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Research Associate - Rare Disease Drug Discovery

Requisition ID:  11461

Newcastle, GB

Contract Type:  Fixed Term
Working Pattern:  Full Time
Posted Date:  08-Sep-2021


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: £31,406 - £33,309 with progression to £40,927 per annum

Closing Date:  8 October 2021


The Role 


You will be responsible for a structure-guided inhibitor design project to drive novel therapeutic discovery. You will carry out purification and crystallisation of human metabolic enzymes, as well as biophysical, biochemical and structural characterisation of enzyme-ligand interactions.


The project is funded jointly by Action Medical Research and LifeArc, the lab of Prof. Wyatt Yue embarks on a multi-disciplinary project combining medicinal chemistry, biophysics and crystallography in the hit-to-lead development of inhibitors targeting a lysine metabolic enzyme, for novel therapy of a debilitating seizure disorder.


This post is full time, fixed term for a period of 2 years


For informal enquiries contact: wyatt.yue@newcastle.ac.uk


Find out more about the Faculty of Medical Sciences here: https://www.ncl.ac.uk/medical-sciences/ 


Find out more about our Research Institutes here: https://www.ncl.ac.uk/medical-sciences/research/institutes/


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
  • Recombinant protein production in baculovirus-mediated insect expression
  • Biophysical studies involving enzyme kinetics, ligand binding, and protein-protein interaction (ITC, SPR, BLI)
  • Participate in all steps of protein-ligand co-structure determination using x-ray crystallography


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 areas of metabolic enzymes and disorders 
  • Likelihood of advanced skills directly related to the research projects in the fields of protein biochemistry and structural biology
  • 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 high-quality publications 
  • Experience in using x-ray crystallography for compound validation
  • Experience in biophysical assays to characterize enzyme kinetics and ligand binding
  • Understanding of the processes in structure-based drug design (Desirable)
  • Experience in collaborating with medicinal chemists (Desirable)
  • Experience in carrying out cell-based assays (Desirable)


Attributes and Behaviour


  • Excellent time management, analysis and presentation skills
  • Ability to prioritise tasks and manage multiple deadlines in a milestone-oriented project
  • Keeping up to date with new / improved techniques, knowledge, skills and research
  • Excellent written, oral communication, intellectual, numeracy and creative problem solving skills
  • Adopt a team scientist approach that enables the support of the work of colleagues and students, and to make contributions to the general upkeep of our working environments (Desirable)




  • A PhD or equivalent in professional qualifications and experience in the research area of structural biology or protein biochemistry 


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.


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.


We understand how important the full employment package is to our colleagues at Newcastle University and we are committed to providing a great range of benefits and discounts for all.  You can learn more about what is available here on our Benefits Website page.

Requisition ID: 11461