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Research Assistant/Associate in Clinical Imaging applied to Neuromuscular Disease

Requisition ID:  1381

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 - £34,804.00 

Closing Date: 20 April 2020


The Role


We have an exciting opportunity to work on the clinical application of the brand new technique of motor unit MRI (MUMRI) in the Muscular Dystrophy UK funded project “MR imaging of motor unit dynamics as a non-invasive disease biomarker in spinal muscular atrophy”

You will have responsibility for conducting the first clinical evaluation of the new method to measure motor units in skeletal muscle in patients with Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), including being responsible for patient recruitment. You will apply methods to activate muscle motor units via external electrical stimuli and internal volitional control in combination with novel MR sequences. You will also apply computational image analysis algorithms for quantitation of motor units in skeletal muscle in the patient scans to determine whether MUMRI can monitor disease related changes. 


This post is fixed term for 2 years and for an informal discussion please contact Prof Andrew Blamire email: andrew.blamire@newcastle.ac.uk


Further information can be found using the web links below:




Key Accountabilities

  • You will work closely as part of a clinical team (neurologist, neurophysiologists and neuro-radiologist) attending patient clinics to recruit and enroll participants into the study.
  • You will schedule patient imaging investigations throughout this longitudinal study and work with the radiographer, physiotherapy and imaging team to deliver MUMRI data collection in all participants.
  • You will apply a novel, diffusion-based MRI approach combined with electrical muscle stimulation to illicit and detect muscle micro-twitch in skeletal muscle associated with motor unit activity.
  • You will be responsible for conducting image analysis tasks, to extract and quantify metrics of motor unit morphology and activity and the statistical analysis of the study data.
  • You will maintain all study documentation relating to ethical and research governance approvals and contribute to the annual reports on study progress.
  • You will contribute to preparation of funder reports, conference abstracts and academic manuscripts for publication in high-ranked peer-reviewed journals and present data from this study at national and international conferences.


The Person (Essential)


Knowledge, Skills and Experience


  • Experience of running a clinical research study, ideally including use of MRI
  • Experience of patient recruitment into clinical research studies
  • Understanding of research ethics and governance procedures
  • Good computer skills and willingness to learn and use new computer aided analysis tools
  • High level of analytical and problem solving capability
  • Ability to communicate complex information with clarity and to encourage the commitment of others
  • Team membership skills within multidisciplinary research teams
  • Good practical skills


Other desirable skills and experience:

  • Trained in Good Clinical Practice (GCP)
  • Experience of human in vivo MRI research
  • Experience with diffusion MRI methods
  • Experience of programming computational approaches applied to imaging data (e.g. in Matlab)


Attributes and Behaviour

  • Awareness of the ethical issues involved in human research work
  • Strong interest in public awareness of science and patient engagement
  • Experience of presentations at research conferences
  • Publication record in high esteem journals (if previous post-doctoral experience)



  • A PhD in a field of Biomedical research for Research Associate level, or undergraduate degree in a biomedical research area for Research Assistant level.



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.


Requisition ID: 1381