Job Description - Jobs at the University of Leeds

Faculty of Medicine and Health
School of Medicine
Leeds Institute of Cardiovascular & Metabolic Medicine (LICAMM)
Division of Cardiovascular and Diabetes Research
Research Technician
Part time (80% of full time basis)
Fixed term (Available from 1st January 2015 until 31 December 2015)
We are seeking an enthusiastic, motivated research technician to provide technical support for
laboratory-based studies into the role of haemostasis and fibrin structure in aneurysmal disease,
funded by a Garfield Weston Trust-funded project grant.
You will be based within Theme Thrombosis and will work together with a dynamic and productive
multidisciplinary research team to analyse coagulation factors and parameters of fibrin clot
structure and function in plasma samples from patients with abdominal aortic aneurysms using
ELISA, enzyme activity based and biophysical methods. You will also be involved in patient
sample preparation and storage, assist in helping to run an anonymous patient-sample based
databank, and contribute to developing electronic datasheet handling of the database.
Applicants must hold as a minimum a BTEC Higher level (or equivalent) in a biological science,
and have experience of working in a biological sciences or biomedical research laboratory.
The University of Leeds is committed to providing equal opportunities for all and offers a
range of family friendly policies ( The University
is a charter member of Athena SWAN and holds the Bronze award. The School of Medicine
gained the Bronze award in 2013. We are committed to being an inclusive medical school
that values all staff, and we are happy to consider job share applications and requests for
flexible working arrangements from our employees.
University Grade 5 (£21,391 – £24,775 p.a. pro rata) depending on qualifications and
Informal enquiries regarding the post should be directed to Professor Robert Ariëns,
telephone +44 (0)113 343 7734 or email [email protected]
If you have any specific enquiries about your online application please contact Sou Sit Chung,
telephone +44 (0)113 343 9177 or email [email protected]
Job Ref: MHLCM1007
Closing Date: 4 November 2014
Job Description
Job Summary
The successful candidate will provide technical support for laboratory experiments involved in a
Garfield Weston Trust-funded research project aimed at investigating mechanisms of
haemostasis, thrombosis and fibrin clot structure in abdominal aortic aneurysmal disease. You will
primarily provide support for the handling of patient samples, the measurement of coagulation
factors, activation markers, fibrinolytic capacity and fibrin structure parameters in the plasma of
patients with abdominal aortic aneurysms using ELISA, biophysical and enzyme activity based
methods, and the handling of the anonymous patient database.
Main Duties and Responsibilities
The post holder will:
Provide technical support to a programme of laboratory work to ensure that experimental
goals are delivered according to an agreed timetable.
Contribute pro-actively to problem-solving and decision-making related to short to
medium term delivery of the research projects, with the support of the principal
investigator and other team-members when required.
Perform ELISA assays, enzyme activity assays, clotting assays and fibrin structure and
function methods. Carry out general technical work within Theme Thrombosis as
directed by the principal investigator.
Provide technical input into future experimental design and advice on application of
specialist techniques and equipment to other staff and students.
Contribute to the safe and well organised functioning of the laboratory.
Contribute to the management of LEADS patient and control samples, sample
preparation, safe storage and usage.
Contribute to the management of the LEADS database.
Take responsibility for planning and management of resources, ensure good progress of
work and keep detailed experimental and other laboratory administration records.
Prepare, collate and present data for other members of the research group and attend
research group meetings.
Check consumables stocks on a regular basis. Provide feedback to the principal
investigators and other team members on service usage, stock utilisation and to discuss
progress and future plans.
Apply effective time management skills to ensure project milestones are met.
This document is not intended to be an exhaustive list of duties and should be regarded as a
broad description of the post. Alterations to this document may take place from time to time
as the responsibilities and requirements of the post-holder develop.
The post-holder will report to Professor Robert Ariëns in the Leeds Institute of Cardiovascular &
Metabolic Medicine (LICAMM) – formerly known as Leeds Institute of Genetics, Health &
Therapeutics (LIGHT), through whom he/she is responsible to the Head of Division of
Cardiovascular & Diabetes Research, through whom are accountable to the Head of Institute,
through, the Dean of the Medical School, and ultimately the Dean of the Faculty.
Abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) is a disease mainly affecting older men. Its prevalence is around
4% of all men above the age of 65 in the general UK population. Prevalence of AAA in women is
around 5-10 fold lower. AAA involves a progressive irreversible dilatation of the abdominal aortic
vessel. Once the vessel reaches a predefined diameter, the AAA is corrected by surgical
intervention and a stent is placed inside the ballooning vessel. Pathogenesis of AAA involves
degradation of elastin matrix in the aorta wall due to the action of plasmin and metalloproteinaeses.
Most large AAA will see the development of an intraluminal thrombus (ILT) or blood clot inside the
aneurysm. This ILT contributes to degradation of the vessel wall and to the growth of the aneurysm.
Currently there are no treatment options available to patients with AAA other than surgical
intervention in large AAA. There are no drugs that can halt the disease process.
Work from our laboratory has shown that patients with AAA have significant clotting abnormalities.
First we found that patients with AAA have significantly increased activation of coagulation, fibrin
deposition and fibrin breakdown compared with healthy control subjects. This abnormal coagulation
profile was not corrected after surgery. Then we found that patients have abnormal fibrin clot
structure, with denser networks that are more resistant to fibrinolysis. Larger AAA associated with
more significant fibrin abnormalities compared with smaller AAA. In addition, patients with AAA
have an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and thrombosis. These findings, together with
other studies that show that AAA formation is increased in mice deficient of TAFI, indicate that AAA
induces a prothrombotic state, which leads to the deposition of an ILT in an attempt to repair the
blood vessel. As the ILT persists within the AAA for many months or even years, this mass of
fibrin is constantly remodelled and drives an inflammatory and proteolytic (plasmin generation)
response which is responsible for progressive AAA dilatation.
After these initial studies, we have now more than doubled the number of our AAA and control
samples. The successful candidate will focus on analysing coagulation and fibrin structure
parameters in the new samples. In addition, the postholder will play an important role in the
management of new patient and control samples as they continue to be recruited and in the
management of the anonymous database which is an essential and central tool for our studies of
coagulation in AAA.
Additional Information
Theme Thrombosis (Lead, Professor Robert Ariëns) in Leeds is based on a dynamic new research
group that is internationally recognised for its excellence in molecular and clinical research into
fibrin clot structure and function. The grouping has strong links with Biological Sciences and with
Physics and has a strong track record in publication in the highest quality specialist (Blood,
Circulation, Diabetes, J Thromb Haemost, ATVB, Biophys J, J Biol Chem) and non-specialist
(Lancet) journals. Research grant income for Theme Thrombosis has increased to >£4M over the
last 2-3 years alone. The group has strong links with Vascular Surgery (Lead, Professor Julian
Scott) with whom it has established a significant momentum studying thrombosis in AAA. Central
to our studies have been the establishment of the Leeds Aneurysm Development Study (LEADS),
which is the largest, well-characterised study of AAA that includes blood plasma samples in the
UK and internationally, with over 1,100 subjects recruited to the study since its conception in 2007.
LEADS is currently supported by a Senior Research Nurse, three Clinical Research Fellows
funded by the British Heart Foundation, and a research assistant/part-time PhD. Our studies on
thrombosis in AAA have received further significant support from the Garfield Weston Trust and
the Circulation foundation.
The successful candidate is expected to play a proactive role in the research team and contribute
to weekly lab-meetings and monthly theme-meetings. Theme Thrombosis is based in the Division
of Cardiovascular and Diabetes Research within the Leeds Institute of Genetics Health and
Therapeutics and is also integral part of the Multidisciplinary Cardiovascular Research Centre at
Leeds. The successful candidate is encouraged to participate in research meetings and research
retreats organised by institute and centre as and when appropriate.
University Values
All staff are expected to operate in line with the university’s values and standards, which work as
an integral part of our strategy and set out the principles of how we work together. More
information about the university’s strategy and values is available at
Person Specification
Minimum BTEC Higher level or equivalent, in a biological science.
Previous experience in a biological or biomedical laboratory including standard biomedical
laboratory techniques.
Ability to participate in a research project and deliver objectives according to pre-specified
Evidence of effective practical skills at the laboratory bench and familiarity with safety
Evidence of computer skills including use of spreadsheets.
Ability to analyse & communicate information clearly.
Good communication and interpersonal skills.
Good time management skills and ability to adhere to deadlines.
A capacity to work effectively both individually and as part of a team.
Ability to show initiative and judgement to resolve problems.
Ability to provide specialist technical input into the development of research objectives and
Appropriate higher degree (ie BSc, MSc or other) in a biological science
Previous experience of ELISA, enzyme activity assays
Previous experience of coagulation assays
Detailed knowledge of the coagulation cascade
Previous experience of biophysical methods such as permeation, Darcy’s law, turbidimetry
Previous experience with electron or confocal microscopy.
Further Information
Faculty Information
With more than 6,000 students, 1,600 staff and annual research income of £50m, the Faculty of
Medicine and Health at Leeds is bigger than some universities. Leeds has one of the largest
medical and bioscience research bases in the UK, and is an acknowledged world leader in cancer,
cardiovascular, psychiatric, genetic, musculo-skeletal and health services research. Treatments
developed in Leeds are transforming the lives of people around the world living with conditions
such as HIV, TB, diabetes and malaria.
The School of Medicine
The School of Medicine at the University of Leeds is a major international centre for research and
education. Our ambition is to improve health and reduce health inequalities, locally and globally,
through excellent scientific research and the translation of that research into healthcare practice,
and through the education of future scientific and clinical leaders who will advocate and practise
an evidence-based approach. Our major strategic aims are to:
Deliver outstanding research including basic discovery science through to applied health
research that makes a significant difference to health.
Produce exceptional graduates, clinicians, educators, doctoral and post-doctoral fellows
whose learning has been informed and inspired by our research excellence and who will
form the next generation of academic and clinical leaders.
Develop and support knowledge transfer activities that flow from our academic activities.
Create and maintain an efficient and sustainable environment for research and teaching
within an organisational culture and management style that enacts and supports the
university’s core values of community, inclusiveness, integrity and professionalism.
The School of Medicine is organised into seven Institutes. All are committed to high quality
research-led teaching, through their training of postgraduate research students, delivery of
postgraduate taught courses, and its leadership in undergraduate teaching. The School works
closely with the local NHS, having a number of jointly funded clinical posts to ensure this
relationship is effective and strong for both research and student education.
Leeds Institute of Cardiovascular & Metabolic Medicine (LICAMM)
Director: Professor Mark Kearney
LICAMM integrates basic and clinical scientists with a common goal of understanding the
mechanisms underpinning common chronic diseases of human health and developing new
approaches to treating patients at an individual and population level. At the heart of LICAMM’s
philosophy is a vibrant multidisciplinary approach to science that provides a platform to deliver
internationally competitive translational research and teaching in disorders including
cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer and neurodegenerative diseases) our key aim is to
improve the lives of our patients and the experience of our students.
Leeds Institute of Health Sciences (LIHS) Director: Professor Tim Ensor
LIHS delivers problem-driven research that supports decisions about the content or delivery of
healthcare. Our interdisciplinary approach incorporates expertise in applied health research
designs, health implementation sciences, social sciences, health economics, informatics and
statistics, as well as skills in communicating with basic scientists, policy makers, healthcare
providers, public and patients. We conduct research at the individual, population and
organisational level.
Leeds Institute of Medical Education (LIME) Director: Professor Trudie Roberts
LIME provides the administrative support, co-ordination and leadership for the School of
Medicine’s undergraduate medical degree, including admissions, curriculum development,
assessment, student support and clinical placement liaison. It provides the technology-enhanced
learning and innovation support for the School of Medicine. LIME also has a very active
scholarship programme of research and innovation in medical education and uses its expertise to
influence medical education policy and practice nationally and internationally. To achieve this it
works with a range of stakeholders including the academic community, the profession, the public,
regulators and policy makers.
The Leeds Institute of Cancer and Pathology (LICAP) Director: Professor Tim Bishop
The Leeds Institute of Cancer Studies and Pathology addresses both laboratory based and clinical
research into cancer with a major focus on translational science. LICAP is one of the largest
cancer Institutes in the country and has major financial support from the cancer charities. The
laboratories and clinical research are all based on the St James’s site with laboratory activities
being located in the Wellcome Trust Brenner Building and adjacent buildings while the clinical
work is based within Bexley Wing. The Institute consists of seven Sections with the following
Leeds Institute of Biomedical & Clinical Sciences (LIBACS)
Director: Professor Philip Hopkins
LIBACS undertakes clinically-driven research from the level of the gene through cellular, tissue
and organ to clinical trials. Our vision is to develop a sustainable centre of excellence for the
advancement of patient care by translating research results into clinical practise and contributing
to medical education at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Our research interests are
encapsulated in 6 clinical themes (Gastrointestinal inflammation & tumorigenesis, Genetic
disorders, Infection & immunity, Neuroscience, Perinatal medicine, Perioperative outcomes &
technologies) underpinned by 4 generic science technology strands (Animal models, Cell biology,
Gene regulations & Genomics). We are based predominantly at the St James’s University
Hospital site.
Leeds Institute of Rheumatic and Musculoskeletal Medicine (LIRMM)
Director: Professor Paul Emery
LIRMM is dedicated to improving diagnosis, therapy, intervention and outcome across the
spectrum of rheumatic and musculoskeletal medicine. It boasts a dynamic portfolio of research
and education, delivering wide-ranging clinical, translational and basic research across five
Sections: Clinical Musculoskeletal Medicine, Experimental Musculoskeletal Medicine, Clinical
Biomechanics and Physical Medicine, Rehabilitation Medicine and Orthopaedics. A multidisciplinary approach is the core of our activities, with significant interdisciplinary links between
Experimental and Clinical research. LIRMM’s clinical activities are focussed at Chapel Allerton
Hospital, which is also base for our NIHR Musculoskeletal Biomedical Research Unit (LMBRU)
and our basic sciences at St James’s University Hospital.
Leeds Institute of Clinical Trials Research (LICTR) Director: Professor Julia Brown
LICTR delivers innovative design, delivery and knowledge transfer in clinical trials research. Our
multidisciplinary approach, in collaboration with basic scientists, clinicians, policy makers,
healthcare providers, public and patients and University colleagues, delivers internationally
competitive research and teaching that makes a significant contribution to the evidence base for
healthcare delivery. The Institutes research is conducted through the Clinical Trials Research Unit
where we have expertise in design and conduct of complex clinical trials incorporating novel
designs to evaluate CTIMPs, complex interventions, diagnostics, medical devices and surgery.
St James’s University Hospital Campus Infrastructure and Facilities (SCIF)
Director: Professor Pam Jones
This group covers activities that cover School of Medicine functions for Institutes at St James’s
University Hospital that span more than one institute including biomedical research facilities,
student education, IT, health and safety, estates, seminars, PGR studentships and business
support functions. These functions help support the 5 adjacent buildings on the site.
There are 3 Institutes with staff and students at St James’s: LICP (Leeds Institute of Cancer
studies and Pathology), LIBACS (Leeds Institute of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences), LIRMM
(Leeds Institute of Rheumatic and Musculoskeletal Medicine). These three institutes are
dedicated to basic, translational, clinical and health research integrated with student education.
Additional Information
Terms and Conditions
Details of the terms and conditions of employment for all staff at the university, including
information on pensions and benefits, are available on the Human Resources web pages
accessible via the links on the right hand side, or at
Disclosure and Barring Service checks
A Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) Check is not required for this position. However,
applicants who have unspent convictions must indicate this in the ‘other personal details’ section
of the application form and send details to the Recruitment Officer
Disabled Applicants
The post is located in the LIGHT Laboratories, Clarendon Way. Disabled applicants wishing to
review access to the building are invited to contact the department direct. Additional information
may be sought from the Recruitment Officer, email [email protected] or telephone
+ 44 (0)113 343 1723.
Disabled applicants are not obliged to inform employers of their disability but will still be covered
by the Equality Act once their disability becomes known.
Further information for applicants with disabilities, impairments or health conditions is
available in the applicant guidance.
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