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Research Assistant/Associate

Requisition ID:  5261

Newcastle, GB

Contract Type:  Fixed Term
Working Pattern:  Full Time
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: Research Assistant: £28,331 - £30,046 per annum

            Reearch Associate: £30,942 - £35,845 per annum


Closing Date: 1 November 2020

The role

This is an exciting opportunity to work on a British Heart Foundation programme grant to study the development and disease of the heart valves. The role will allow you to develop your interest in congenital heart defects, developmental and cell biology, and disease modelling (including CRISPR in mouse and zebrafish).
You will work on a project to understand how the heart valves develop in the zebrafish and mammalian embryo and how abnormalities in these processes lead to congenital valve defects. You will take data from genetic screens to investigate how patient variants can result in common malformations such as bicuspid aortic valve and develop assays for screening new variants for pathogenicity. You will develop your developmental genetics skills as well as state of the art imaging techniques. 

This post is available for 42 months (ends April 2024), contact deborah.henderson@ncl.ac.uk  for informal enquiries.

Key Accountabilities

To join a team studying the developmental genetic basis of valve disorders. You will use a wide variety of molecular, protein and imaging techniques to achieve this, in different animal models. You will be trained in the efficient management of mouse (and if necessary zebrafish) colonies.

  • Contribute to and actively participate with other researchers within the groups collaborative research projects as outlined above. The main research duties as currently envisaged are:
    • Performing standard histopathology and molecular biology techniques such as slide preparation and staining, immunofluorescent staining, wholemount and slide in-situ hybridisation, RNA extraction, PCR and western blotting to confirm and extend findings
    • Develop expertise in confocal and epifluorescence microscopy using Apotome as well as computer-based analysis of image data
    • Responsibility for RNASeq and exome sequencing– preparation, validation and analysis
    • Effectively solve technical problems within laboratory protocols, in a timely way, ensuring continued acquisition of data with minimal disruption to personal and other related projects
    • Collate and analyse data, perform statistics and create figures of publication quality in an effective and timely way
  • Work in a professional and effective manner with the principle investigators (Prof Deborah Henderson and Dr Bill Chaudhry) and other team members
  • To support research activities, facilities and equipment within the group to promote excellence in research and timely completion of studies. To organise personal workload, whilst working effectively within the team. To keep excellent laboratory records of all experimental procedures and outcomes, enabling their implementation by current and future team members
  • Under the leadership of the laboratory manager, to ensure the smooth running of the laboratory. This may involve contributing to the planning of equipment and material needs, including maintaining laboratory stocks of chemicals, media and other consumables. Determine requirements and initiate orders, within specified laboratory ordering procedures, or help maintain reagent databases
  • Take responsibility for managing animal resources (which include zebrafish and/or mice)
    • Coordination of mouse resources for optimal use in developmental biology and disease studies
    • Collate Home Office data and maintain effective communication with technical staff
    • Manage PCR genotyping of mouse mutants and production of inter-crossed lines
    • Ensure excellent record keeping and maintain cage and costs within expected limits
  • Undertake and provide training in experimental methods or use of specialised equipment in an effective and timely manner to academic, technical and research staff. Consult with principle investigators regarding developing new or improved methods for experimental systems and create effective protocols
  • Supervise undergraduate and post graduate students, as directed by principle investigators or laboratory manager, whilst maintaining progress on other activities
  • Perform risk assessments and maintain safety laboratory records (e.g. COSHH, BIOCOSHH, and other regulations) in consultation with principle investigators or laboratory manager

The Person 

Knowledge, Skills and Experience 



  • Experience with RNASeq and exome sequencing data
  • Knowledge of mammalian embryology, anatomy and dissection
  • Expertise in a majority of the following areas: histopathology, tissue in situ hybridisation, immuno-histochemistry, RNA preparation, specialised PCR techniques, embryology or developmental anatomy
  • Excellent Information technology and computing skills
  • Presentation of work at scientific meetings (Desirable)
  • Publication of work in peer-reviewed journals (Desirable)


Attributes and Behaviour


  • Capacity for original thought
  • Ability to plan and organise own work
  • Excellent oral communication and writing skills
  • Team-working skills
  • Willingness to undertake work outside of normal working hours
  • Responsible and meticulous attitude to work



  • Good BSc degree in a biological science or chemistry
  • Completion of (Associate level) (or working towards for Assistant level) a PhD in the area of embryology or molecular biology or genetics


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: 5261