Clinical Research Associate, The Rheumatology Research Group

United Kingdom
Sep 28, 2016
Nov 01, 2016
Organization Type
University and College
Full Time

Job Purpose

BIO-FLARE (BIOlogical Factors that Limit sustAined REmission in rheumatoid arthritis) is a unique programme led by the University of Newcastle (PI Prof John Isaacs) partnered with the Universities of Birmingham (PI Prof Chris Buckley) and Glasgow (Prof Iain McInnes). This exciting 4-year programme will provide a greatly enhanced understanding of the pathways and mechanisms that cause patients with RA to experience flares of their condition. It is based on the observation that 50% of patients with RA in remission on synthetic disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) will flare if those DMARDs are discontinued. Therefore, by following consenting patients carefully after DMARD discontinuation, and sampling and analysing their blood and synovium at intervals, we will be able to map the immunological, stromal and epigenetic changes that occur around the time of flare. These ‘pathways of flare’ may also have relevance to the earliest stages of RA. The Clinical Research Fellow will work within this £4 million research project and as part of the Arthritis Research UK Centre of Excellence in Rheumatoid Arthritis Pathogenesis (RACE), jointly held by all three Universities in this consortium. Each university will recruit one clinical research fellow. The fellow will also have the opportunity to submit for a postgraduate higher degree (i.e. PhD) at the end of the programme.

RACE aims to perform a comprehensive ‘systems biology’ based evaluation of RA, from pre-RA to chronicity, building upon existing funded programmes. Directly reflecting current unmet clinical needs, our goals are to elucidate mechanisms that underlie emergence of autoimmunity in RA, factors that mediate transition to and maintain chronicity of synovial inflammation, and factors that dictate response to therapy. Our aims are to unravel the complex interplay that exists between professional immune cells and stromal cellular pathways that together contrive to perpetuate, or resolve, articular inflammation. Our vision includes a state-of-the art, integrated technical capability within which scientists and expertise can move seamlessly between groups, and an outstanding multi-centre PhD and post-doctoral training programme to provide a unique national resource for the development of future rheumatology research leaders. We will therefore create a world-leading, first-in-class facility for the UK to enhance understanding of RA pathogenesis, to identify novel biomarkers, and to create curative therapeutics.

The Rheumatology Research Group (RRG) sits within the Institute of Inflammation and Ageing, one of seven research institutes in the College of Medical and Dental Sciences at the University of Birmingham. The RRG is a multidisciplinary team of academic and clinical rheumatologists, biological and social scientists, general practitioners, allied health professionals and patient representatives. Truly collaborative on a global scale, the world-leading RRG research focusses on understanding the epidemiology, mechanisms and pathobiology of three major autoimmune rheumatic diseases; Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), Systemic Lupus Erythromatosus (SLE) and Sjogren’s Syndrome (SS). The RRG currently has over £10 million of live funding, from Arthritis Research UK, the Medical Research Council, the Wellcome Trust, NIHR, European Commission and several hospital trusts and industry. The vast range of RRG fundamental science expertise includes stromal cell and immune pathobiology, metabolomics in rheumatic disease and developing animal models of rheumatic disease. Clinically, the group has significant expertise in synovial biopsy, pathological effects of biological disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs and the psychology of chronic autoimmune disease

Person Specification

  • • Candidates should be registered with the GMC with a License to Practice.
  • • Medical degree with MRCP or equivalent
  • • Applicant should be on the Specialty Training Programme for Rheumatology at ST3 level or above; or with evidence of at least 1 years’ experience in Clinical Rheumatology
  • • Core clinical skills, including phlebotomy.
  • • Research experience within Rheumatology, ideally in the area of biomarkers of disease mechanisms
  • • Analytical and problem solving capability
  • • Ability to communicate complex information with clarity, both verbally and in writing
  • • Strong interpersonal skills, ability to get on well with colleagues.
  • • Ability to work both independently and as part of a team
  • • Ability to work towards departmental and Institute objectives.
  • • Excellent IT skills

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