This is a 3-year Clinical Research Fellow post based at King’s College London (Guy’s campus). The post is jointly funded by the epidermolysis bullosa patient support group, DebRA (UK), and the Swedish medical device company, Mölnlycke Health Care.
This project offers a new approach to assessing wounds and wound healing interventions in the inherited blistering skin disease, recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa (RDEB). Using technologies and methods unique to the investigators, the goal is to use nanoneedle tissue sampling to develop molecular micro-profiling of RDEB wounds. Initially, the plan is to work on RDEB wound skin biopsies (taken as part of routine clinical care) to match the molecular profiles to skin histology. The work will then expand to in vivo sampling from patients to develop a more dynamic readout of the status of an RDEB wound. The goal is then to begin to use the technology to assess the impact of various wound care dressings on wound healing.
The Clinical Research Fellow will be an integral part of the St John’s Institute of Dermatology Genetics Skin Disease research group (School of Basic and Medical Biosciences), headed by Professor John McGrath but the project will also involve working with the KCL research groups headed by Dr Ciro Chiappini (Senior Lecturer in Nanomaterials and Biointerfaces, Faculty of Dentistry, Oral & Craniofacial Sciences) and Dr Mads Bergholt (Lecturer in Biophotonics, Faculty of Dentistry, Oral & Craniofacial Sciences).
The McGrath lab studies genetic skin diseases, engaging in basic research on disease pathobiology as well as translational work to improve diagnostics and therapeutics. The Chiappini lab focuses on nanotechnology, bioengineering and cell biology to develop functional materials hat direct cell behaviour for applications in regenerative and precision medicine. The Bergholt lab is interested in biomedical optics and light-tissue interaction, linear/non-linear optical spectroscopy/imaging, advanced endoscopy and artificial intelligence in preclinical disease models and in patients to shed new light on disease onset and progression.
The Clinical Research Fellow will lead on the research project “Improved characterization of chronic wounds in RDEB”.
By the end of this three-year post we would expect the candidate to have:
- Registered for and completed a doctoral research project and acquired skills required for leading a research project
- Contributed to knowledge towards developing a novel means of assessing wounds in RDEB using nanoneedle sampling to generate molecular microprofiling that reflects the status of healing or non-healing.
- Published manuscripts papers either as first author as co-author with the other members of the team
- Have developed the skills, experience and track record required to progress to clinical lecturer or clinician scientist research role.
This post will be offered on an a fixed-term contract for 3 years
This is a full-time post
Analysis & research
- The Post-holder will undertake research with a focus on developing nanoneedle tissue sampling to develop molecular micro-profiling of skin tissue and wounds
Analyse and interpret the results of their own research and draw conclusions on the outcomes.
- Write up research work for presentation and/or publication.
- Update on a continuing basis knowledge and understanding in the field of research and seek out and be aware of advances in subject areas relevant to research activity
Decision making, planning & problem solving
- Analyse and interpret the results of their own research.
- Develop new concepts and ideas to extend intellectual understanding.
- Resolve problems of meeting research objectives and deadlines.
- Develop new ideas for application of research outcomes.
Communication & networking
- Liaise with colleagues and students in and beyond the Department and/or School as appropriate.
- Seek out, develop and participate in internal and external contacts and networks for the exchange of information and the formation of possible future research collaboration.
- Disseminate conceptual and complex ideas to a wide variety of audiences using appropriate media and methods to promote understanding.
- Write up the results of own research for submission for higher degree and for the production of research reports and publications.
Team work, teaching & learning support
- Actively participate as a member of the research team, as well as the wider school/faculty and colleagues at St John’s Institute of Dermatology, GSTT, and within the Faculty of Dentistry, Oral & Craniofacial Sciences. Work and collaborate with colleagues on joint projects and areas of shared research areas as required.
- Share skills and knowledge acquired during research activity with colleagues, so that it becomes available to the department for future use in research projects.
- Participate in undergraduate and postgraduate teaching where required
- Provision of guidance and training to other scientists or students, both in laboratory safety regulations and in matters pertaining to the funded project
- Mentorship will be provided through combined supervision from Professor John McGrath, Dr Ciro Chiappini and Dr Mads Bergholt and experts on the thesis steering committee
- There is no formal clinical training in this post, but the CRF will be given the opportunity to attend genetic skin disease clinics under the supervision of one of our specialist consultants, to gain further clinical experience in in skin genetics and recruit patients to the study. There will be no ‘on call’ duties.
- The aim is to provide training in research methodologies (nanoneedle technology, bioengineering, Raman spectroscopy imaging, mass spectrometry imaging, machine learning) that can be applied to the clinical setting of assessing RDEB wounds, both in tissue samples and in the development of bedside testing. The translational impact is to be able to assess the status of a wound (how is it healing) and whether choice of dressings have an impact on the progress of wound healing.
- The CRF is expected to take part in clinical governance activities, where required, including clinical audit, clinical guideline and protocol development and clinical risk management.
- The post holder must maintain the confidentiality of information about patients, staff and other health service business in accordance with the Data Protection Act of 1998.
- The post holder must at all times carry out his/her responsibilities with regard to our Equal Opportunities Policy.
Health and Safety
- Employees must be aware of the responsibilities placed upon them under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, to ensure that the agreed safety procedures are carried out to maintain a safe working environment for patients, visitors and employees.
Number of programmed activities
Programmed activities for direct clinical care: Clinical work 0.5*
Academic Programmed activities Research 9.5
- The CRF will participate in 1 clinic (genetic skin disease) every 2 weeks for the time required to recruit the agreed number of patients to the study and to collect the required clinical material. There is no out-of-hours on-call associated with this post.
Clinical duties responsible to the Head of Service, GSTT
- The post holder will, together with consultant colleagues from the St John’s Institute of Dermatology contribute to the provision of relevant clinical services to the Guy’s and St Thomas’s NHS Foundation Trust. To include:
- Clinical management of patients pertinent to the clinical speciality of the post holder.
- Clinical responsibility for part of the relevant Services.
- The Fellow is expected to participate in clinical interactions with in-patients and out-patients that relate to the Fellow’s principal research focus, including clinics within the St. John’s Institute of Dermatology. Additionally, clinical responsibilities may include taking blood, skin swabs, or biopsies to obtain tissue or material related to the fellow’s research project.
All staff are expected to take part in clinical governance activity, including clinical audit, clinical guideline and protocol development and clinical risk management. They will be expected to produce evidence of their contribution in these areas are part of their annual appraisal.
All clinical staff are expected to contribute to the management and development of their clinical service. Additional clinical management roles will be recognised in the clinical duties
The above list of responsibilities may not be exhaustive, and the post holder will be required to undertake such tasks and responsibilities as may reasonably be expected within the scope and grading of the post.
Skills, knowledge, and experience
- Full GMC Registration
- UK recognised Medical Degree
- Dermatology specialisation qualification (in progress or completed)
- Word processing skills
- Knowledge of skin cancer biology
- Previous experience in general dermatology
- Good communication skills
- Good organisational and management skills
- Evidence of understanding of and adherence to the principles of Good Medical Practice set out by the General Medical Council
- Ability to work effectively with colleagues, patients, relatives, GPs, and other agencies
- Enthusiasm and ability to work under pressure
- Caring attitude to patients
- Intercalated degree (e.g. BSc)/other qualifications
- Presentation of research findings at international meetings
- Basic statistical knowledge
- Understanding of the research process
- Personal commitment to genetic skin disease studies