Clinical Research Fellow (ITD-CRD-2019-34)

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Job description

We are seeking to appoint a Clinical Research Fellow to be based in either Zimbabwe, Botswana or Malawi to work with on an NIHR-funded project entitled “Translational Research to Reduce Mortality from CNS Infections in Africa”. The project is directed by Professor Joe Jarvis, who is based full-time in Gaborone, Botswana, and is closely aligned with the large EDCTP-funded AMBITION study, which is coordinated through LSHTM. The project team also includes an Assistant Professor and a Research Assistant.

Infections of the central nervous system (CNS) are major causes of mortality in low- and middle-income countries. In sub-Saharan Africa CNS infections are a leading cause of death in HIV-infected adults, accounting for up to 30% of early mortality in ART programmes. Detailed understanding of the aetiology of adult meningitis in this setting is of critical importance to inform diagnostic pathways and treatment strategies. Novel affordable point-of-care diagnostic tests for meningitis, with the ability to detect multiple pathogens simultaneously, are urgently needed to facilitate diagnosis, screening and prevention strategies. Effective treatments are required to improve patient outcomes. The project seeks to improve outcomes of adult meningitis in high HIV-prevalence African settings. Specific objectives are to:

(1) Develop a meningitis surveillance network using enhanced molecular diagnostics and metagenomic sequencing to describe meningitis aetiology, and determine the clinical impact of concurrent CNS pathogens;

(2)  Validate novel multiplex and rapid meningitis diagnostic technologies community and inpatient settings;

(3)  Evaluate novel short-course liposomal amphotericin B based treatment for HIV-associated CM in a multicentre phase-III randomized controlled trial (the AMBITION-cm study);

(4)  Investigate host genetic susceptibility to cryptococcal meningitis performing HLA genotyping, KIR genotyping, and a genome wide association study (GWAS) with linked immune phenotyping in a cohort of HIV-infected individuals with CM and controls.

The proposed research builds on ongoing meningitis surveillance and diagnostic studies in Botswana, and is closely aligned to an ongoing EDCTP / Joint Global Health Trials funded Phase III cryptococcal meningitis treatment trial in Botswana, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Malawi, and Uganda (the AMBITION-cm study - The research findings will enable diagnostic and treatment strategies across Africa to be updated, leading to significant improvements in outcomes from meningitis. The results of the trial have the potential to provide a highly effective treatment option for cryptococcal meningitis that is practical and accessible in Africa with the potential to prevent many thousands of deaths. In addition, advances in the understanding of the pathophysiology of cryptococcal infection will inform future patient-targeted immune modulation therapy.

The successful applicant will be primarily responsible for the clinical aspects of the meningitis surveillance, diagnostics, and genomics research studies, including (i) development of the meningitis surveillance network using enhanced molecular diagnostics and metagenomic assays to describe meningitis aetiology; (ii) collection of clinical data from prospective cohorts of patients presenting with suspected CNS infections in sub-Saharan African hospitals; (iii) communication of diagnostic test results to clinical colleagues and providing guidance on appropriate patient management; and (iv) overseeing recruitment of patient cohorts for genomic studies exploring host-susceptibility to HIV-associated meningitis. The post holder will be based at one of the collaborating sites in Africa (likely Botswana and/or Zimbabwe) and be expected to work closely with collaborating partners in both the UK and elsewhere in Africa. There will be substantial scope for the post-holder to perform statistical analyses, to develop analytical skills, and to develop and answer novel research questions within the overall project and through further research grant applications. If interested, the candidate could also gain laboratory medicine experience and assist with laboratory aspects of the study. 

We are therefore seeking to recruit a clinically qualified candidate with a strong interest in international health / public health epidemiology / infectious diseases research. The candidate will have completed Core Medical Training (or equivalent) and ideally have experience in arelevant clinical specialty such as infectious diseases, microbiology, neurology, or critical care medicine. Prior experience of clinical work in an African hospital setting and clinical research are highly desirable, but not essential. The ability to work independently with remote supervision is essential, as is a meticulous approach to clinical work and research. Further particulars are included in the attached job description. 

This full-time post is funded by the UK National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) for a period of 36 months, starting on or shortly after 1 January 2020. The maximum starting salary for this post is £38,156 per annum (plus £2,162 displacement allowance per annum), point 4 on the clinical academic pay scales below consultant level. Annual leave entitlement is 30 working days per year, pro rata for part time staff. In addition to this there are discretionary “Director’s Days”. Membership of the Pension Scheme is available. An appointee relocating overseas may be eligible for additional allowances. 

The post holder will be required to work full-time in Africa (either Zimbabwe, Botswana or Malawi) for some or all of the 36-month contract duration. Applications should be made online via our website at The reference for this post is ITD-CRD-2019-34. Online applications will be accepted by the automated system until 10pm on the closing date. Any queries regarding the application process may be addressed to

The supporting statement section should set out how your qualifications, experience and training meet each of the selection criteria. Please provide one or more paragraphs addressing each criterion. The supporting statement is an essential part of the selection process and thus a failure to provide this information will mean that the application will not be considered. An answer to any of the criteria such as “Please see attached CV” will not be considered acceptable.

Please note that if you are shortlisted and are unable to attend on the interview date it may not be possible to offer you an alternative date. 

Closing Date: 17 Nov 2019
Category: Academic

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