Post-Doctoral Research Scientist

Job summary

Imperial College London is a science-based institution with the greatest concentration of high-impact research of any major UK university. The Faculty of Engineering, consistently rated among the best in the world, is made up of 10 academic departments and is committed to increasing its research activity by focusing on engineering-led multidisciplinary growth areas that target a number of global challenges. All of our academic departments are...

Job listing information

  • Reference ENG00501
  • Date posted 31 August 2018
  • Closing date 30 September 2018

Job description

Job summary

Imperial College London is a science-based institution with the greatest concentration of high-impact research of any major UK university. The Faculty of Engineering, consistently rated among the best in the world, is made up of 10 academic departments and is committed to increasing its research activity by focusing on engineering-led multidisciplinary growth areas that target a number of global challenges. All of our academic departments are located on a single campus in South Kensington, giving a concentration of talent that creates a stimulating and vibrant research community. You can find out more about our staff benefits, including generous annual leave entitlements and our excellent professional development opportunities, here: http://www.imperial.ac.uk/job-applicants/staff-benefits/.

We are seeking a post-doc to develop and optimise our ultrasound delivery technology to noninvasively label the cerebral cortex with the calcium sensor GCaMP6s. The post-doc will also image neuronal activity through the skull with a two photon microscope.

Optogenetics – genetically modifying cells to make them light-sensitive, in order to observe and perturb physiological processes – has revolutionised systems neuroscience. However, current optogenetic techniques require either highly invasive procedures such as intracerebral infusion of viral constructs, or extensive transgenic breeding programmes. The development of non-, or less, invasive procedures for gene delivery into targeted brain regions would enhance scientific outcomes and improve prospects for long-term translation towards human therapeutic applications.

Focused ultrasound, which has been used successfully to deliver small molecule drugs across the blood-brain barrier (BBB), provides a new approach for non-invasive delivery of optogenetic constructs into targeted brain regions. To effectively deliver large molecular weight compounds such as adeno-associated viruses (AAVs) across the BBB, without inflammatory response in the brain, new pulse sequences must be devised. The development of a successful and highly reproducible protocol for non-invasive delivery of genetically encoded sensors such as GCaMP6 would allow in vivo calcium imaging experiments to be performed with no procedure more invasive than a standard tail vein injection.

Applicants should have either experience as a neuroscientist with a basic understanding of acoustics OR experience as an acoustician with a basic understanding of neuroscience. Applicants should have, or have nearly completed, a PhD (or equivalent) in neuroscience, engineering, physics or a related discipline. The post and project are funded by the BBSRC.

Duties and responsibilities

This is a challenging research project requiring the post-doctoral researcher to work with experts in both Neuroscience (Prof. Simon Schultz and the Neural Coding and Neurodegenerative Disease Laboratory) and Biomedical Acoustics (Dr. James Choi and the Noninvasive Surgery & Biopsy Laboratory). The successful applicant should be able to demonstrate an ability to work in both neuroscience and acoustics although we do not expect applicants to excel in both areas simultaneously. Applicants may also come from other related disciplines. We prefer candidates with an animal licence and who have demonstrated strong experimental skills.

Essential requirements

The candidate should have:

a PhD (or equivalent) in Neuroscience, Engineering, Physics, or a related discipline; or have demonstrated equivalent research, industrial or commercial experience
• Either have experience in neuroscience with knowledge of basic acoustics OR have experience with acoustics with knowledge of basic neuroscience.
• Willingness to work with experimental models
• Practical experience with experiments
• Practical experience within a research environment
• Knowledge of research methods and statistical procedures
• Ability to conduct a detailed review of recent literature
• Ability to develop and apply new concepts
• Ability to organise own work with minimal supervision
• Ability to prioritise own work in response to deadlines
• Advanced computer skills, including word-processing, spreadsheets and the Internet
• Willingness to work as part of a team and to be open-minded and cooperative
• Flexible attitude towards work
• Discipline and regard for confidentiality and security at all times
• Willingness to undertake any necessary training for the role

Further information

For further informal details on the project and laboratory, visit http://www.schultzlab.org and or contact Prof. Simon Schultz at s.schultz@imperial.ac.uk or Dr. James Choi at j.choi@imperial.ac.uk

Our preferred method of application is online via our website. Please click ‘apply’ below or go to http://www.imperial.ac.uk/jobs/ and enter the job title or vacancy reference number into search bar. Please complete and upload an application form as directed quoting reference number ENG00501. Further information is also available on the job description.

Any queries regarding the application process should be directed to Jo Adam at i.adam@imperial.ac.uk

Closing Date: 4 weeks from date of placement

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Committed to equality and valuing diversity. We are also an Athena SWAN Silver Award winner, a Stonewall Diversity Champion, a Disability Confident Employer, and are working in partnership with GIRES to promote respect for trans people

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About Imperial College London

Imperial College London is the UK’s only university focussed entirely on science, engineering, medicine and business and we are consistently rated in the top 10 universities in the world.

You will find our main London campus in South Kensington, with our hospital campuses located nearby in West and North London. We also have Silwood Park in Berkshire and state-of-the-art facilities in development at our major new campus in White City.

We work in a multidisciplinary and diverse community for education, research, translation and commercialisation, harnessing science and innovation to tackle the big global challenges our complex world faces.

It’s our mission to achieve enduring excellence in all that we do for the benefit of society – and we are looking for the most talented people to help us get there.

Additional information

Please note that job descriptions cannot be exhaustive and the post-holder may be required to undertake other duties, which are broadly in line with the above key responsibilities.

All Imperial employees are expected to follow the 7 principles of Imperial Expectations: 

  • Champion a positive approach to change and opportunity
  • Communicate regularly and effectively within, and across, teams
  • Consider the thoughts and expectations of others
  • Deliver positive outcomes
  • Encourage inclusive participation and eliminate discrimination
  • Develop and grow skills and expertise
  • Work in a planned and managed way 

In addition to the above, employees are required to observe and comply with all College policies and regulations.

Imperial College is committed to equality of opportunity, to eliminating discrimination and to creating an inclusive working environment. We are an Athena SWAN Silver award winner, a Stonewall Diversity Champion, a Disability Confident Employer and work in partnership with GIRES to promote respect for trans people.