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Post-Doctoral Research Associate (Senior Scientist) in Emerging Pathogen Immunology/Serology

UK Health Security Agency
SP4 0JG, Salisbury
£37,056 - £42,481
Closing date
1 Oct 2023

View more

Life Science
Job Type
Employment - Hours
Full time

At the United Kingdom Health Security Agency (UKHSA) our mission is to provide health security for the nation by protecting from infectious disease and external hazards.  We are a trusted source of advice to government and to the public, focusing on reducing inequalities in the way different communities experience and are impacted by infectious disease, environmental hazards, and other threats to health.

The Emerging Pathogen Serology group sits within the Vaccine Development, Evaluation, and preparedness Centre (VDEC) Division of UKHSA Porton. The group was established to function as a high throughput SARS CoV-2 serosurveillance service during the COVID-19 pandemic, where it supported more than 60 different research projects, clinical trials and serosurveillance studies, resulting in over 50 publications. Since its inception, the lab has performed ~1.3 million serology tests, with expansion into different emerging pathogens to support and respond to the recent incidents such as Lassa Fever, Mpox, and H5N1. Much of our work now focusses on immunological assay development, understanding immune responses (humoral/cellular) to emerging pathogens, population-level serosurveillance, and informing vaccine and therapeutic design/policy.


Our group is now recruiting a permanent post-doctoral research associate (senior research scientist) based at UKHSA Porton Down. This role would suit a candidate with diverse experience in serology/immunology assay research and development for infectious diseases.


Informal enquiries can be made to Dr Ash Otter (, however, no applications will be accepted via email and must be submitted through the CivilService Jobs link.

The job holder will be required to carry out the following responsibilities, activities and duties:

  • Lead on external and internally funded laboratory research, along with the development of independent research projects
  • Perform serology testing for internal/external research projects, clinical trials or serosurveillance using a multitude of serology methods and platforms such as the Roche e801, MSD and Luminex systems
  • Lead on the development of new assays for emerging pathogens, with validation and implementation for routine use within the laboratory
  • Train junior members of staff in diverse research and diagnostic techniques
  • Support research that informs vaccine development, evaluation of vaccines and preparedness for emerging pathogens.
  • Perform a range of standard methods/assays/techniques in support of all activities associated with project(s), to ensure project deliverables are met on time and within budget
  • Support in external (e.g., UKRI) and internal funding applications to explore and undertake new areas of research around emerging pathogen immunology/serology
  • Build national and international collaborations with external partners in support of the laboratory through attendance at scientific conferences and workshops.
  • Liaise with external/internal collaborators about data, reports, and publications
  • Lead on scientific writing, e.g., manuscripts, internal reports, and policy documents
  • Line manage other junior members of the group and to support them with their research and project work

The duties/responsibilities listed above describe the post as it is at present and is not intended to be exhaustive. The Job holder is expected to accept reasonable alterations and additional tasks of a similar level that may be necessary.

It is important through your application and Statement of Suitability of 1000 words that you give evidence and examples of proven experience of the following criteria:


  • Degree or equivalent in biological sciences or related
  • Post-graduate degree (e.g., PhD or DPhil) in immunology, microbiology or related
  • Proven research laboratory experience within immunology/microbiology research working at post-doctoral level.
  • Prior experience in scientific writing e.g., publications, reports, conference presentations, and ethics or grant applications
  • Regularly keep up to date with scientific literature where applicable
  • Evidence of prior and ongoing publication record (including preprints)
  • Able to apply own knowledge and quickly synthesise from scientific literature in high-pressure and time-sensitive situations e.g., incident responses to new/emerging pathogens.
  • Prior experience of line management and leading of junior scientists within a large team
  • Developing collaborations with internal/external partners


  • Demonstrable history of individual research projects with collaborators
  • Prior experience of assay development
  • Proven research laboratory experience within immunology/microbiology research or diagnostic laboratories
  • Prior experience in working within a team involved in public health incident and responses.
  • Experience of supporting the appropriation of new equipment, consumables, and resources to support laboratory research and day-day operation.
  • Experience assisting junior staff development through supervision and training.
  • Previously obtained external funding for research projects

Expected Timeline:

Advert close: 23:55hrs on 1st October 2023 – unfortunately, late applications will not be considered. Once this job has closed, the job advert will no longer be available. You may want to save a copy for your records.

Interviews: w/c 16th October 2023

Please note these dates could be subject to change. 

Eligibility Criteria: Please see the CivilService jobs advert for further details on eligibility criteria and security clearance requirements


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