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Research Assistant/Associate /Senior Associate in NanoBio Technology

Requisition ID:  6325

Newcastle, GB

Contract Type:  Fixed Term
Working Pattern:  Full Time
Posted Date:  27-May-2021


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:  Research Assistant   £28,331 - £32,817

             Research Associate  £30,942 - £40,322

             Senior Research Associate   £41,526 - £49,553


Closing Date: 24 June 2021



The role


This exciting Research Assistant/Associate opening is looking for an expert DNA/RNA nanotechnologist to work as part of a highly interdisciplinary, multi-national recently founded H2020 grant on “AI-enabled RNA nanotechnology DElivery SysTem for INformATION transfer into cells”.  The candidate will become a member of the ICOS Research Group (https://ico2s.org), which has state-of-the-art DNA/RNA and microbiology experimental facilities as well as computational infrastructure. The candidate will work under the direction of Prof. N. Krasnogor and Dr. E. Torelli.


You will have the opportunity to carry out laboratory-based research on novel nanocargo packaging & delivery molecular systems using RNA/DNA based origami, DNA/RNA strand displacement and molecular computation with the purpose of ferrying information in to and out of cells. The information to be transfer to/from cells could be any data encoding, e.g., sequences of 0s & 1s representing images or books as well as therapeutic proteins mRNA.


This project will involve working with computer scientists on the definition of informational, biological, chemical & physical constraints for the DNA/RNA based nanocargo packaging & delivery systems as well as the experimental aspects of their in vitro implementation and of cell transformations for their utilisation in vivo. You will seek to utilise the whole gamut of DNA/RNA nanotechnology and molecular biology techniques to generate, store, and retrieve nanocargo into/from the molecular packaging & delivery system you will design and then test its functioning within prokaryotes and eukaryote cells. You will have the opportunity to work closely with computational scientist, bioinformaticians, chemists and physicists and you will have access to a state-of-the-art nano-bio technology laboratory.


You will also work collaboratively with other biologists, nanotechnologists and scientific computing experts in the wider consortium of 7 partners from the UK, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Germany and Spain to achieve the project’s goals and, in particular, to achieve the milestones set out for Newcastle within the project. You will keep excellent records of all laboratory experiments, procedures, protocols, workflows and outcomes, enabling reuse, interpretation by team members and delivery of project milestones. You will be responsible for reporting to the consortium and publishing the work done on the highest quality venues and presenting it where required.


We are seeking to appoint an individual with demonstrable communication skills and who is a consummate team player. You should have experience in producing experimental outputs efficiently and of a consistently high quality.  We are looking for an enterprising individual who can evidence success.


This position is available on a full time, fixed term basis, to start immediately and is tenable for 24 months from start date, or until the official project end date, whichever is soonest.


For any informal enquiries please contact Prof. Natalio Krasnogor, Professor of Computing Science and Synthetic Biology via email: Natalio.Krasnogor@newcastle.ac.uk 


For more information about School of Computing and our research, please click here.


Key Accountabilities


1.    Design, experimentally implement, test and characterise novel nanocargo packaging & delivery molecular systems into/out of cells
2.    Utilise RNA/DNA based origami, strand displacement and molecular computing to achieve the point above
3.    Development of repeatable experimental protocols for the above demonstrating the successful operation of the packaging & delivery system in both prokaryotes and eukaryotes 
4.    Contribute to the design of scalable, high-throughput automated workflows to speed-up laboratory operations for points 1, 2, 3
5.    Contribution to writing scientific papers and project reports
6.    Oral presentations at scientific meetings, workshops, conferences as well as business & consortium meetings


The Person (Essential)


Knowledge, Skills and Experience 


•    Demonstrable laboratory experience with DNA/RNA nanotechnology, e.g. origami, strand displacement systems, molecular computing, wireframed nano structures, in vivo/in vitro nano motors/actuators, in vitro/in vivo nano-sensors, genetically encoded materials, etc
•    Demonstrable laboratory experience in synthetic biology, microbiology, molecular biology, biochemistry, e.g., DNA sequencing and synthesis, plasmids and chromosomal manipulation techniques, reverse transcriptases, flipases, CRISPR/CAS system, CRISPR prime , integron systems, operons design and assembly, DNA replication, stability, data encoding/decoding in DNA/RNA, cloning and transformation in Bacillus spp., E. coli, S.cerevisiae, P. pastoris, CHO cells, etc.
•    Publication of work in peer-reviewed journals
•    Demonstrable experience in laboratory automation
•    Demonstrable experience of, or at least an understanding of, AFM and fluorescence microscopy and it application
•    Use standard bioinformatics and statistical computer programs to analyse laboratory data, e.g., via Python, Ruby or Java programming languages
•    Demonstrable experience working with computer scientists, mathematicians, modellers or colleagues of a different discipline
•    Presentation of work at group meetings scientific events


Attributes and Behaviour


•    Excellent communication skills both oral and written (e.g technical reports, papers, presentations, pitches, etc)
•    Capacity for original thought and independent action
•    Enthusiastic, hardworking and goal-setter
•    Ability to interact with people from different disciplines and work as part of a team
•    Punctual and generally dependable
•    Communication skills with the general public




•    PhD awarded in nanotechnology, synthetic biology, biotechnology biochemistry or a very closely related discipline
•    Candidates must be able to spend time away from Newcastle visiting collaborators' labs and attending business meetings outside Newcastle, including international conferences and industrial partners



The School holds a bronze Athena SWAN award in addition to the University’s silver 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.


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.


Requisition ID: 6325