Head of Cell Therapy Research & Development

King's College London


Role purpose

The post holder will assist the Director of Centre for Gene Therapy and Regenerative Medicine to progress the Centre’s pipeline of cell therapies from pre-clinical development through to manufacture of GMP ATMPs for use in clinical trials.

They will focus particularly on facilitating the process development, validation and manufacturing of GMP grade embryonic stem cell derived cell products. This is a senior role within the Centre and one which has a cross-linking role with translational research and development throughout King’s.

The post-holder will primarily focus on leading the development of cell therapy for retinal dystrophy, but will be expected to engage with other cell therapy research within CGTRM. The post-holder will be expected to perform day-to-day supervision of the junior researchers and technicians in the ocular cell therapy group. In collaboration with senior researchers, the post-holder will lead the activities of the group, including (but not restricted to) assignment and oversight of shared activities/laboratory chores, decision making on experimental matters, use of shared resources, etc. The post-holder will be expected to write and review papers, and present the group’s research at scientific meetings. 

This is an indefinite contract.  

This is a full-time post – 100% full time equivalent

•         Be responsible for developing cell therapy process/technology development within the Centre and transfer of process to GMP manufacturing, particularly retinal cell therapy products  

•         Support the Director in developing proposals and budgets for funding applications to support process development and manufacturing of cell therapies.  

•         Supervise the generation of GMP-compliant processes for the manufacture of cell therapy products by translational research teams within the Centre.  

•         Oversee operations for transfer of cell therapy manufacturing processes from Centre research labs to GMP facilities for further process development and manufacturing. 

•         They will support the Director in teaching on post graduate courses covering advanced therapies and will assist in the clinical translation of cell therapy projects developed within KCL by providing guidance to KCL investigators on generation of ATMPs for clinical trials.  


Work closely with the Director to develop and deliver the vision and strategy for the Centre for Regenerative Medicine   

To identify and address challenges to ensure Centre and KCL objectives are met.  

To promote the activities of the Centre both internally and externally as appropriate with the advice of the Director.  

  •  Management of Process Development  

To manage the development of new GMP processes and assays by effective planning and assigning responsibility and duties to appropriate staff members.  

Lead pre-clinical development of cell therapy approaches for the treatment of retinal diseases.

Lead the development, optimisation and execution of maintenance – and differentiation culture of mouse and human pluripotent stem cell lines 

Provide day-to-day leadership to the cell transplantation team, such as the assignation of general lab chores, oversight of cell lines in culture, supervision of QC experiments and outcomes, engaging with group leaders when required to resolve issues  

Assist, supervise and train other members of the group, including students and other research staff in their application in related lab projects. 

Manage the progress and set goals for achievement of project aims in collaboration with team leaders including the execution of literature reviews, data collection and analysis, and report preparation. 

Management of Centre Staff 

To assist Director in recruitment and line management of grant-funded technical personnel for retinal cell therapy projects and GMP operations and perform appraisals.  

To be responsible for line managing staff including their professional development, attendance and discipline to create a high performing team.  

To provide leadership, direction and feedback to team and help achieve individual objectives.  

To ensure that staff members have adequate training to perform their duties effectively.  

To initiate and propose development training programs with staff members and to ensure that these training programs are successfully completed and fully implemented.  

To foster effective communication and team building 

  • Project and Resource Management within Centre  

To continually evaluate project risk and develop appropriate contingencies.  

To assist Director and project sponsors with the preparation and completion of relevant aspects of grant applications as appropriate and when required.  

To monitor and advise the Director and project sponsors on the progress of projects against agreed schedules.  

To assist core GMP management staff within KCL and NIHR GSTT BRC GMP facilities to maintain an auditable design history file for all projects.  

  • Organisational Citizenship/Awareness  

To promote KCL’s values and corporate objectives to colleagues and externally to KCL.  

To demonstrate a commitment to promote equality and diversity ensuring KCL is an inclusive environment in which individuals are respected and unacceptable behaviours challenged.  

To manage self and others in accordance with KCL policies and contribute to quality policy development within the Centre and KCL.  

To contribute to cross-disciplinary activity in line with the objectives of the Centre, NIHR GSTT BRC and KCL.  

To participate actively in board meetings and committees as advised by the Director.  

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.  

Essential criteria

1.       Background in Biology or Biotechnology related to the field of cell therapy and at PhD level  

2.       Experience in retinal cell therapy research (ES cell differentiation, retinal organoids, photoreceptor  cell transplantation) 

3.       Experience with animal work, flow cytometry, histology   

4.       Experience of GMP process development  

5.       Previous experience of project management and in managing multi-disciplinary teams in research organisations 

6.       Outstanding communication skills  

7.       Target/deadline focussed  

Desirable criteria 

1.        GMP manufacturing experience

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