Research Fellow in Gene Therapy Vector Manufacture

University of Leeds - School of Molecular & Cellular Biology, Faculty of Biological Sciences

Are you an ambitious researcher looking for your next challenge? Do you have an established background in virology or biochemistry? Do you want to further your career in one of the UKs leading research intensive Universities?

The current progress in gene addition technologies is starting to allow gene therapy to meet its long-recognised potential. Recombinant adeno-associated virus (AAV) is one of several viral vectors that has demonstrated promise with clinical trials for the treatment of neuro-degenerative diseases, arthritis and cystic fibrosis amongst others. This burgeoning success, however, is threatened by difficulties in scaling up production and maintenance of functional product during bio-processing. We have previously shown that extensional hydrodynamic fluid flow is highly damaging to antibody therapeutics (Dobson et al. (2017) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 114:4673-4678). As gene therapy vectors are larger, more complex heterogeneous bio-molecules relative to antibodies, hydrodynamic stresses applied during manufacture will be greater which may lead to loss of payload, loss of structural integrity of the capsid or wholesale aggregation. 

This BBSRC BioProNEt funded project is a collaboration between researchers in Leeds (Dr David Brockwell and Professor Sheena Radford (School of Molecular and Cellular Biology) and Professor Nik Kapur (School of Mechanical Engineering)) and Cobra Biologics. The aim of the project is to examine the effect of extensional hydrodynamic flow on the structural and functional integrity of adeno-associated virus (AAV) gene therapy vectors. An understanding of how bioprocess flow parameters and manufacturing conditions affect the structure and function of gene therapy vehicles will allow the rational design of both robust gene therapy platforms and bio-processes.

You should have a PhD (or close to completion) in Virology, Biochemistry or closely allied disciplines. Experience in the handling and the characterisation of either aggregation prone proteins or AAV is essential.

To explore the post further or for any queries you may have, please contact:

Dr David Brockwell, Associate Professor

Tel: +44 (0)113 343 7821, email:

Contract Type:  Fixed Term (1 year - due to funding)

Salary: £32,548 to £38,833 p.a. Due to funding limitations it is unlikely an appointment will be made above £32,548 p.a.

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Northern England