Research Associate

Requisition ID:  26151

Newcastle, GB

Contract Type:  Fixed Term
Working Pattern:  Full Time
Posted Date:  18 Sep 2023


Salary: £33,966 to £37,099 per annum


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.


Closing Date: 25 October 2023



The Role 


Modelling human motor neurone disease/fronto-temporal dementia (MND/FTD) in cortical organotypic slice cultures.

This position offers an exciting opportunity for a Research Associate to work on a new project funded by the Motor Neurone Disease Association. Motor neurone disease and fronto-temporal dementia (MND/FTD) are characterised by the accumulation of the protein transactive response DNA-binding protein (TDP-43), in brain cells. However, how the increased levels of TDP-43 cause neurodegeneration is still unclear. This project will involve the development of a novel translational slice culture platform which will use viral transduction approaches to express genes linked to MND/|FTD in neurons in cortical tissue obtained from mouse, non-human primates, and humans. Using this mouse-to-man model platform we aim to gain important new insights into the early pathological changes associated with abnormal TDP-43 expression.

This project


This project will focus on extending our existing models of adult mouse and human organotypic cultures to optimise viral transduction methods using both wild type and mutant forms of TDP-43 to model MND/FTD. After optimisation of the viral constructs in slice cultures we want to understand the impact of abnormal expression of TDP-43 on cellular and network activity. We will study cell-to-cell spread of pathology and seek to understand the early changes evoked by abnormal pathology on cellular and network function. Studies will include detailed immunohistochemistry to assess phosphorylation of TDP-43 and changes in markers of oxidative stress, mitochondrial function and neuroinflammation.  We will also use electrophysiological recording approaches, including whole-cell patch-clamp, calcium imaging and multichannel recordings to assess how TDP-43 associated pathology alters neuronal and network properties. Our goal will be to develop an organotypic model platform that will improve our understanding of the early neurodegenerative changes associated with MND/FTD. Ultimately this platform could then be used to assess novel therapeutics approaches that might benefit patients with MND/FTD.

This post is full time, fixed term for a period of 2 YEARS- 1st January 2024 to 31st December 2025


For informal enquiries contact: Dr. Fiona LeBeau ( or Prof. Mark Baker (; Prof Stuart Baker ( ) or Dr. Faye McLeod (


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

The Person (Essential)


Knowledge, Skills and Experience 
•    Ability to work well as part of a team and rapidly acquire new skills
•    Detailed subject knowledge relating to slice cultures and neurodegenerative diseases, particularly motor neurone disease and fronto-temporal dementia
•    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 high-quality publications 
•    Experience of at least 2-3 of the following techniques: virus manufacture, Western blots, neuronal culture techniques, slice electrophysiology and immunohistochemistry 


Attributes and Behaviour
•    Ability to work well in a team
•    Self-motivated and able to work independently
•    Good organisational and communication skills

•    A PhD in neuroscience required (Research Associate)

Newcastle University is a global University 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.


We are committed to being a fully inclusive 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 of our employees and the communities they represent.  We are proud to be an equal opportunities employer and encourage applications from individuals who can complement our existing teams, we believe that success is built on having teams whose backgrounds and experiences reflect the diversity of our university and student population.


At Newcastle University we hold a silver Athena Swan award in recognition of our good employment practices for the advancement of gender equality.  We also hold a Race Equality Charter Bronze award in recognition of our work towards tackling race inequality in higher education REC.


In addition, we are a member of the Euraxess initiative supporting researchers in Europe. 

Requisition ID: 26151