Post-Doctoral Research Post on an Academia-Industry collaborative project “Design of a multivalent heartworm vaccine targeting structural and immunomodulatory antigens

Project Description
A two year post-doctoral post is available at the Institute of Infection, Veterinary and Ecological Sciences, University of Liverpool, UK, in Dr Benjamin Makepeace’s lab. The project is focused on the identification of structural and immunomodulatory antigens from the ‘heartworm’ parasite of dogs and cats, Dirofilaria immitis, the immunological activity of which will be characterized in vitro. This will constitute a springboard for the development of immunological approaches to prevent and control heartworm infections in dogs and cats. The research will entail integrated, multi-disciplinary collaborations within the University of Liverpool and between the University and the pharmaceutical company Vetoquinol. In particular, the collaboration with the latter will allow the post-doctoral scientist to develop several technical and soft skills pertaining to project management, strategic and analytical thinking, problem-solving and public speaking.

Start date:
January 4, 2021.

Expected end date:
December 31, 2022.

Contract type:
2 year-contract, to be provided by Vetoquinol UK Ltd

Principal Investigator:
Dr Benjamin Makepeace BSc (Hons), MSc, PhD

Dr Vincenzo Lorusso DVM (Hons), PhD, DipEVPC, DipACVM, MDP

(Global Scientific Manager for Parasitology at Vetoquinol)

• Design and perform laboratory experiments (first in the parasitology, then in the biochemistry lab) according to the objectives and timeline to be agreed concertedly with the collaborative research team
• Analyse and interpret results and define the next experiments accordingly
• Critically review preliminary findings and existing literature in the field
• Convey results periodically, in the form of reports and presentations, to the collaborative research team
• Project-manage research activities throughout the 2 year-timeline
• Meet (virtually or in-person) the industrial partner to provide project progress updates.


• PhD in molecular parasitology or immunology
• Experience with proteomics, sequencing and bio-informatics tools
• Track record of relevant publications in international peer-reviewed journals
• Knowledge of immunology and parasitic infections
• Fluency in both spoken and written English
• Excellent interpersonal skills
• Capacity to work in an interdisciplinary international team
• Problem-solving, multi-tasking, ‘thinking ahead’ and result-oriented attitude
• Capacity to work under time constraints and meet the established deadlines and targets
• Effective communication and reporting skills, to be exerted within an academic and industrial environment
• Great sense of initiative, resilience and entrepreneurship in the laboratory
• Intellectual curiosity and eagerness to learn
• Willingness to travel to France and internationally periodically
• Willingness to relocate to Liverpool (unless based within commuting distance)
• Willingness to potentially train and supervise undergraduate and postgraduate students
• Prior experience with research on helminths, in particular the ‘heartworm’ Dirofilaria immitis
• Knowledge of veterinary immunology (particularly in dogs or cats)
• Prior Post-Doc experience in the area of molecular parasitology and/or immunology
• Past experience with successful industry-academia partnerships
• Command of French would be beneficial

To apply:
Please send your CV and a Motivation Letter to the attention of Dr Benjamin Makepeace and Dr Vincenzo Lorusso at: and

Specify in the email subject: “Post-Doctoral post Heartworm Antigens”.

Salary: £34,805 – £37,000 depending on prior experience
Application Deadline:
23.59 (UK time) of November 19th, 2020.

For all enquiries, please contact Dr Benjamin Makepeace at