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Research Assistant/Associate in Cell-Free Biochemistry

Requisition ID:  5416

Newcastle, GB

Contract Type:  Fixed Term
Working Pattern:  Full Time
Posted Date:  18-Nov-2020


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 - £30,046 per annum

            Research Associate: £30,942 - £32,817 per annum


Closing Date: 3 January 2021

The Role


This is an exciting opportunity for an experienced molecular biologist or biochemist with a keen interest in applied cell-free systems to join the Howard Group based in Plant and Microbial Biology, the School of Natural and Environmental Sciences (SNES), Newcastle University.  We are looking for an individual who is committed, motivated and with decision making ability together with an aptitude for independent working as well as working as part of a diverse, interdisciplinary team. You will be present at informal research events and review development meetings, publish research findings in journals, and disseminate findings at scientific conferences.


You will be undertaking laboratory work and associated data analysis for a BBSRC-funded research collaboration with the University of Portsmouth examining the potential for monitoring viral loads in water.  You will join the team to perform molecular cloning, gene expression, protein purification and subsequent characterisation. You will use statistical Design of Experiments and laboratory automation to facilitate this work. You will be provided with an excellent opportunity to contribute to a high impact research study with immediate outcomes relevant to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.


The post is full time, fixed term for 15 months.


For any informal enquiries, please contact Thomas Howard via email thomas.howard@newcastle.ac.uk


For more information about the School of Natural and Environmental Sciences, please click here. SNES holds an Athena SWAN Bronze award, in recognition of our commitment to advancing gender equality. We welcome applications from all members of our community and are particularly encouraging those from diverse groups, such as members of the LGBT+ and BAME communities, to join us.


Key Accountabilities


  • To rapidly design, assemble and test genetic constructs pertinent to the project goals
  • To contribute to data analysis and communication with research collaborators
  • To regularly liaise with research colleagues and collaborating with internal and external contacts to develop knowledge and understanding to support the overall aims of the project
  • To prepare and deliver presentations on research outputs/activities to audiences which may include: research collaborators, research sponsors, academic and non-academic audiences
  • To co-ordinate own work with that of others, deal with problems which may affect the achievement of research objectives and contribute to the planning of the project(s)
  • To present information on research progress and outcomes to the project PI and other consortium partners and project meetings
  • To present research findings, either at conferences (nationally and internationally) or through publications in appropriate journals
  • To work effectively to deadlines and manage, with support, competing priorities
  • To ensure that personal knowledge in relevant fields of study is kept up to date
  • To use research resources (including, where required, laboratories, workshops and specialist equipment) as appropriate
  • To maintain academic standards and freedom, and work in accordance with university policies (e.g. equal opportunities, health and safety policies)
  • To supervise the laboratory work of postgraduate research students (MSc and PhD) and undergraduate project students
  • To develop, with advice, an awareness of own professional development needs and a personal development strategy


The Person 

Knowledge, Skills and Experience


  • Experience of using modular molecular cloning to rapidly develop combinatorial libraries of genetic constructs
  • Experience in microbiology and genetic transformation
  • Previous experience of statistical Design of Experiments and laboratory automation
  • High level of analytical and problem-solving capacity
  • Ability to be pro-active and to use initiative to plan, manage and conduct research
  • Proven track record of publications, with at least one first authorship paper in a peer-reviewed journal
  • Experience of writing papers and presenting outcomes of research at scientific conferences and project consortium meetings
  • Demonstrated ability to communicate complex information clearly, both orally and through the written word
  • Excellent time management ability, organisations skills and initiative in planning research and balancing competing priorities
  • Experience in the use of R, JMP, GraphPad or similar for data analysis, model creation and data visualisation (Desirable)
  • Previous experience expressing and purifying recombinant proteins from microbes (Desirable)
  • Previous experience in the biochemical characterisation of recombinant enzymes (Desirable)


Attributes and Behaviour


  • Demonstrable experience of working as part of a diverse, interdisciplinary team
  • An ability to work independently under the leadership of the PI and make decisions within the remit of the role and take responsibility for the outcomes
  • Demonstrable inter-personal skills and the ability to liaise with local and international stakeholders (project partners, government, industry, general public) as a representative of the School
  • Ability to work to deadlines without compromising on accuracy and precision
  • Willingness to travel locally and internationally and a readiness to work flexibly by mutual arrangement
  • Professional approach with a commitment to equality, diversity, dignity and respect in the workplace
  • Ability to travel locally and internationally to attend project meetings and academic conferences




  • PhD award (Associate level)  (or be close to completion for Assistant level) in a relevant discipline (i.e. microbiology, molecular biology, biochemistry)


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: 5416