Research Associate (Gene Therapy)

Vacancy Reference Number
Closing Date
22 Nov 2023
£42,405 - £48,463 per annum, including London Weighting Allowance
King's College London, Denmark Hill Campus
This post will be offered on a full-time, fixed term contract until 31st December 2024.

Dementia is the greatest health challenge of our century.

To date there is no way to prevent it or even slow its progression, and there is an urgent need to fill the knowledge gap in our basic understanding of the diseases that cause it.

The UK Dementia Research Institute (UK DRI) is the biggest UK initiative driving forward research to fill this gap.

Researchers at the UK Dementia Research Institute at King's College London are using innovative approaches to explore the biological mechanisms involved in neurodegenerative diseases. Their goal is to defeat dementia by uncovering vital new knowledge that will lead to the design of smarter diagnostics and effective treatments. The team aims to understand the fundamental biological processes involved in dementia at a molecular level - and to use that knowledge to design new ways to diagnose and treat disease more precisely.

The successful candidate will be part of a team testing viral vector gene therapy reagents aimed at treating amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and fronto-temporal dementia (FTD) on a commercially funded project.  

The aim of the project is to optimise the dose and delivery of gene supplement and knock-down vectors in cellular and animal models of disease as proof of concept and efficacy for potential clinical application. Working with Professor Shaw the candidate will join a team of technicians and post-doctoral scientists analysing cells and tissues transduced with plasmid and vector constructs and quantify the effects on target gene expression. For in vivo work the candidate will perform stereotactic surgery to inject viral vectors into the brain and spinal cord of rodents. They will perform behavioural testing on these animals as defined by the protocol and sacrifice and harvest selected tissues after an appropriate interval. They will prepare tissues for histological sectioning, staining, imaging and quantitative analyses. 

All experiments will be undertaken at a very high standard and all data treated with complete confidentiality.

The candidate will join a research group based within the UK Dementia Research Institute (DRI) centre that is embedded within the Department of Basic and Clinical Neuroscience at King’s College London ( within the Maurice Wohl Clinical Neuroscience Institute on the Denmark Hill campus. The DRI is a national consortium focused on cutting-edge dementia research funded by the Medical Research Council, Alzheimer’s Society and Alzheimer’s Research UK (

Key responsibilities

  • Perform laboratory work to optimise the efficiency of our preclinical studies. 
  • Contribute to the planning and execution of in vivo experiments by writing study design protocols and experimental sub reports.
  • Deliver high-quality data from our preclinical studies including: 
  • Undertake mouse colony care (pups, juvenile and adults), breeding and genotyping, 
  • Undertake stereotactic surgery on the brain and spinal cord of mice,
  • Undertake mouse behavioural studies (mainly motor deficit phenotyping), 
  • Optimise perfusion, harvesting, fixation and sectioning of animal tissues,
  • Image tissues using slide scanning and confocal microscopes,
  • Undertake image analysis using advanced analytical software tools.

The above list of responsibilities may not be exhaustive, and the post holder will be required to undertake such tasks and responsibilities as may reasonably be expected within the scope and grading of the post. 

Person specification

Essential criteria 

  • PhD in Neuroscience or equivalent biological field
  • Hold a Home Office Personal Animal License
  • Experience in stereotactic neurosurgery (rodent model)
  • Experience in rodent colony maintenance and genotyping
  • Expertise in animal tissue processing and immunohistochemistry
  • Experience in microscopy
  • Ability to work independently and within a team
  • Administrative skills for careful record keeping 
  • Conscientious and organised
  • Ability to time manage appropriately 
  • Willing to work occasionally during weekends and bank holidays
  • Willing to prepare manuscripts for publication

Desirable criteria

  • Knowledge of adeno associated viral (AAV) vector gene therapy
  • Experience of handling viral gene vectors
  • Experience in animal behaviour phenotyping (rotarod, grip test, open-field)

This post is subject to an Occupational Health clearance.

Further Information

To apply, please visit:

Contact Details

For informal enquiries, please contact Professor Christopher Shaw <>