United Kingdom

Position type:

Full time


£32,548 to £38,833 p.a.

11 Sep 2017
27 Sep 2017

Full details:

Reference number: 2017/09/11/6597

Are you an ambitious researcher looking for your next challenge? Do you have an established background in virology or cell biology? Do you want to further your career in one of the UKs leading research intensive Universities?

Working on the project ‘A novel therapeutic use of glibenclamide to treat BK virus associated kidney disease’, you will join a thriving and multidisciplinary research group and have the opportunity to contribute to an exciting piece of work, which has the potential to transform therapy for a debilitating disease in kidney transplant patients.

BK polyomavirus-associated nephropathy (PVAN) is a cause of significant morbidity and the leading cause of graft loss in kidney transplant patients. Despite the increasing incidence of PVAN in the kidney transplant population current therapies against BK infection have limited effect or are nephrotoxic. Given the paucity of treatment options, there is a clear unmet clinical need to develop better therapies for PVAN, since any new treatment option would have the potential both to reduce patient morbidity and improve kidney transplant survival.

We recently identified host ion channels as an essential factor required for BK virus infection. Importantly, treatment of primary kidney cell cultures with the clinically available drug glibenclamide prevented BK virus infection. Glibenclamide targets host ABC transporters. Many of these form complexes with ion channel sub-units and are essential for a wide range of host processes. We will identify the composition of host channels targeted by glibenclamide in renal cells and patient tissues and characterize the stage in the BK lifecycle impaired by glibenclamide. Importantly, glibenclamide will be tested against clinical isolates of BK virus from a range of serotypes obtained from patients with PVAN. This improved understanding is expected to lead translationally into clinical studies to utilise glibenclamide for the treatment of BK nephropathy.

With the ability to manage competing demands effectively, you will be highly motivated and able to work effectively within a multidisciplinary team, which includes clinical colleagues in the kidney transplant unit at St-James’ University Hospital. You will have a PhD in virology, cell biology, molecular biology or a related discipline, or have submitted your PhD prior to the appointment start date. A strong background in primary cell culture would be an advantage.

The University of Leeds and the Faculty of Biological Sciences are committed to providing equal opportunities for all and offer a range of family friendly policies. The University is a charter member of Athena SWAN (the national body that promotes gender equality in higher education), and the Faculty of Biological Sciences gained a Bronze award in 2014 and submitted an application for a Silver award in April 2017.  We are proud to be an inclusive Faculty that values all staff, and are happy to consider job share applications and requests for flexible working arrangements from our employees. Our Athena SWAN webpage provides more information. http://www.fbs.leeds.ac.uk/equality-and-diversity/athena-swan/


What does the role entail?

As a Research Fellow your main duties will include:

  • Working with and in support of Dr Macdonald’s research grant to ensure the project is successfully completed;
  • Screening primary renal cells for the specific target of glibenclamide;
  • Performing time of addition experiments to identify the stage of the BK life cycle inhibited by glibenclamide;
  • Developing functional studies to understand the molecular mechanism for glibenclamide action;
  • Using Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to amplify BK virus genomes from clinical samples and developing cell culture systems to propagate these clinical virus isolates;
  • Developing assays for the study of other human polyomaviruses;
  • Generating independent and original research ideas and methods in molecular virology and cell biology with an aim to extend the DNA tumour virus research portfolio;
  • Evaluating methods and techniques used and results obtained by other researchers and relating such evaluations to your own research;
  • Making a significant contribution to the dissemination of research results by publication in leading peer-reviewed journals, and by presentation at national and international meetings;
  • Working independently and as part of a larger team of researchers, both internally and externally to develop new research links and collaborations and engage in knowledge transfer activities where appropriate;
  • Contributing to the supervision of junior researchers and PhD students and acting as a mentor to less experienced colleagues;


These duties provide a framework for the role and should not be regarded as a definitive list. Other reasonable duties may be required consistent with the grade of the post.


What will you bring to the role?

As a Research Fellow you will have:

  • A PhD (or close to completion) in Virology, cell biology, molecular biology or a closely allied discipline;
  • A strong background in mammalian cell culture, experience of the culture of primary renal cells would be an advantage;
  • A background in ion channel biology combined with experience of molecular and cell biology;
  • The ability to design, execute and write up research independently combined with a developing track record of peer reviewed publications in international journals;
  • Excellent communication skills, both written and verbal and the ability to communicate your research at national and international conferences;
  • Good time management and planning skills, with the ability to meet tight deadlines;
  • A proven ability to work well both independently and as part of a team;
  • The ability to work accurately and carefully;


You may also have:

  • Experience in the amplification of DNA from clinical samples;
  • Evidence of pursuing external funding to support research.


Contact information

To explore the post further or for any queries you may have, please contact:

Dr Andrew Macdonald, Associate Professor in Virology

Tel: +44 (0)113 343 3053

Email: a.macdonald@leeds.ac.uk

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