Technical Specialist

Requisition ID:  26859

Newcastle, GB

Contract Type:  Fixed Term
Working Pattern:  Full Time
Posted Date:  21 Mar 2024


Salary: £29,605 to £30,487 with progression to £32,982 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: 30 April 2024



The Role


You will be part of a multidisciplinary team that includes biologists, structural biologists and chemists based in the Newcastle Cancer Centre that aims to identify new therapeutic approaches to treat cancer.  You can find out more about our research on our dedicated web pages:


You will report to Professor Jane Endicott, Professor Martin Noble and the Institute Technical Manager. As laboratory co-ordinator you will maintain oversight of the program’s laboratory activity. You will provide specialised technical support for protein expression, purification, characterisation, crystallisation and structure determination to a group using structural and chemical biology to understand the roles and mechanisms of cyclin-dependent protein kinases to generate hypotheses for drug discovery. 


You will assist in the running of the insect cell laboratory.  An in-depth knowledge of technical or scientific practices, methods and procedures gained through experience and/or formal qualification will enable you to provide a range of technical support activities. 


You must be reliable, flexible and able to work well, both unsupervised and in an interdisciplinary team.  Working as part of a professional community you will provide a technical support service to staff and students by mainly following established working patterns, resolving most challenges without reference to more senior colleagues. 


Based in the Faculty of Medical Sciences you will join the Cancer Research Horizons Therapeutic Innovation Newcastle Drug Discovery Group. 


The position is funded by the Medical Research Council and is available on a fixed term basis until 30/09/2026.


Informal approaches can be made to Professor Jane Endicott ( or Professor Martin Noble (


Information about the Faculty of Medical Sciences is available at:


Key Accountabilities

  • You will be the laboratory co-ordinator for the group. Maintaining oversight of laboratory activity and assisting with the smooth running of the group
  • You will be responsible for developing new protocols, under academic direction and following independent literature review
  • You will regularly consult with academic staff regarding developing new or improved methods for experimental systems
  • You will troubleshoot technical issues with equipment and methodology as needed in consultation with others in the research group
  • Assist in the running of the insect cell laboratory
  • Contribute to the structural biology programme and to be responsible, following consultation with academic staff, for (i) recombinant expression of proteins in insect and bacterial cells; (ii) protein characterisation and assay development; (iii) protein crystallisation
  • Monitoring the satisfactory operation of laboratory biophysics equipment housed within the group (specifically the fluorescent plate reader (PHERAstar, BMG Labtech) and FPLCs for protein purification and characterisation (Cytiva) and maintain equipment through scheduling and assisting in their regular cleaning and calibration
  • Present results at internal and external meetings and assist with writing publications
  • Keep excellent laboratory records of all experimental procedures and outcomes, enabling interpretation with team members located at different institutes
  • You should be able to communicate effectively, orally and in writing, to share information with colleagues
  • You will be able to contribute to laboratory meetings e.g. problem solving, internal seminars, journal club
  • Assist with the completion and updating of a wide range of safety paperwork, e.g., risk assessments and safety laboratory records (e.g. COSHH) in consultation with academic staff
  • You will complete accident reporting and assist with investigations
  • Maintain in-depth and up-to-date health and safety knowledge relevant to the specialism
  • Organise and assist in general laboratory duties such as stores, equipment maintenance and general cleaning
  • Source and negotiate with suppliers for a range of items including specialist parts/equipment
  • Liaise regularly with the line manager to prioritise tasks and organise workload for the satisfactory completion of inter-institute research activities, requiring access to multiple facilities and equipment
  • Liaise with bioscience and chemistry colleagues to identify and optimise opportunities for further collaboration
  • Provide advice, assistance and training to academic, technical and research staff and students, on specific experimental techniques and in the use of specialised laboratory equipment. Assist in the supervision of undergraduate and postgraduate students


The Person 

Knowledge, Skills and Experience 

  • Experience in project management and priority setting
  • Expertise in contemporary molecular biology techniques
  • Expertise in recombinant protein expression in bacteria and in insect/mammalian cells for structural studies
  • Expertise in protein purification and characterisation
  • Presentation of work at scientific meetings
  • Expertise with biochemical and biophysical techniques for assessing protein quality and/or protein-ligand interactions
  • Expertise with protein crystallisation
  • Thorough working knowledge of Health and Safety procedures
  • Excellent team working skills
  • Demonstratable technical and problem-solving capacity and a capacity for original thought
  • Good IT and computing skills
  • Willingness to learn new techniques and develop experimental skill set
  • Ability to contribute to design and specification of research/teaching activities


  • Good organising ability to meet deadlines, with a positive and proactive approach to duties and diligence and attention to detail
  • Ability to adapt to changes in laboratory research priorities.

Attributes and Behaviour

  • Tact, diplomacy and able to handle difficult situations
  • Ability to meet deadlines with effective time and resource management
  • Clear communicator and active listener
  • Consistent and appropriate approach to staff and situations
  • Use of feedback for process improvement and staff development
  • Team player, self starter and able to manage complex workload
  • Ability to respond enthusiastically and positively to undergraduate students


  • Bachelor's degree (or equivalent) in a relevant science subject - preferably biomedical/biochemistry
  • Research experience in protein expression in insect cells, protein biochemistry, biophysics or X-ray crystallography


  • Masters qualification in a relevant subject



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.  We are a Disability Confident employer and will offer an interview to disabled applicants who meet the essential criteria for the role as part of the offer and interview scheme.


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

Requisition ID: 26859