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Research Assistant / Associate

Requisition ID:  22761

Newcastle, GB

Contract Type:  Fixed Term
Working Pattern:  Full Time
Posted Date:  04-Oct-2022


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.


What’s in it for you? Newcastle University is a great place to work, with excellent benefits. We have a generous holiday package; plus the opportunity to buy more, great pension schemes and a number of health and wellbeing initiatives to support you.


Newcastle is an inclusive global University community where everyone is treated with dignity and respect.  As a University of Sanctuary, we aim to provide a welcoming place of safety for all, offering opportunities to people fleeing violence and persecution.


Newcastle University is committed to being a fully inclusive Global University which actively recruits, supports and retains colleagues 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.



Research Assistant: £29,619 - £31,411 per annum

Research Associate: £32,348 - £42,155  per annum


Closing Date: 18 October 2022


The Role


We are seeking a motivated Research Assistant / Associate to join our group of investigators (Lako, Thiele, Sernagor) at Bioscience Institute to assess photoreceptor engraftment and their ability to restore vision in early and advanced stages of Retinitis Pigmentosa using mouse models. The Research fellow will join a team of two other researchers (senior research fellow and research technician) and will specifically contribute to genetic engineering of pluripotent stem cell lines to incorporate a rod reporter, AAV injection in mice and 2-photon imaging + data analyses. As part of the team, the research fellow will also perform behavioural assays of transplanted mice, immunofluorescence and FISH analyses of transplanted retinas.


This MRC funded work follows from our recent work on characterisation and transplantation of CRX-photoreceptors in rd1 mice (PMID: 30681766) and their light responses (PMID: 33657251). 


A scientific background on pluripotent stem cell culture and differentiation to retinal organoids and retinal biology will be essential and applicants with record of accomplishment and expertise in gene editing in pluripotent stem cells and retinal organoids are preferred.  Importantly experience of animal handling, AAV injection into the visual cortex and/or 2-photon imaging, immunofluorescence analyses of mouse retinas are highly desirable for this post.


You will work under the direction of all three investigators from 3rd January 2023 fulltime for 3.5 years on a fixed term contract. 


For Informal enquiries please contact Professor Linda Lako (, Prof. Alex Thiele ( and Prof. Evelyne Sernagor (


As part of our commitment to career development for research staff, the University has developed 3 levels of research role profiles.  These profiles set out firstly the generic competences and responsibilities expected of role holders at each level and secondly the general qualifications and experiences needed for entry at a particular level.

Key Accountabilities

•    Use CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing to introduce a rod reporter into the CRX-GFP pluripotent stem cell line 
•    Perform the differentiation of human pluripotent stem cells to retinal organoids
•    Carry out AAV injection and 2-photon imaging of transplanted mice
•    Carry out behavioural tests in transplanted mice
•    Perform immunofluorescence and FISH analyses of transplanted retinas
•    Regular liaison with the Investigators and researchers working on retinal and stem cell differentiation team and collaborators to ensure high quality of research and timely delivery of the project goals 
•    Perform data extraction and analysis and ensure full compliance with existing ethical regulations as appropriate
•    Lead on the production of high level scientific information including analysing, writing and presenting reports and manuscripts relevant to the transplantation work
•    Continuously review the literature and technology relevant to the project and ensure that the outputs of the project are positioned appropriately in relation to other on-going work. 
•    Supervise BSc, MRes and BSc project students


The Person 


Knowledge, Skills and Experience 

•    Knowledge of retinal development
•    Experience in generation of retinal organoids from pluripotent stem cells
•    Experience in retinal tissue processing and immunohistochemistry or RNA-Scope
•    Experience in situ gene editing in pluripotent stem cells
•    Experience of animal handling
•    AAV injection in the visual cortex (Desirable)
•    2-photon imaging of transplanted mice (Desirable)
•    Evidence of a record of research including publication and presentation of data at conferences (Desirable)


Attributes and Behaviour

•    High level laboratory skills
•    Excellent organisation 
•    Attention to detail
•    Quick to learn new skills
•    IT literate and competent
•    Able to communicate effectively at all levels
•    Able to analyse and interpret data 
•    Strong critical thinking skills
•    Evidence of good oral communication skills; flexible independent working; initiative; and ability to work as part of a multi-disciplinary team
•    Excellent interpersonal skills
•    Able to prioritise key task and meet deadlines
•    Willingness to work outside normal hours and weekends as necessary 
•    Highly Motivated and enthusiastic 

•    Experience of supervision of junior staff members
•    Experience of managing/organising lab


•    Bachelor’s degree (or equivalent) in a science, medicine or health-related subject
•    PhD in a relevant subject area (Essential for Research Associate)




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.


Requisition ID: 22761