Postdoctoral Fellow - Lung Biology / Lung Immunology

Postdoctoral Fellow - Lung Biology / Lung Immunology

Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI)

Dublin, Ireland

Title: Post-doctoral Fellow – Lung Biology/Lung Immunology

Department: Anaesthesia & Critical Care

Tenure: Full time, specified purpose contract for up to 2 years

Location: Beaumont Hospital

Reporting to: Professor Ger Curley, Head of Department of Anaesthesia

Salary: Up to point 6 of the Post-Doctoral Researcher (Level 2) scale – €42,603

The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) is a private, self-financing, not-for-profit medical and surgical college headquartered in Dublin (Ireland) with global reach through its overseas medical universities and health care centres in the Middle East, the Far East and Africa. Since its foundation in 1784, it has played a leadership role in Irish surgical and medical education. Currently, it operates the largest Medical School in Ireland and provides undergraduate education in Physiotherapy, Pharmacy, and Nursing. In addition to Surgery, it also provides postgraduate training and education in Radiology, Dentistry, Nursing & Midwifery, Sports and Exercise Medicine, Healthcare Management and Leadership, and has an Institute of Research.

RCSI recognises that excellence in research is critical to the quality of its educational activities, its credibility, and, overall, to its mission to enhance human health. Recently, RCSI has implemented a new research strategy that will build upon its strength in translational biomedical and clinical research to deliver transformational, high impact changes in health care. Targeting both Irish national and EU funding, along with increased collaboration with industry, is a major part of the RCSI research strategy. Forging increased collaboration between RCSI PIs and industry is of critical importance to achieving success in this area. RCSI is also committed to provide its researchers with the supports and developmental opportunities to enable them to continuously grow and support their overall career development.

As part of RCSI’s commitment to the HR Strategy for Research, we have developed a comprehensive suite of personal development opportunities. The successful role holder will be expected to engage in these development opportunities to enhance their skills and competences and support their overall career development. Additionally, RCSI have a structured Career Development Framework which provides opportunities for recognition and progress to the research level while with RCSI.

A 2-year post-doctoral fellowship studying the biology of mesenchymal stem cells in sepsis is available in the Department of Anaesthesia and Critical Care, RCSI. This position provides an exciting opportunity for an ambitious lung biologist to join a recently established team working at the cutting-edge of stem cell therapy. The ideal candidate will have a PhD in lung biology, immunology or cell therapy with experience in confocal microscopy and animal models of infection.


The project objective is to develop therapeutically optimized Mesenchymal Stem/Stromal Cells (MSC, specifically Cynata MSCs), and to test these in clinically relevant models of sepsis. Pre-activation strategies (e.g. hypoxia, serum deprivation, TNF, interferon, LPS or poly I:C) that promote secretion of lipid mediators and modulate inflammation and macrophage phagocytosis will be tested. Effects on macrophage-mediated gram positive and gram negative bacterial killing and ROS production will be quantified. The therapeutic effect of optimized MSCs will be tested in a rodent model of pneumonia-induced sepsis and in the isolated perfused human lung.


1: generation of an `activated’ Cynata MSC with enhanced ability to enhance macrophage phagocytosis.

2: generation of an `activated’ Cynata MSC with enhanced antimicrobial efficacy.

3: demonstration of the therapeutic efficacy of naïve and activated Cynata MSCs in a clinically relevant animal model of sepsis.

Specifically, the duties of the post are:

  • Characterization of the lipid profiles of MSCs, in particular the role of oxidized phospholipids and resolvins, and their role in macrophage polarization, phagocytosis and bacterial killing.
  • Assessment of MSC fate in the pulmonary vasculature, including recruitment and polarization of monocytes and macrophage and transmigration to tissue and alveolus.
  • Assessment of phagocytosis, ROS production and efferocytosis in vivo as well as the role of MSCs, using an established intra-vital lung microscopy model.

Position Specification:

  • Small animal handling, ventilation and measurement of respiratory mechanics in small and large animals
  • Standard laboratory skills including cell culture, ELISA, protein quantification and Western Blotting
  • Intra-vital microscopy of mouse lung
  • Writing and contributing to academic papers and research briefs arising from the research findings
  • Communicating with key stakeholders and coordinating stakeholder events
  • Representing the best interests of the Programme at all times
  • Performing such other duties as may be required


  • A PhD in lung biology, innate immunity, cell therapy or related field.


  • Cell biology experience, ideally with monocytes/macrophages
  • Animal handling/mouse models of infection
  • Academic writing skills and experience
  • Good communication skills
  • Strong organisational and administrative skills with the ability to prioritise objectives
  • The ability to work on one’s own initiative as well as in a team environment
  • Flexibility to work irregular hours on occasion
  • Willingness to undertake training and career development


  • Intra-vital microscopy skills
  • Proven ability in using confocal microscopy
  • Excellent interpersonal skills and the ability to confidently interact with colleagues from both clinical and academic backgrounds

Skills & Competencies:

  • Proven ability to communicate complex ideas
  • Ability to ensure that project plans are communicated and that all timelines are met
  • Ability to operate effectively as part of a team – is cordial, tolerant and willing to help others, is co-operative and patient; shares work and information; establishes rapport, can influence and develop effective networks
  • Knowledge of MS Office suite.
  • Have a pro-active approach to work, anticipating and resolving problems in advance; have keen attention to detail – from anticipating and addressing issues in advance to understanding requests and delivering quality work with minimal errors.
  • Can operate flexibly within a busy environment; can shift focus when required.
  • Have strong customer service skills. Be able to communicate with a high level of initiative, tact, diplomacy and confidentiality.
  • Display a `can-do’ attitude, be committed to RCSI ORI and its development; demonstrate enthusiasm and passion for the role.

Application Process

Please apply online no later than 11.30pm on the closing date with your CV and Covering Letter

Informal Enquiries can be directed to Prof Ger Curley (

Please click here to read our Recruitment and Selection Policy for Researchers.

Note: this Job Description may be subject to change to reflect the evolving requirements of the Department and RCSI in developing healthcare leaders who make a difference worldwide.

Similar vacancies that arise in the next 6 months may be filled from the pool of applicants that apply for this position.

RCSI is an equal opportunities employer. If you have any particular requirements for your interview, please notify the Human Resources Department at your earliest convenience All RCSI roles are open to suitably qualified female and male candidates.

Please apply via recruiter’s website.