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Research Assistant / Associate in Computational DNA/RNA Nanotechnology

Requisition ID:  3221

Newcastle, GB

Contract Type:  Fixed Term
Posted Date: 


We are a world class research-intensive university. We deliver teaching and learning of the highest quality. We play a leading role in economic, social and cultural development of the North East of England. Attracting and retaining high-calibre people is fundamental to our continued success.


Salary: £28,331.00 - £33,797.00 

Closing Date: 8 March 2020


The role


This exciting research opening is looking for a Senior Computational Nanotechnologist to work as part of a highly interdisciplinary team in project EnDROIDS, our recently funded Royal Academy of Engineering ten year long quest to bridge nanotechnology and synthetic biology to achieve sophisticated in vivo information processing.


You will have responsibility for carrying out world-leading research on the design and modelling of DNA/RNA strand displacement, DNA/RNA origami and RNA aptamers systems.  You will use existing tools such as, e.g., oxDNA, cadnano, cando, tiamat, etc, and other tools built in our own lab. You will also be expected to develop its own novel algorithms and methods to design and model DNA and RNA systems that operate within in vitro, cell-extract and cell-free arrangements as well as in vivo. You will have the opportunity to work closely with experimentalist and have access to state-of-the-art computational and bio-nano-technology equipment to test, debug and improve its computational designs and model predictions.


You will require regular liaison with the other investigators in the project (specifically) and the research group (more generally) to aid in designing experiments to refine the design and modelling tools, organising workloads and data analysis and interpretation. You will provide assistance to, and training of, academic, technical and research staff and students on specific computational techniques and in the use of specialised computing equipment when necessary. You will keep excellent records of all computational experiments, procedures, protocols, workflows and outcomes, enabling reuse, interpretation with team members and delivery of project milestones.


You must be able to spend time away from Newcastle visiting collaborators' labs and attending business meetings outside Newcastle, including international conferences.


This role is fixed term for 36 months.


Informal enquiries can be made to Professor Krasnogor at natalio.krasnogor@newcastle.ac.uk.


Key Accountabilities


  • Design of DNA/RNA strand displacement, DNA/RNA origami and RNA aptamers multi-scaled systems with target functionalities.
  • Development of multi-scale models of DNA/RNA strand displacement systems, DNA/RNA origami and RNA aptamers to achieve target functionalities.
  • Development of high-performance computing code for running the software tools used or developed for points 1 & 2 above.
  • Contribute to the design of wet-lab experiments to validate, debug and improve all the software created.
  • Improve the algorithms and tools used or developed in 1,2 & 3 above based on experimental data from in vitro systems, cell-extract and cell-free systems as well as in vivo systems.
  • Following and establishing good software engineering practices within the project and across the research group's projects (e.g. via use of version control system).
  • Contribution to writing scientific papers
  • Oral presentations at meetings, workshops and conferences

The Person (Essential)


Knowledge, Skills and Experience


  • Experience with DNA/RNA computational design or computational modelling for strand displacement systems, origami or aptamers.
  • Publication of work in peer-reviewed conferences and journals.
  • Expert in Java, Ruby, Python or C/ C++ programming.
  • Competence in Linux / OS X programming environments.


  • Demonstrable experience with molecular computation, e.g. DNA computing, or molecular fabrication, e.g. DNA or RNA origami techniques, DNA or RNA programmable self-assembly (e.g. Winfree's tiles), etc.
  • Demonstrable experience following good software engineering practices
  • Demonstrable experience working with experimentalists on the above techniques.
  • Demonstrable experience in synthetic biology.
  • Presentation of work at scientific meetings.


Attributes and Behaviour


  • An ability to communicate effectively via oral and written media (e.g technical reports, papers, presentations).
  • Capacity for original thought.
  • Enthusiastic, hard working and goal-setter.
  • Ability to interact with people from different disciplines.
  • Ability to supervise student projects.
  • Punctual and generally dependable.


  • Communication skills with the public.



  • An undergraduate degree in computer science, physics, chemistry, engineering, mathematics, or related fields.
  • A PhD (Research Associate) or being in the final year of the PhD before the starting date of this position.




Newcastle University is committed to being a fully inclusive Global University which actively recruits, supports and retains staff from all sectors of society.  We value diversity as well as celebrate, support and thrive on the contributions of all our employees and the communities they represent.  We are proud to be an equal opportunities employer and encourage applications from everybody, regardless of race, sex, ethnicity, religion, nationality, sexual orientation, age, disability, gender identity, marital status/civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, as well as being open to flexible working practices.


The University holds a silver Athena SWAN award in recognition of our good employment practices for the advancement of gender equality.  The University also holds the HR Excellence in Research award for our work to support the career development of our researchers, and is a member of the Euraxess initiative supporting researchers in Europe.


Please be advised that due to the minimum salary thresholds imposed by the UKVI, this post may not qualify for University sponsorship under Tier 2 of the points based system.


Requisition ID: 3221