Research Fellow

Location UK / Belfast

Job Type Fixed term contract

Salary See description

Updated 2 days ago

Reference 1419358

 Job Description

Excellent opportunity for Research Fellow based in Belfast.


Research Fellow

Ref: 19/107521

School of Medicine, Dentistry & Biomedical Sciences

Queen’s University Belfast is one of the leading universities in the UK and Ireland, with a distinguished heritage and history. With over 24,000 students, 3,700 staff and an annual turnover of some £300m, Queen’s University Belfast plays a unique leadership role in Northern Ireland. As a member of the Russell Group of UK research-intensive universities, Queen’s University Belfast combines excellence in research and education with a student centred ethos.

About post

The Centre for Experimental Medicine is an interdisciplinary research centre which is committed to the highest quality scientific endeavour, with over 250 basic and clinical scientists working on site.  Our mission is to understand the mechanisms of disease and use that understanding to develop innovative new treatments and therapies to improve patient outcomes. 

A Postdoctoral Research Fellow position for a PhD with training and demonstrated abilities in cell biology/cellular immunology/cellular microbiology is available in the Valvano group to investigate the inflammasome in human CFTR-defective macrophages and monocytes.  Infection and chronic inflammation in patients with cystic fibrosis (CF) lead to progressive lung damage. CF-defective macrophages fail to kill engulfed opportunistic pathogens such as Burkholderia cenocepacia. Engulfed pathogens disarm macrophages and counteract immunity by deploying proteins (effectors) that alter central cellular pathways including actin cytoskeleton remodelling. Pathogen-induced disorganization of the actin cytoskeleton is both a remarkable anti-host strategy and a danger signal driving inflammation and cell death. However, the actin cytoskeleton dynamics in the context of the CF defect has not been explored. We hypothesize that intracellular opportunistic pathogens engulfed by macrophages, in combination with the CF genetic defect, induce disorganization of the actin cytoskeleton that leads to a highly proinflammatory state. Our research established B. cenocepacia as a model organism for cellular microbiology. We discovered that a B. cenocepacia type VI-secretion system (T6SS) disrupts the macrophage’s actin cytoskeleton and elicits pyroptosis (proinflammatory cell death), and we recently identified TecA as the T6SS protein responsible for these phenotypes by causing the direct inactivation of Rho GTPases, which in turn activates the Pyrin inflammasome and the ASC complex formation. We will investigate here the relationship between inflammation and B. cenocepacia-mediated modulation of macrophages’ actin cytoskeleton in CFTR-defective human monocytic macrophages. We will address 2 specific aims: (1) To assess the status of the pyrin inflammasome in B. cenocepacia-infected, CFTR-defective peripheral monocytes; and (2) To evaluate the role of the B. cenocepacia T4SS and T2SS systems in the activation of ASC-dependent inflammasomes upon infection in human macrophages.

The successful candidate will work in partnership with members of the Valvano group, plan and perform experiment and will also be involved supervision and training of junior lab members.

This post is available for 12 months initially. 

The successful candidate must have:

  • PhD in microbiology, immunology, innate immunity, cell biology or equivalent subject.
  • At least 3 years recent relevant work experience to include: microbiology/immunology/biochemistry research including general experience in a wide range of laboratory methods.

Please click here for information on the Centre and Professor Valvano

Anticipated interview date: Wednesday 10 July 2019

Salary scale: £33,199 – £34,189 per annum

To Apply please click the APPLY NOW button below to be directed to our website.

Closing date: Monday 1 July 2019

The University is committed to equality of opportunity and to selection on merit.  It therefore welcomes applications from all sections of society and particularly welcomes applications from people with a disability 

Fixed term contract posts are available for the stated period in the first instance but in particular circumstances may be renewed or made permanent subject to availability of funding