Research Associate in Preclinical Development of Ultrasound-Mediated Pediatric Brain Tumors at KINGS COLLEGE LONDON

job description

We are looking for an enthusiastic postdoctoral research associate to lead a preclinical project on the treatment of pediatric brain tumors with ultrasound using heat-sensitive drug-loaded liposomes.

The successful candidate will have a good understanding of therapeutic ultrasound, targeted drug delivery systems or live imaging techniques, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and near-infrared fluorescence (NIRF)/luminescence imaging. The position involves delivering drug-loaded liposomes into the brains of mouse models of pediatric tumors. Focused ultrasound and circulating microbubbles will be used to non-invasively disrupt the blood-brain barrier in a localized and reversible manner, followed by targeted drug release by mild hyperthermia. The candidate will develop ultrasound techniques to passively monitor treatments in real time and perform live experiments aimed at the non-invasive treatment of diffuse midline glioma (DMG). They will also develop acoustic holography techniques for personalized brain tumor treatments. The end goal will be to encapsulate several DMG-related drugs targeting different molecular targets and deliver them into the DMG using focused ultrasound.

The post holder will join an exciting pre-clinical project in the heart of London, funded by the Little Princess Trust. The project is highly translational and its results will be used for the design of future clinical trials. The project will be based in the Department of Surgical and Interventional Engineering, within the School of Biomedical Engineering and Imaging Sciences, King’s College London. Ultrasound and MRI experiments will be conducted at St Thomas’ Hospital. The chemical synthesis and characterization of the liposomes will be carried out at the Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, King’s College London, under the supervision of Dr. Maya Thanou.

This position will be offered on a 3-year fixed-term contract (end date September 30, 2025).

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

Main responsibilities

• Develop ultrasound methods to monitor drug delivery and release in the brain

• Perform live experiments for the targeted delivery of liposomes into the brains of wild-type and tumor-bearing mice

• Confirm drug delivery and release using advanced imaging methods (eg, MRI and NIRF/luminescence imaging)

• Develop acoustic holograms for personalized treatment

• Analyze brain tissue to measure drug delivery doses

• Analyze data and interpret results for publications and conference presentations

• Lead or contribute to the dissemination of research through high-impact publications and public engagement activities

• Collaborate with existing faculty and project partners on areas of research interest.

• Supervise PhD students and MSc/BSc students in relevant projects

The above list of responsibilities may not be exhaustive and the post holder will be required to undertake the duties and responsibilities reasonably expected within the scope and classification of the post.

Skills, knowledge and experience

Essential criteria

1. PhD in a field related to therapeutic ultrasound, drug delivery systems or MRI

2. BSc/MSc degree in relevant discipline (Biomedical Engineering, Physics, Engineering, Chemistry, Pharmacology)

3. Programming skills

4. Excellent verbal and written communication skills

5. Experience in disseminating scientific results in scientific publications and conferences

6. Problem Solving Skills

7. Ability to work on own initiative and in a team

Desirable criteria

8. Experience in designing and conducting in vitro and in vivo experiments

9. Knowledge of ultrasound hardware and software

10. Knowledge of signal processing and imaging concepts

Please note that this is a PhD level position, however applicants who have submitted their thesis and are awaiting their PhD will be considered. In these circumstances, the appointment will be in 5th year, spine 30 with the title of research assistant. Upon confirmation of the PhD award, the job title will change to Research Associate and the salary will increase to Grade 6.

More information

Please contact the Senior Supervisor (Dr Antonios Pouliopoulos) for informal discussions prior to applying for this position.

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