NIBSC has excellent laboratory facilities for carrying its work. It has high-quality specialist laboratories able to deal with a wide variety of experimental work, including cell cultures work requiring clean rooms, infectious disease research under high containment, and in vivo studies.
Over £50m has been invested over the past 10 years to ensure that the facilities remain of a very high standard. The Institute is close to the M25 and has good transport links with easy access to all of London’s international airports, a rapid rail link to central London.
Edward Mee, Postdoctoral Scientist
I joined NIBSC as a postdoc in 2005 after completing a D.Phil. at the University of Oxford, where I investigated the use of fusion lipoproteins as vaccine adjuvants.
Live attenuated vaccines, including MMR and Oral Poliovirus Vaccine, are highly effective at preventing many infectious diseases. My research focuses on developing more sophisticated tests to ensure the continued safety and efficacy of such vaccines.
The first approach is to monitor batch-to-batch variation in the genetic composition of vaccines by deep sequencing. The second is the use of metagenomics to ensure potential contaminants in viral vaccines can be rapidly identified.
This involves wet-lab work to prepare RNA and DNA for sequencing, bioinformatics to subtract expected sequences and identify unexpected ones, and involvement in international studies to develop and evaluate reference materials for viral metagenomics.
I also work as part of a team performing quality control of rotavirus vaccines for release on the EU market.
The institute provides excellent laboratory space, state-of-the-art equipment and access to unique reagents and samples.
While modest in size, we boast expertise in all areas of biological medicine, and offer the opportunity to directly contribute to the safety of biological medicines.
In addition to developing my scientific skills, NIBSC has provided me with a unique insight into regulatory science, expanding my range of experience and career development options.
Dr Simon E Hufton, Principal Scientist
I joined NIBSC in 2009 as a principal scientist in the Biotherapeutics department.
I had previously worked in the biopharmaceutical industry.
My scientific interests lie in monoclonal antibody structure/function and how this relates to drug efficacy, quality and safety.
During my career I have worked in both academia and industry and am aware of the advantages and disadvantages of each career choice.
I think the principal attraction for my joining NIBSC is the unique position it has between academia and industry which means as a research scientist you can get the best of both worlds.
There is both the freedom to pursue academically interesting research whilst applying this to important healthcare problems.
The close links to industry, academia, regulators and health professionals means that the research done at NIBSC has the potential to translate into real public health benefits.
Dr Nicola Rose, Principal Scientist
I head up a team in the Virology division, having joined the institute in 2001.
I did my PhD in the genetics department at Leicester University after which I moved on to a post-doctoral position in virology at Cambridge University.
Cambridge was an excellent place for learning. Whether it was going to a conference or chatting over a coffee about someone’s pet virus, the relationships and experience I developed there proved invaluable as I formed my own group at NIBSC.
In my time at the institute I have primarily studied viral pathogenesis and have expanded my work into the control testing of live viral vaccines as well as development of materials (standards) that support the accurate testing of vaccine efficacy.
I really enjoy the diversity of my work and the interactions with other medicines control labs as well as our partners in academic research.
To me it feels as if the role of the institute bridges that of academia and industry.
This is a major attraction of NIBSC as many posts here offer a blend of regulatory and research programmes with tangible public health benefits from the work that we do.
The expertise that comes from the broad, translational science activities is of benefit within the agency as well as for careers in related public health sectors.