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Research Fellow

Allergy and Inflammation Research

Location:  Southampton General Hospital
Salary:   £30,395 to £33,199
Full Time Fixed Term (27 Months)
Closing Date:  Thursday 03 January 2019
Reference:  1082818FC

Foundations for routine 3D X-ray histology

This post will support the biomedical aspects of a Wellcome Trust-funded collaboration between Medicine and Engineering at the University of Southampton. With industrial partners, the project will further develop a micro-computed tomography (µCT) system optimised for soft tissue imaging. This will provide novel, high-quality 3D images, enabling scientific & medical discovery through X-ray histology, augmenting traditional histology.

We have demonstrated that X-ray imaging by µCT allows non-invasive 3D imaging of tissue microstructure. This yields details comparable to 2D optical microscope sections but for the whole tissue volume this 3D information was previously inaccessible. Improved technology, including new X-ray equipment and standardised and automated workflows developed in this project, will open new areas of research, such as large-scale 3D histological phenotyping (“histomics”). This will translate directly into next-generation clinical image-based diagnostics and patient stratification using artificial intelligence and deep learning.

The post holder and an existing Bioengineering Research Fellow will concentrate on biomedical aspects of 3D imaging and 3D image data processing, while another PDRA will design and optimise computational and data management. Specifically, this post will drive and validate biomedical µCT applications leading work on sample preparation protocols for histology and µCT imaging. Part of the study and the post holder’s portfolio will involve planning and executing collaborative systematic comparisons of structural features imaged by µCT and conventional histology. Research exemplars, such as lung and colon will be developed with biomedical research collaborators. The validation of µCT imaging by side-by-side comparison with conventional histology and specialist stains will be an important part of the work. Automated procedures for µCT scanning,  image post-processing and quantification will be established. The post holder will be involved in organising and attending events for promoting and disseminating the technology development. This will include teaching and outreach events as well as scientific workshops and conferences. 

Applicants should have a PhD* or equivalent professional qualifications and experience in a relevant discipline,  ideally have a biological background and experience of imaging with a good understanding of image analysis and processing. Enthusiasm and a commitment to help implement the study is essential. You must be able to work independently and proactively and should have a high level of organisational and communication skills.

The post will be based at University Hospital Southampton (UHS) within the Biomedical Imaging Unit (BIU; https://www.southampton.ac.uk/biu), which is also part of the NHS histopathology service and will host the new µCT scanner. The BIU is extremely well equipped with a wide range of light and electron microscopes including 3D microscopes (light sheet, serial block-face SEM). This is a collaborative project together with the µ-VIS X-ray Imaging Centre in Engineering (http://www.southampton.ac.uk/muvis). Training and support to develop your knowledge and experience in µCT, microscopy and histology is available from the experienced staff in µ-VIS, the BIU and from other members of the wider project team.

Aligning with a broader multidisciplinary team (including respiratory medicine, cell biology, pathology, microscopy, bioengineering, computing/information science and industrial partners), results and publications from this work will provide a key contribution to developing this technology and translating it into diagnostic use, ultimately bringing a novel µCT system to the market.

The Faculty of Medicine holds an Athena SWAN Silver Award demonstrating commitment to equal opportunities and gender balance in the workplace. The Faculty recognises that applicants may seek flexible working patterns which will be considered as part of the recruitment process. For further information including key benefits designed to help maintain and support employees' well-being and work-life balance, please see our working with us website pages.

The post will be available from January 2019 for a period of 27 Months. 

Informal enquiries: Dr Peter Lackie; 023 8120 4146, email: p.m.lackie@soton.ac.uk or Dr Philipp Schneider; 023 8059 4640, email:  p.schneider@soton.ac.uk.

Please note: The University Recruitment department will be closed from close of business on Thursday 20th December 2018 to Wednesday 2nd January 2019, so we will not be able to assist you with any application queries during this time.

Application Procedure:

You should submit your completed online application form at https://jobs.soton.ac.uk. The application deadline will be midnight on the closing date stated above. If you need any assistance, please call Georgie Warren (Recruitment Team) on +44 (0)23 8059 7749. Please quote reference 1082818FC on all correspondence.

*Applications will be considered from candidates who are working towards or nearing completion of a relevant PhD qualification. The title of Research Fellow will be applied upon completion of PhD. Prior to the qualification being awarded the title of Senior Research Assistant will be given 

Athena SWAN Silver Award holder: Medicine 

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Further details:

We aim to be an equal opportunities employer and welcome applications from all sections of the community. Please note that applications from agencies will not be accepted unless indicated in the job advert.


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