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Research Assistant/Associate

Requisition ID:  1224

Newcastle, GB

Contract Type:  Fixed Term
Posted Date:  21-Nov-2019

Research Assistant/Associate

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 - £32,817 

Closing Date: 2 January 2020


The role

Based in the Wolfson Childhood Cancer Research Centre, a Research Assistant / Associate position is available to join Professors Christine Harrison and Anthony Moorman in the Leukaemia Research Cytogenetics Group (LRCG). The LRCG is a world leader in analysing the prognostic relevance of somatic genetic aberrations and holds data on more than 30,000 patients treated on national and international clinical trials of acute Leukaemia.

The principal aim of the LRCG is to explore the genetic and genomic landscape of acute leukaemia and exploit this information to identify novel prognostic and predictive biomarkers and also decipher the contribution that individual abnormalities and combination of abnormalities make towards the observed heterogeneous clinical phenotype. In order to fulfil this aim, we collect and analyse demographic, clinical, outcome, genetic transcriptome and whole genome data on clinical trial patients.

You will work within the research team of Professors Christine Harrison and Anthony Moorman on analysis of sequencing data from children with leukaemia. We have already generated large data sets from whole genome and transcriptome and these projects are ongoing. The work will be performed using high performance computing solutions. This project offers the opportunity to develop and utilise bioinformatic and computational methods for novel next generation sequencing approaches and explore genetic variation.


You should have a PhD (or be close to completion for appointment at Research assistant) in Bioinformatics, Computer Science, Mathematics, Systems Biology or a relevant subject, including having experience in Bioinformatics and Programming.


This is a fixed term post until 31st March 2021.


Informal enquiries can be made to Professor Christine Harrison by email at christine.harrison@newcastle.ac.uk

Further Information about the Faculty can be found at: https://www.ncl.ac.uk/fms/.

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.


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.


Key Accountabilities

  • Design and undertake next-generation sequencing-based experiments to profile the genetic and epigenetic features of acute leukaemia in large cohorts of patient samples.
  • Develop and use bioinformatic tools and pipelines to interrogate whole genome, whole exome, transcriptomic and epigenomic data to identify novel and characterise existing genomic rearrangements.
  • Assist in the analysis and validation of a targeted next-generation sequencing assay for the identification and characterisation of key genetic abnormalities in acute leukaemia
  • Curation and reporting of data.
  • Provide advice, guidance and assistance on the computational aspects of bioinformatics to staff, students and other users.
  • Ensure adherence to ethical standards in the research for which they are responsible.
  • Supervision of undergraduate and postgraduate students within the laboratory.
  • Contribute to laboratory meetings (e.g. problem solving, journal club).
  • Presentation of work at research conferences, and preparation for publication. by taking a leading role in manuscript writing.
  • Organisation and assistance with general group duties.


The Person (Essential)

Knowledge, Skills and Experience

  • Experience developing and using tools for the analysis of next-generation sequencing data.
  • Well-developed technical and methodological skills.
  • The ability to assess and evaluate concepts/theories in order to develop original solutions and particular knowledge of, and expertise in, research methodologies appropriate to your area of scholarship.
  • Ability to write high quality reports and papers for publication; and to be able to present work effectively to a variety of professional and academic audiences at meetings and conferences.
  • Experience of analysis of high-throughput biological and clinical data using bioinformatics software and methodologies (e.g. Genespring, R statistical environment).
  • Experience in the development of bioinformatics tools for the analysis of complex datasets.
  • Excellent information technology and computing skills.
  • Excellent problem solving abilities.
  • A published research track-record is desirable.
  • Practical knowledge of analysis of next generation sequencing including illumina sequencing and genomic variation analyses.
  • Experience in working with a Unix/Linux environment, proficiency using Python and/or R and scripting languages (e.g. Perl, Shell) and high performance computing.

Attributes and Behaviour

  • Good communication skills (both written and verbal).
  • Ability to work independently and use your initiative when required.
  • Ability to work as part of a multi-disciplinary team.
  • Willingness and ability to work with human tissue for genetic profiling.



  • BSc in computer science, mathematics, life science or other relevant subject.
  • PhD in bioinformatics or relevant field (or be close to completion for appointment at 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.


Requisition ID: 1224