Research Technician - Institute of Immunology and Immunotherapy

University of Birmingham

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Position type:

Full time


£23,406.00 - £29,107.00

21 Jan 2021
21 Apr 2021

Full details:

Reference number: BIR-200002C2

Position Details

Institute of Immunology and Immunotherapy

Grade/Band 500

Full Time FTC 12 Months


The post holder will be based in the groups of Prof Paul Moss and Dr Heather Long in the Institute of Immunology and Immunotherapy; working on an MRC funded project aimed at investigating SARS-CoV-2 specific T cell responses in various cohorts. The post holder will make a significant contribution to the study principally through processing blood samples and by performing Elispots and other T cell-based assays. This post will entail working closely with scientists and clinicians to support high quality research using a variety of techniques. The post holder will also be responsible for taking a lead role in the day to day running for the lab, including the safety and maintenance of equipment and stocks within the lab.


Main Duties


  • Preparation of blood mononuclear cells from whole blood samples
  • Liaising with study teams to access samples
  • Isolation of T cells and T cell subsets from peripheral blood mononuclear cells
  • Setting up and maintaining cell lines; including LCLs
  • Isolation and culture of primary cells from blood samples
  • Performance of immunological assays including Elispots, cytokine stimulation assays and immunostaining of cells for flow cytometry (both surface and intracellular)
  • Performance of multi-colour flow cytometry, including designing and setting up new panels as well as basic maintenance of the flow cytometer
  • DNA extraction and PCR
  • Keeping accurate records of all experiments, evaluating and interpreting results. Modifying experiments and suggesting new experimental approaches as appropriate
  • Keeping accurate records of patient and healthy donor samples



  • Enabling staff and students, working within the area of responsibility, to comply with all basic University / College Health & Safety policies. This will include compliance by all staff with current rules governing work with COSHH, genetically modified organisms (GMOs), biological samples, human tissue, radioactive materials and schedule 5 toxins etc. Ensure all required assessments are in place approved and up to date.
  • Maintaining records both paper and computer based as appropriate.
  • Carrying out regular maintenance processes such as flushing eye wash stations as appropriate and ensuring records are maintained.
  • Reporting any breaches or non-compliance with H&S procedures to the PI, Technical Manager, Laboratory Manager or College Safety Adviser.
  • Upholding the correct waste disposal stream as governed by College and local policy for laboratory, recycled and general waste
  • Adopt a proactive attitude to assisting with and implementing carbon reduction and energy saving measures


The post holder will assist with the daily administration and organisation of the work area. These duties include:

  • Maintaining stocks of consumables, if necessary, creating purchase order requisitions for the College finance office or via web based ordering system
  • Receipt and correct storage of consumables and chemical reagents.
  • Ensuring that the facilities are maintained in a clean, functional and safe condition, reporting any problems through the appropriate channels.
  • Ensuring the best use of equipment through booking systems, if appropriate
  • Reporting any problems with equipment or services to the line manager as appropriate.
  • Any other duties commensurate with the grade and skill base of the post holder as directed by either the Principal Investigator for research based activities or the Technical Managers for non-research based activities



  • In collaboration with the Laboratory Manager or supervisor the post holder will take an active role in the training and mentoring process for junior or newly appointed staff/students
  • To actively engage in the Personal Development Process
  • To contribute at a level appropriate with the grade, to internal and external audit procedures, and to regulatory inspections.
  • Assist Technical Managers and/or Laboratory Managers in identifying and tracking items held on the University asset register.


Knowledge, Skills, Qualifications and Experience Required

  • Have or studying for a BSc or equivalent professional qualification in an appropriate subject
  • GCSE (A*- C) or equivalent in mathematics
  • In-depth proven practical knowledge of technical and scientific methods stated above and Good Laboratory Practice gained through extensive experience and formal qualification
  • Extensive experience of similar laboratory based work particularly of isolating human PBMCs and T cell assays.
  • Positive service attitude and shows courtesy in dealing with others
  • Ability to organise and manage own work load and demonstrate flexibility in terms of work practices/requirements
  • Ability to work under minimal supervision but function as part of a team
  • Knowledge of current relevant H&S policies
  • Proficiency in commonly used software packages including flow cytometry analysis software
  • Willingness to work towards professional registration



  • This post provides technical support to a research group comprising of:
  • o Profesor x1

    o Drs x2

    o Research Fellows x 3

    o Technicians x 3

    o Postgraduate Students x 3

    • The post has no direct line management responsibility for other staff
    • The post has no budgetary or financial responsibility
    • The impact of this role is to enhance the University's research power and to provide students (BMedSc/MRes/PhD) with a distinctive high quality experience

    Planning and organising
    • The work will come to the role holder via regular meetings with either the research group, PI or nominated Research Fellow
    • The role holder will set their own deadline priorities within the deadlines provided by the PI for dealing with the work provided
    • The role is forward planned to meet research milestones but there is some element of reactiveness and problem solving should obstacles arise.
    • The role holder will use the most appropriate technique and ensure that all the equipment and consumables are available to ensure results delivery
    • The role holder will plan with other stakeholders the most efficient use of resources and equipment to reach research milestones

    Problem Solving and Decision-making

    Without reference to others

    • Deliver a level of service to colleagues/customers as outlined in work plans/PDR objectives
    • Perform day to day research experiments with approved protocols, collate and analyses data as appropriate
    • Use own judgement based on experience to break down and assess problems and implement changes within area of expertise
    • Responsible for ensuring compliance of housekeeping policies within the defined area and taking any necessary remedial action
    • Routine operation and maintenance of laboratory equipment
    • Replace consumables and reagents

    After consulting others

    • Change in direction of research or service activities to be discussed with line manager or academic supervisors
    • Procurement of equipment or arranging equipment repair or servicing to be discussed with line manager
    • Preparation/delivery of presentations to internal/external audiences

    or would be referred to someone else

    • Set long term priorities
    • Make decisions on major purchases
    • Any issues outside the area of expertise of the post holder. Any issues which may have a detrimental impact on the core business activities of the College and/or University

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