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Research Assistant/Associate

Requisition ID:  24581

Newcastle, GB

Contract Type:  Fixed Term
Working Pattern:  Full Time
Posted Date:  14-Nov-2022


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.


What’s in it for you? Newcastle University is a great place to work, with excellent benefits. We have a generous holiday package; plus the opportunity to buy more, great pension schemes and a number of health and wellbeing initiatives to support you.


Newcastle is an inclusive global University community where everyone is treated with dignity and respect.  As a University of Sanctuary, we aim to provide a welcoming place of safety for all, offering opportunities to people fleeing violence and persecution.


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.



Research Assistant: £29,619 to £31,411 per annum

Research Associate: £32,348 to £42,155 per annum


Closing Date: 13 December 2022


The Role

A post is available for an enthusiastic and highly motivated Research Assistant or Research Associate to join the laboratory of Heath Murray. This Wellcome Trust funded position is based at the Centre for Bacterial Cell Biology (CBCB) within the Biosciences Institute at Newcastle University. 

Bacteria are the most abundant species on Earth, playing central roles in human health and in the environment. A molecular understanding of bacterial cell cycle activities is necessary to control their growth and proliferation. Despite years of study, fundamental aspects of DNA replication initiation in bacteria remain poorly understood. Specifically, the architecture of nucleoprotein complexes required to load helicase(s), and the temporal set of activities that replication initiation proteins perform during the helicase loading reactions, are unclear. This project will combine genetics, biochemistry, cryo-electron microscopy, and single-molecule fluorescence microscopy to unravel the molecular mechanisms of bacterial helicase loading, to near-atomic resolution, at both a chromosome origin and a repaired replication fork.


You should be in possession of a PhD in a relevant field for Research Associate or close to submission of a PhD for Research Assistant. 


This post is fixed term for a period of 36 months (start date approx. 3/1/23) 


For informal enquiries contact: Professor Heath Murray


Find out more about the Faculty of Medical Sciences here.

Find out more about our Research Institutes here.


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
•    Although working under the general guidance of an academic or Principal Investigator, the postholder will contribute ideas, including enhancements to the technical or methodological aspects of their studies, thus providing substantial 'added value' 
•    Develop and carry out the specified project using appropriate techniques and equipment as outlined in the personal requirements 
•    Determine appropriate methodologies for research, with advice and support where required
•    Contribute to grant applications submitted by others and in time develop own research objectives and proposals for funding 
•    Begin to write, with appropriate support, proposals for individual research funding or, where funders do not permit this, contribute to the writing of collective bids
•    Assess research findings for the need/scope for further investigations
•    Contribute to the writing up of their research for publication and dissemination, either through seminar and conference presentations or through publications
•    Present research findings, either at conferences or through publications in reputable outlets appropriate to the discipline
•    May be involved in the supervision, with guidance, of final year undergraduate research projects and in providing support to postgraduate research students or Research Assistants 
•    Will need to work with the support staff and, on occasions, with undergraduate and postgraduate students, and interact intellectually with other academic members of the Institute.
•    May contribute to events celebrating the public engagement of science/social sciences/humanities
•    Develop an awareness of University structures, policies and procedures and relevant issues in the higher education, research, social and political environment
•    Plan and carry out independent original research encompassing:
•    Investigations leading to the discovery of new knowledge
•    Analysing and interpreting data to obtain new insights
•    Initiate or participate in inter-disciplinary collaborations as agreed with supervisor
•    Investigate new models and approaches to test and develop them

The Person (Essential)


Knowledge, Skills and Experience 
•    Ability to work well as part of a team and rapidly acquire new skills
•    Detailed subject knowledge in the area of bacterial genetics, specifically forward genetic screens and next-generation sequencing to identify polymorphisms 
•    Likelihood of advanced skills directly related to the research projects 
•    High level of analytical and problem-solving capability 
•    Ability to communicate complex information with clarity and to encourage the commitment of others 
•    Experience of research with clear transferable skills and some experience or awareness of the research environment 
•    Presentations at conferences and/or evidence of previous high-quality publications 
•    Strong understanding of protein:nucleic acid interactions
•    Protein purification and biochemical characterization in vitro
•    General molecular biology
•    General bacteriology
•    Excellent scientific writing skills
•    Bacillus subtilis genetics
•    Knowledge and expertise in the area of DNA replication
•    Gibson assembly and site-directed mutagenesis
•    Two-hybrid analysis
•    Protein crosslinking
•    Protein:DNA interactions (e.g. EMSA, SPR, MST, anisotropy)
•    Characterization of DNA replication initiator proteins in vitro
•    Good information technology and computing skills


Attributes and Behaviour

•    Capacity for original thought
•    Willingness to work flexibly by mutual arrangement
•    Clear commitment to a career in research
•    Applicants should be ambitious with a demonstrable drive to succeed and produce work at the highest level
•    Willingness to supervise Undergraduate, Masters, and PhD students


•    A PhD in genetics, microbiology, cell biology, biochemistry and or molecular Biology (required for appointment at Associate level)
•    Honors degree in relevant subject or Close to submission of PhD (for appointment at Assistant level)




The University holds a silver Athena SWAN award in recognition of our good employment practices for the advancement of gender equality. The University is also a member of the Euraxess initiative supporting researchers in Europe.


Requisition ID: 24581