Research Associate in Radiochemistry

King's College London

# **Job description**


We are seeking a proactive and collaborative radiochemist to join Dr Yan’s group in the School of Biomedical Engineering & Imaging Sciences, King’s College London. We are a dynamic radiochemistry and biology team with access to cutting-edge instruments for preclinical nuclear imaging. You will develop novel bioconjugation reagents for native peptide and small protein radiolabelling. The resulting radiolabelled bioconjugates will be applied to Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR) T-cell PET imaging.


In collaboration with radiochemist, Prof Erik Årstad from UCL and CAR T-cell scientists, Dr John Maher and James Arnold from KCL, the successful candidate will develop novel radiolabelling strategies for the bioconjugation of native peptides and small proteins. You will also assist the evaluation of the radiolabelled bioconjugates for the detection of CAR T-cells in mouse cancer models with PET imaging. The project involves organic synthesis of radiolabelling precursors and non-radioactive references compounds, radiochemical preparation and characterisation of the bioconjugation reagents, radiolabelling and characterisation of peptides and small proteins, assist the *in vitro* biological evaluation of the bioconjugates for CAR T-cell uptake, and assist the PET imaging of CAR T-cells in tumour xenograft models with newly developed bioconjugates. The goal of this project is to develop a generic long-term CAR T-cell PET imaging reagent to enable clinicians to determine the real-time *in vivo* biodistribution of the CAR T-cells allowing prediction of therapeutic efficacy and potential off-target toxicity of therapeutic cells at earlier stages of their development.


We expect the successful candidate to hold a PhD degree in radiochemistry with a strong background in organic synthesis and medicinal chemistry. You will need to have a strong track record of research achievements. Experience in handling of radioactivity is desirable. Experience with small animal imaging is preferred.


This post will be offered on a fixed-term contract for up to three years (latest end date 30 November 2026).


This is a full-time post - 100% full time equivalent.# **Key responsibilities**

- Develop new radiochemistry related to the project.
- Organic synthesis of radiolabelling precursors and non-radioactive references compounds and fully characterise these compounds with NMR, HRMS etc.
- Radiochemical preparation and characterisation of the bioconjugation reagents including radiolabelling, HPLC purification, and measure the radiochemical yields, molar activity, and log D etc.
- Radiolabelling of peptides and small proteins with the novel bioconjugation reagents.
- Fully characterisation of the bioconjugates including molar activity, log D, and *in vitro* stability etc.
- Assist the *in vitro* biological evaluation of the radio-bioconjugates for CAR T-cell uptake.
- Assist the PET/CT imaging of the CAR T-cells in the animal models.
- Initiate new research directions related to the project.
- Keep an accurate record of experimental data and write quarterly reports.
- Draft conference presentations and manuscripts for publications and assist in grant writing.
- Contribute to the training and laboratory supervision of junior staff.


# **Skills, knowledge, and experience**

**Essential criteria**

1. PhD awarded (or soon to be awarded\*) in radiochemistry or organic chemistry.
2. Strong track record of publications in the field of radiochemistry or organic chemistry.
3. Advanced skills to independently design and implement complex experiments and in analysis of complex research data.
4. Proven experience of manuscript preparation and presenting scientific research in the form of posters and oral presentations.
5. Excellent organisational skills, ability to act on personal initiative and take responsibility for own work, ensuring projects are completed, working to deadlines.
6. Excellent communication skills and work effectively in a multidisciplinary research environment.

**Desirable criteria**

1. Experience of safe handling of radioisotopes.
2. Home Office personal license for animal experiments in cancer research.
3. Experience in small animal PET/SPECT imaging.


*Please note that this is a PhD level role but candidates who have submitted their thesis and are awaiting award of their PhDs will be considered. In these circumstances the appointment will be made at Grade 5, spine point 30 with the title of Research Assistant. Upon confirmation of the award of the PhD, the job title will become Research Associate and the salary will increase to Grade 6.*


## Further information


The applicants should include the following documents when applying:

- A cover letter with a short statement setting out your reasons for applying for the post and highlighting the particular skill and experience which you feel you would bring to the role.
- A copy of a current curriculum vitae.


Whilst we can accommodate virtual interviews, our preference is for all interviews to be held in-person. Interviews will be accompanied by a tour of our research facilities and an opportunity to discuss career development.


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This post is subject to Disclosure and Barring Service and Occupational Health clearance.