News: Post-doctoral Research Associate – Faculty of Health Division of Clinical Medicine - FAIS Africa

June 10, 2024 | |


 There is an exciting opportunity for someone to join the Clinical Infection Research Group (CIRG) as a post-doctoral research associate (PDRA). This position would suit a research associate with a strong interest in the field of infectious diseases immunology to be based between the UK and Zimbabwe.

The post holder will work on a project aiming to characterise hybrid SARS-CoV-2 immunity in Zimbabwean adults with HIV and other chronic diseases, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The PDRA will work on human samples collected as part of ongoing clinical studies looking at immune responses to infections and/or vaccines. Specifically, the post holder will work to characterise T-cell immunity and functional SARS-CoV-2 antibody responses in serum and the mucosal compartment generated by infection and inactivated vaccines.

One of the aims of the project is to increase the resilience in immunology laboratory capacity in Zimbabwe to ensure that assays can be easily adapted for future studies of T-cell, antibody and mucosal studies of SARS-CoV-2 and other pathogens. The post holder will benefit from laboratory training and supervision in Sheffield initially and will then be expected to spend the majority of the post based in Harare, Zimbabwe to conduct the study and help develop local scientific capacity.

In this senior role you will be expected to develop, validate and perform immunological assays using samples collected from clinical cohorts, and analyse and write up the results. You will be encouraged to publish research findings in high-quality, international journals, and to present your data at local group and departmental meetings, as well as national and international conferences. You will be involved in project planning and study design of new projects and encouraged to develop your own research ideas, with a view to future funding and fellowship applications. You will also be expected to support and train others in the team, including PhD students, laboratory scientists and visitors from collaborating institutions.

We are seeking a highly motivated early-career post-doctoral scientist with the potential to become a leader in the field of immunology. You should have a PhD in immunology and have sufficient specialist knowledge of immunological techniques of relevance to studying human immune responses. The post holder will work closely with a group of scientists, clinicians and bioinformaticians and it is therefore essential that the post holder has excellent communication skills as well as the ability to work flexibly in response to the needs of multiple projects.


As the successful applicant, you will work closely with research teams led by Prof Thushan de Silva, Prof Sarah Rowand-Jones, Prof Katharina Kranzer and Prof Andrew Prendergast. Prof Thushan de Silva is an infectious disease clinician scientist with a focus on immune responses to viral infections. His work involves clinical trials and cohort studies to collect human clinical material to use in state-of-the-art immunological assays, host and pathogen sequencing, and data analysis. His interests extend to multiple respiratory viral infections, including SARS-CoV-2. Prof Sarah Rowland-Jones research interest focuses on host-pathogen interactions in viral infections, with a particular interest in HIV infection. She divides her time between the University of Oxford and the University of Sheffield and collaborates closely with LSHTM research groups in Harare, Zimbabwe. Prof Katharina Kranzer is based in Harare, Zimbabwe where she is the deputy director of the Zim-LSHTM Research Partnership, a partnership between the LSHTM and the Biomedical Research and Training Institute (BRTI) in Harare, Zimbabwe. Prof Andrew Prendergast is a clinical scientist from Queen Mary University of London and is a paediatrician and immunologist who studies the interaction between infection, immunology and malnutrition, particularly in settings of high HIV prevalence. He is the Associate Director at Zvitambo and responsible for developing the human and technical capacity of the Zvitambo Laboratory to receive, process and analyse samples and also oversee the implementation of clinical assessment protocols and of field research protocols by the study teams.

This is a fixed term post for the duration of the project until the end of January 2026.

Please click here to read more about:

  • Person Specification
  • About the Team
  • About the School of Medicine and Population Health


Job Description: Main Duties and Responsibilities

  • Manage own academic research and administrative activities, guided by the PI and co-PIs. This involves small scale project management, to coordinate multiple aspects of work to meet deadlines
  • Adapt existing and develop new scientific techniques and experimental protocols for the study of immune responses to SARS-CoV-2, and lead establishment of these assays in Zimbabwe
  • Make detailed experimental observations and provide critical input on experimental designs and approaches
  • Gather, analyse, and present scientific data from the study, and provide regular updates to the PIs and research collaborators
  • Prepare, present and contribute to regular lab meetings, group- and departmental- scientific meetings
  • Contribute ideas for new research projects, develop ideas for generating research income, and present detailed research proposals to senior researchers
  • Collaborate in the preparation of scientific reports and lead the writing of research papers in high quality, international journals, also present papers and posters at local, national and international meetings
  • Act as a source of information and advice, as well as providing guidance and training to other members of the group and visitors on scientific protocols and experimental techniques
  • Take responsibility for the maintenance and ‘good’ running of laboratory equipment within the group providing training and advice when required
  • Monitor and maintain a safe working environment in accordance with Health and Safety procedures
  • Work flexibly across laboratories as required, including local departments and long periods of work overseas.
  • Maintain a regularly updated knowledge of the relevant research literature and attend meetings to keep abreast of developments in the field of research
  • You will make a full and active contribution to the principles of the ‘Sheffield Academic’. These include the achievement of excellence in applied teaching and research, and scholarly pursuits to make a genuine difference in the subject area and to the University’s achievements as a whole.
  • As a member of staff you will be encouraged to make ethical decisions in your role, embedding the University sustainability strategy into your working activities wherever possible.
  • Any other duties, commensurate with the grade of the post.

Reward Package

Terms and conditions of employment: Will be those for Grade 7 staff.

Salary for this grade: £37,099 – £45,585 per annum

This post is fixed-term with an end date of 31st January 2026.

 This post is full-time:

This role has been identified as a full-time post, but we are committed to exploring flexible working opportunities with our staff which benefit both the individual and the University. Therefore, we would consider flexible delivery of the role subject to meeting the business needs of the post. If you wish to explore flexible working opportunities in relation to this post, we encourage you to call or email the departmental contact listed below.

We are a campus based residential university and as such the expectation is that all staff will spend some of their time on campus. The university is committed to allowing its employees to work to a hybrid model with a combination of working on campus and remotely, where possible. This role has been identified as a role that could work to the hybrid model and if successful your manager will discuss these informal arrangements with you.

If you join the University you will have access to a Total Reward Package that includes a competitive salary, a generous Pension Scheme and annual leave entitlement, as well as access to a range of learning and development courses to support your personal and professional development. You will have access to your own personalised portal where you can also access a comprehensive selection of benefits and offers to suit your changing lifestyle needs, for example financial wellbeing, travel options, shopping and cinema discounts.

The University is committed to tackling the global climate emergency. Our sustainability strategy forms an integral part of all we do. We strive to embed this in all areas of university life, from our students’ education, the globally impacting international research we contribute, to campus life.

We aim to empower staff to work sustainably by giving them the knowledge to make ethical decisions at work and home. Staff have the opportunity to be involved in impactful sustainability projects through the nationally recognised Green Impact scheme.

Staff have access to excellent green benefits including the cycle to work scheme with discounts and free secure bike storage, as well as many greener choices across campus.

If you have an interest in this area, the university will strive to passionately support you in these commitments. Check out for more information.

The University of Sheffield recognises the importance of creating a positive environment, whereby all staff feel able to talk openly and with trust about wellbeing and mental health.

Selection – Next Steps

Closing date: For details of the closing date please view this post on our web pages at

Click here to read more information.