Job type: Full-time, Contract

Salary: £32,331 - £39,691 a year

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Job content

Reference number



£32,331 - £39,691


Higher Executive Officer

Contract type

Fixed Term

Length of employment

Until 30-Sep-2022

Type of role


Working pattern


Number of posts



London, NW9 5EQ

About the job


An exciting opportunity has arisen for a Healthcare Scientist in the Respiratory Virus Unit (RVU) within the Virus Reference Department (VRD) at the National Infection Service, Colindale. RVU is the WHO National Influenza Centre (NIC) for the UK and the National Reference Laboratory for a range of respiratory virus pathogens including MERS CoV and RSV. The main focus of the laboratory’s work is to provide specialist reference services for influenza and other respiratory virus pathogens through surveillance programmes and outbreak investigations in the UK and internationally.

We are seeking to appoint an enthusiastic, reliable, efficient and extremely organised person with substantial virology experience, who can demonstrate good interpersonal skills, being able to lead in a team and work across teams within the department. The successful applicant will provide, together with the Scientific Lead, technical leadership of the team for delivery of culture, serology and molecular epidemiology of influenza and other respiratory viruses, with particular focus on seasonal, avian and pandemic influenza viruses, as part of influenza surveillance and pandemic preparedness.

Job description

The successful applicant will hold a university BSc degree in Virology, Microbiology or Biomedical Science. Previous working experience with respiratory viruses, including cell culture and virus inoculations is essential. Proven team leadership skills are required, and technical experience to assess and improve new and existing systems and processes is highly desirable.


This post holder will:

Take delegated responsibility from the scientific leads and unit technical manager for:

  • Ensuring the routine surveillance of SARS, RSV and influenza section meets the agreed quality standards so that service delivery is safe, effective and economical
  • Contributing to all sections of the unit and to VRD and other working groups, as required
  • To provide professional leadership for members of staff for whom s/he is accountable, leading staff by example and in a manner which will encourage the development of a positive attitude by each member


Technical/Scientific/Reference Services

To take responsibility for the routine surveillance of SARS, RSV and influenza viruses section of the RVU laboratory work according to relative priorities set by the unit technical manager and scientific leads

  • To be responsible for maintaining a high standard of professional competence in the performance of all tests and investigations carried out in the laboratory.
  • To be responsible for unit IQC. and EQA. where appropriate, monitoring and analysing performance.
  • To take responsibility for the day-to-day supervision and organisation of routine surveillance of RSV and influenza viruses in samples derived from clinical material.
  • To ensure the provision of an efficient, effective and timely routine surveillance service.
  • To be responsible for introducing and maintaining methodologies in accordance with PHE policy.
  • To act as first-line “trouble-shooter” when and where appropriate, and to bring problems to the attention of senior staff.
  • To demonstrate a good understanding of clinical virology, and to maintain scientific and specialist knowledge commensurate with an experienced Healthcare Scientist. Also, to undergo further training as may be necessary.
  • To ensure important or unusual results are drawn to the attention of senior staff and/or medical staff, and to report complaints and anomalies as soon as possible.
  • To communicate effectively with all members of the virology team and other healthcare professionals.
  • To perform a range of specialist virological, technical and scientific activities on samples referred from other laboratories.
  • Tissue culture for identification of influenza virus and RSV, with typing of influenza strains.
  • Preparation and testing of antisera.
  • Use of respiratory virus culture systems and quantification by various methods including Haemagglutination assay, plaque assay and microscopy (CPE detection)
  • Typing assays including Haemagglutination Inhibition and neutralisation assays.
  • The preparation of results for external electronic transmission.
  • To review and monitor the transport of samples between different sampling and testing centres.
  • Preparation and maintenance of virus stock.
  • Organise surveillance kit supply to RCGP and other clinical collaborators as appropriate.
  • Receipt of suspected Containment Level 3 (CL3) samples into unit and processing at the appropriate level of containment.
  • Assisting with the setting up and running of externally funded studies.
  • To participate in and support the R&D activities within the laboratory and the organisation


  • An environment with flexible working options
  • A culture encouraging inclusion and diversity
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Deadline: 21-06-2023

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