Share this Job

Research Assistant/Associate in AI & fragment based drug discovery

Requisition ID:  13927

Newcastle, GB

Contract Type:  Fixed Term
Working Pattern:  Full Time
Posted Date:  19-Nov-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: - £28,756 - £30,497 for Research Assistant

Starting Salary £31,406 - £33,309 rising to £44,706 for Research Associate 

Closing Date: 13/12/2021


The Role


An exciting opportunity has arisen for a talented and enthusiastic scientist to be part of an early stage project within the Newcastle University Biosciences Institute with Professor Wyatt Yue focussing on translating enzymic mechanisms to novel drug discovery. This project is aimed towards identifying and characterising small molecule mimics that act on a multiprotein enzyme complex.  Working closely with an AI technology company in hit identification, you will carry out hit validation using x-ray crystallography, cryo-EM and biophysical assays, to drive iterative cycles of ligand design, with the overall goal of the project is chemical starting points to develop novel therapy for a debilitating rare disease.


You will have hands on experience in determining structures of protein complexes by x-ray crystallography or cryo-Em.  Experience in structure based drug discovery would be highly advantageous.  


This post is a full time position tenable for 24 months or until 31/12/2023.  


Further information can be obtained by contacting Prof Wyatt Yue (wyatt.yue@newcastle.ac.uk) or from the lab’s webpage (https://www.staff.ncl.ac.uk/yuelab/)   

As part of our commitment to career development for research colleagues, 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

•    Working under the general guidance of Principal Investigator, the postholder will contribute ideas, including enhancements to the technical or methodological aspects of the project 
•    Develop and carry out the specified project using appropriate techniques, methodologies and equipment in structural biology and protein biophysics 
•    Begin to write, with appropriate support, proposals for individual research funding 
•    Assess research findings for the need/scope for further investigations
•    Present research findings, either at conferences or through publications in reputable outlets for the field of structure-based drug design
•    May be involved in the supervision, with guidance, of final year undergraduate research projects and in providing support to postgraduate research students or Research technicians 
•    May contribute to events celebrating the public engagement of science, and patient advocacy events
•    Develop an awareness of undertaking personal professional development
•    Protein production and complex formation in a recombinant host system
•    Biophysical studies involving enzyme kinetics, ligand binding, and protein-protein interaction (ITC, SPR, BLI)
•    Protein-ligand co-structures using x-ray crystallography and cryo-electron microscopy
•    Analysis of protein-ligand co-structures to design small molecules

The Person


Knowledge, Skills and Experience 

•    Ability to work well as part of a team and rapidly acquire new skills
•    High level knowledge and experience in the areas of structural biology and fragment-based drug discovery, directly related to the research project 
•    High level of analytical and problem-solving capability 
•    Experience of research with clear transferable skills, meeting agreed milestones, and close interactions with external collaborators 
•    Experience in Presentations at conferences, and/or writing for peer-reviewed high-quality publications
•    Experience in using x-ray crystallography and complementary biophysical methods for characterizing protein-small molecule interactions 

•    Experience in eukaryotic expression systems
•    Experience and knowledge in cryo-EM structure determination
•    Experience and knowledge in medicinal chemistry and fragment screening
•    Knowledge of AI or machine learning in drug discovery

Attributes and Behaviour

•    Excellent time management, analysis and presentation skills
•    Ability to prioritise tasks and manage multiple deadlines in collaboration with industry collaborator
•    Keeping up to date with new / improved techniques, knowledge, skills and research
•    Excellent written, oral communication, intellectual, numeracy and creative problem-solving skills
•    Adopt a team scientist approach to support the work of colleagues and students, and to make contributions to the general upkeep of the lab environment



•    A PhD award within the research area of structural biology or structure guided drug discovery or fragment-based screening for Research Associate 
•    Masters and/or PhD near completion for appointment as Research Assistant.


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.

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.

We understand how important the full employment package is to our colleagues at Newcastle University and we are committed to providing a great range of benefits and discounts for all.  You can learn more about what is available here on our Benefits Website page.

Requisition ID: 13927