogen Molecular Biology Unit (Head: Professor Brendan Wren)
Research in the PMB Unit focuses on the molecular biology and genetics of
pathogens and their hosts in the context of improving the understanding and control
of infectious diseases. Aspects of pathogen biology of interest include: (i) determining
the mechanisms of infection of globally important viral, bacterial and parasitic
pathogens; (ii) deciphering the genetic diversity of selected disease agents in natural
populations and to determine its epidemiological impact, (iii) studying immune
evasion mechanisms of particular disease agents, (iv) exploiting parasitic, bacterial
and viral pathogens as model biological systems and (v) developing practical
applications including improved diagnostic tests and the identification and
characterisation of vaccine candidates and drug targets.
PMBU currently has funding to investigate, amongst others, the malaria parasite
(Plasmodium spp), Chagas disease (Trypanosoma cruzi), African sleeping sickness
(Trypanosoma brucei), amoebic dysentery (Entamoeba), the Leishmania species,
bacterial food borne pathogens (Campylobacter jejuni and Yersinia enterocolitica),
gastric ulcers/cancer (Helicobacter pylori), pseudomembranous colitis (Clostridium
difficile), plague (Yersinia pestis), paddy field melioidosis (Burkholderia
pseudomallei), Tuberculosis (Mycobacterium tuberculosis), Pneumonia
(Streptococcus pneumoniae), Bluetongue viral disease of livestock, Herpesviridae,
SARS, the hemorrhagic fever virus (RVFV) and the enteric rotavirus that cause
significant diarrhoeal disease in infants developing countries.
The long-term aim of PMBU research is to gain a fully rounded understanding of the
complex and dynamic ways by which pathogens modulate virulence and interact with
the human host. Such a holistic approach will vastly increase the scope for the
rational of design of long-term intervention strategies to reduce the burden of
infectious disease. In recent years such a mission has been significantly enhanced
by the availability of whole genome sequences. Members of the Unit are, or have
been, involved in several pathogen genome projects including Herpes,
Campylobacter jejuni, Yersinia pestis, Clostridium difficile, Entamoeba and
Trypanosome species. In particular, post genome studies have facilitated research
on more complex parasites such as Plasmodium, Entamoeba and Trypanosome
species. The interpretation and exploitation of this basic information is the platform
for numerous new avenues of research on pathogenesis, epidemiology and the
evolution of virulence.
Clinical Research Unit (Head: Dr Alison Grant)
The Clinical Research Unit addresses infectious diseases of major public health
importance in developing countries. Activities include trials of new therapies,
vaccines and educational interventions; the development of new diagnostic tests;
studies to elucidate the immunological and molecular correlates of pathogenesis and
protective immunity, and to identify genetic polymorphisms conferring protection or
susceptibility to infectious diseases; health services research which aims to identify
the most efficient and cost-effective way to deliver health care; and health policy
analysis. In addition to our many overseas collaborations, we have close links with
the Hospital for Tropical Diseases, in new, purpose-built accommodation on the main
UCL Hospital campus, five minutes walk from the School. The Wellcome Trust
Bloomsbury Centre for Clinical Tropical Medicine is based in the Unit, and currently
supports five Clinical Training Fellows and two Career Development Fellows, most of
whom are based overseas.
Much of the Unit's research concerns HIV and related infections; in particular, the
interaction between HIV infection and other sexually transmitted diseases, and
between HIV infection and tuberculosis. We have longstanding and fruitful
collaborations addressing these issues in Tanzania, Zambia, Uganda and South
Africa. Brian Greenwood FRS is leading an initiative to strengthen malaria research
in the School through new collaborative links in Africa. Research and teaching on
blinding diseases in developing countries has been greatly strengthened by the
recruitment of Allen Foster, who is Medical Director of CBM International, an NGO
with programmes for the prevention of blindness and disability in over 100 countries;
our research on trachoma has played an important part in framing the strategies
adopted by the WHO and the new International Trachoma Initiative for the elimination
of blinding trachoma by the year 2020.
Disease Control and Vector Biology Unit (Head: Dr Nigel Hill)
This multidisciplinary Unit includes epidemiologists, entomologists, anthropologists
and social scientists, clinical scientists, public health engineers, and geographers.
This range of expertise provides us with a battery of tools for focusing on the control
of diseases that are insect-borne, water-borne or associated with poor hygiene –
mostly in developing countries. Much of the research can be categorised as:
evaluating disease control interventions; investigating implementation strategies -
including working with the private sector; understanding the factors underlying
household behaviour in relation to family health; or determining how control
resources can be targeted most efficiently. Particular attention is paid to research
directed at current health policy issues, including the gap between policy and
practice. The DFID Resource Centre for Water and Environmental Health (WELL)
and the Hygiene Centre make up the Unit's Environmental Health Group, which plays
a leadership role in research and operational support for hygiene promotion, water
supply and sanitation. The Unit also houses the largest research group in LSHTM
working on malaria control, including the DIFD Team for Applied Research to
Generate Effective Tools and Strategies for communicable disease control
(TARGETs) and many staff in the Gates Malaria Partnership. The Unit’s valuable
mosquito colonies are used for testing repellent products and insecticides in the
laboratory. The Unit also includes a major grouping of researchers using spatial
analysis in public health.
The School offers 22 one year full-time taught courses leading to the Master of
Science (MSc) degree of the University of London and the Diploma of the London
School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (DLSHTM). The Department of Infectious
and Tropical Diseases runs or contributes substantially to ten of these courses and
the “Immunology of Infectious Diseases” course is run from within the Immunology
Unit. In addition, the Department is responsible for the three-month Diploma in
Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (DTM&H) and offers a range of specialist short
courses lasting usually one or two weeks. Three MSc courses are also offered by
Distance-based Learning, including one on Infectious Diseases.
Research Training
The School offers two doctoral training programmes. The MPhil/PhD degrees are
designed for those who wish to go on to a full time research career. The DrPH is
directed towards those who expect their careers to be more in the practice of public
Post-doctoral Scientist
Responsible to:
Professor Polly Roy
Infectious and Tropical Diseases
Start date:
1 December 2009
Main duties and responsibilities:
 To contribute to the research of the virology group led by Professor Polly Roy,
currently on various aspects of double-stranded RNA virus research including
genome packaging, reverse genetics, transcription/replication processes, viral
packaging, virus assembly mechanisms, virus entry receptors, virus-host
interactions and protein crystallisation and development of novel vaccines.
 To be responsible for setting up experimental systems, as required, offering the
opportunity to show a degree of innovation and creative problem-solving.
 To demonstrate appropriate conduct for a research worker including co-operating
with others in the laboratory, sharing communal tasks, showing a responsible
attitude to safety issues and contributing to the academic life of the Unit,
Department and School.
PhD or equivalent qualification in Virology
Proven post-doctoral technical experience in molecular virology, molecular
biology or biochemistry
Experience in mammalian RNA viruses, RNA packaging and RNA-protein
Analytical and problem solving abilities
Ability to work independently and as part of a team - good interpersonal skills
Experience with baculovirus expression system including protein and particle
Experience with genome packaging, virus entry receptors and reverse genetics
Experience with animal viruses
Computing skills, particular using the www, Word, Excel, Powerpoint
The post is for a period of 2 years and is available from 1 December 2009 to 30
November 2011. Salary is on the Academic Pathway Grade 5, Research Assistant
salary scale from £30,639 to £35,194 per annum (inclusive). Annual leave
entitlement is 30 working days per year for all staff (pro-rata for part-time staff). In
addition to this there are 6 fixed-date "Director's Days".
We encourage you to apply for this post online at our website
The reference for this post will be PR17. Online applications will be accepted by the
automated system until midnight on 12 November 2009.
If you are unable to apply online, please contact us at [email protected] or telephone
0207 927 2173.
The supporting statement section should set out how your qualifications, experience
and training meet each of the selection criteria. Please provide one or more
paragraphs addressing each criterion. The supporting statement is an essential part
of the selection process and thus a failure to provide this information will mean that
the application will not be considered. An answer to any of the criteria such as
“Please see attached CV” will not be considered acceptable.
It is hoped that interviews will be held in the week commencing 23 November 2009.
Please note that if you are shortlisted and are unable to attend on the interview date
it may not be possible to offer you an alternative date.
The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine is committed to being an equal
opportunities employer.