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Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellow ITN - "Skin Tissue Integrity under Shear" (STINTS)

School of Health Sciences

Location:  Southampton General Hospital
Salary:   £31,537 to £35,100 per annum - subject to bi-annual review due to exchange rates
Full Time - Fixed Term for 36 months
Closing Date:  Sunday 21 July 2019
Interview Date:   To be confirmed
Reference:  1103719CF-2R

Project: Testing medical interventions in clinical practice using biomarkers and physical sensors.

A Marie Curie ITN Early Stage Researcher (ESR) position is available from June 2019 for 36 months. The position will be in the EU-Marie Sklodowska-Curie "Skin Tissue Integrity under Shear” (STINTS) project. The STINTS Innovation Training Network will provide multi-disciplinary research training in understanding the complex biomechanical and biochemical pathways leading to loss of skin integrity, following the exposure to prolonged pressure, friction and shear forces. 

The project will represent one of 13 ESR positions located around Europe, which will specifically focus on the assessment of biomarkers sampled from the skin surface, which can monitor the status of loaded skin and soft tissues. These biomarkers will include sampling sebum and sweat non-invasively from the skin before, during and after mechanical insults caused by gravitational forces or the application of medical devices. Biomarkers will include tissue metabolites, inflammation and purine content. 

The research will involve testing predominantly human volunteers with healthy skin as well as specific sub-groups of patients who are deemed to be at low risk of skin damage. The aim of this research is to identify the temporal profiles of robust biomarkers, which can provide an early detection of skin damage and indicate the period in which tissues can fully recover following a range of mechanical-induced insults i.e. pressure, shear, friction. This will have important implications for a range of clinical scenarios where chronic wounds can develop from prolonged loading e.g. pressure ulcers, diabetic foot ulcers, device related skin damage. Standard test methods will utilize appropriate analytical techniques for the biomarkers e.g. ELISA assays and High Performance Liquid Chromatography. 

The candidate will have the opportunity to work with the other researcher based in Southampton as well as others working with selected European partners in STINTS. The post will allow the candidate to participate in an exciting programme incorporating international schools, workshops, and secondments at both academic and industrial partners.

About us:

The University of Southampton (UoS) is in the top 1% worldwide and currently ranks in the top 100 QS World University Rankings (2019). It represents a research-led Academic Institution with strong inter-disciplinary research activity. This ESR position will be based in the School of Health Sciences, which is at the forefront of world-class teaching and research. It has a culture of collaboration, discovery and excellence, pioneering advances in clinical practice to shape the future of healthcare delivery. The Skin Health group in the School of Health Science, has an established programme of research led by Professor Dan Bader, whereby the status of mechanically impaired skin tissues can be monitored. This has been informed by utilising the latest bioengineering tools to evaluate the conditions at the interface between skin and devices including pressure, shear and the microclimate. In addition, the group have been at the forefront of developing an array of biophysical, biomarker, imaging and modelling technologies to monitor the health of loaded skin tissues. The Skin Health Group incorporates senior bioengineers, healthcare researchers, biologists and post-graduate students.

Job Description

  • Perform novel research under the supervision of academic members of staff and an industrial advisor in the monitoring of skin status in the clinical setting in collaboration with other ESRs in the consortium
  • Apply the knowledge to understand how skin condition is affected by mechanical interactions with materials such as bedding and socks that are commonly in contact  with disabled and elderly people
  • Adapt test protocols for suitability with subgroups of individuals at risk of developing skin damage. This will involve ethics approval.
  • Contribute to the development of products and care procedures to minimise the occurrence of pressure ulcers 
  • Participate in the activities of the STINTS programme: attending training workshops, collaborating with network partners, and undertaking periodic secondments at STINTS partner organisations
  • Produce written outputs as required during their PhD studies and to contribute to engagement and dissemination activities of STINTS
  • Present regular progress reports as required by the STINTS program of research 

Personal Requirements

  • Master’s degree or equivalent professional qualifications and experience in Bioengineering, Biology, Nursing and Therapy, Medicine or a closely related discipline.
  • Ability to work in a testing laboratory environment or clinical facility with human volunteers and demonstrate a passion for experimental research with the determination to understand the underlying physical fundamentals
  • Excellent analysis skills and an analytical mind-set, as well as excellent oral and written communication skills
  • Ability to work independently and as a member of a research team
  • Ability to engage with interdisciplinary studies and technological areas
  • Entry requirements include English language requirements being IELTS Academic 6.5 overall with 6.0 in each band or equivalent. 

Eligibility

Applicants must satisfy the eligibility requirements for an ESR under the Horizon 2020 ITN Programme; in particular, they should be eligible to be appointed as an ESR in the UK by satisfying the following criteria:

  • to have less than four years research experience after Undergraduate/Masters graduation (this is cumulative research experience and does not include management/industrial or other work experience)
  • to not hold a PhD degree (PhD candidates under 4 years of registration and before completion may apply)
  • at the time of recruitment (i.e. first date of employment), you must not have resided or carried out your main activity (work, studies, etc…) in the UK for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to recruitment under this project. Compulsory national service and/or short stays such as holidays are not taken into account. 

The salary payable to the successful candidate will differ to the ‘researcher unit cost’ as set in the Grant Agreement. The unit cost is to cover all employment costs and Employer’s liabilities to HMRC and any applicable employer’s pension contributions must therefore be deducted before from the available budget before arriving at the amount available as salary. Under UK legislation the living allowance, mobility allowance and any applicable family allowance are all deemed taxable. The gross salary calculated after Employer’s costs will then be subject to Employee’s deductions for Tax, NI and Pension contributions where applicable. The sterling salary payable will also be affected by exchange rate fluctuations and will therefore be subject to six monthly reviews.

Candidates from minorities underrepresented in science are strongly encouraged.

Please note you will need to enrol on the appropriate doctoral programme which will lead to you being awarded a PhD by the University of Southampton.

Informal enquiries are encouraged and should be directed to: Professor Dan Bader (D.L.Bader@soton.ac.uk) or Dr Peter Worsley (P.R.Worsley@soton.ac.uk )

Application Procedure

You should submit your completed application form online 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 Geraldine Lewis (Recruitment Team) on +44 (0) 23 8059 3462. Please quote reference 1103719CF-2R on all correspondence.

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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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