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Research Associate

Requisition ID:  20322

Newcastle, GB

Contract Type:  Fixed Term
Working Pattern:  Full Time
Posted Date:  08-Jun-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.


Salary: £31,406 to £37,467 per annum


Closing Date: 30 June 2022


The Role


Based within the Leukaemia Research Cytogenetics Group (LRCG), Wolfson Childhood Cancer Research Centre, a Research Assistant/Associate position is available to join the multidisciplinary research team of Dr Ruth Cranston, Professor Christine Harrison and Professor Anthony Moorman. The LRCG is a world leader in the discovery of novel genetic abnormalities in acute leukaemia and in analysis of their functional and prognostic relevance. The LRCG holds data on more than 30,000 patients treated on national and international clinical trials of acute leukaemia. 


You will hold a PhD in biological sciences or a similar discipline (or be close to completion for appointment at Assistant level) and have experience in molecular and functional biology, particularly large-scale tissue culture experimentation.


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.


Further Information about the Institute and Faculty can be found here.


This is a fixed term post available until 30th September 2024.


For informal enquiries please contact: Dr Ruth Cranston ( and/or Prof Christine Harrison (

Key Accountabilities

•    Although working under the general guidance of an academic or Principal Investigator, the postholder will contribute ideas, develop and carry out the specified project using appropriate techniques and equipment as outlined above, with advice and support where required
•    Assess research findings for the need/scope for further investigations
•    Maintain a high level of up-to-date specialist knowledge of leukaemia and cancer biology, by reading relevant journals and participating in relevant conferences, so as to contribute to strategic decision-making
•    Work alongside, and liaise with, colleagues and external collaborative partners to further the aims of the research programme
•    Contribute to grant applications submitted by others and in time develop own research objectives and proposals for funding
•    Contribute to events including engaging with funders and celebrating the public engagement of science/social sciences/humanities
•    To be aware of own professional needs and take the initiative in fulfilling them
•    Perform any other duties within the remit of the grade as required by the relevant PIs
•    Develop an awareness of University structures, policies and procedures and relevant issues in the higher education, research, social and political environment
•    Design and undertake experimentation for the repurposing of FDA-approved drugs for the treatment of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL). Specifically, the development and application of high-throughput compound screening with a co-culture platform, firstly using ALL cell lines, and later, patient-derived xenograft (PDX) samples from ALL patients
•    Bioinformatic analysis of genomic data including RNA-sequencing data, SNP array data and drug screening data outputs using R, Python and command line (bash)
•    Integration of genomic, transcriptomic and drug screening data to identify dysregulated pathways for exploitation in ALL
•    Ensure intellectual rigour and adherence to ethical standards in the research for which they are responsible; all experiments conducted will be expected to meet the Institute’s rigorous scientific standards
•    Contribute to laboratory meetings, e.g. problem solving, internal seminars, journal club presentations
•    To provide guidance, where necessary, to other staff and students (including supervision of masters and undergraduate project students) and to provide advice to staff and students in experimental design, techniques and good practice
•    Contribute to the writing up of their research for publication and dissemination, either through seminar, presentation at conferences or through publications in reputable outlets appropriate to the discipline
•    Organisation and assistance with general laboratory duties


The Person


Knowledge, Skills and Experience 

•    Enthusiastic and hard-working, with experience in the area of cancer genetics, ALL cytogenetics, molecular and functional biology, bioinformatics and genomics
•    Experience in large scale cell culture of leukaemia cell lines, and handling of PDX samples
•    Experience with drug treatment of cell lines, either as isolated compounds or in a high-throughput screening format
•    Experience in the development, optimisation and validation of molecular genetic assays
•    Experience with general laboratory techniques, including but not limited to: DNA/RNA/protein extraction, PCR, flow cytometry, bacterial culture, cloning, sequence analysis, fluorescence in situ hybridisation and Western blot
•    Problem-solving ability and willingness to develop and design new techniques as required
•    Experience in next-generation sequencing techniques
•    A detailed understanding of the molecular basis of childhood leukaemia tumour development

•    Proficient in the use of R, Python and command line (bash) for the analysis of genomic data including RNA-sequencing data, SNP array data and drug screening data outputs 
•    Experience in presentation of work at scientific meetings


Attributes and Behaviour

•    Commitment to a career in research
•    Willing to work flexibly
•    Enthusiastic and hard-working, with proven genetic and molecular biology skills
•    Excellent oral communication and writing skills
•    Ability to prioritise and balance competing demands

•    Commitment to continued professional development 
•    Ability to take an active role in determining the future directions of research project 
•    Previous communication and engagement with cancer charities and their supporters 


•    Bachelor’s degree (or equivalent) in a relevant science subject – preferably biomedical
•    PhD in cancer research or a related discipline (or submission of PhD thesis for appointment at Research Assistant level)

•    Masters qualification in a relevant subject 


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: 20322