Research Assistant/Associate

Faculty of Medical Sciences

Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK


  • Posted on: 17th Jun 2021
  • Salary: Research Assitant £28,331 to £30,046 per annum 
  • REF: 8617
  • Closes: 01st January 1970
  • Contract Type: Fixed-Term/Contract
  • Hours: Full Time

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: Research Assitant £28,331 to £30,046 per annum

Research Associate £30,942 to £40,322 per annum

Closing Date:1 July 2021

The Role

Your role as a Research Assistant/Associate will focus on functionally characterising candidate drivers of treatment resistance/disease relapse in medulloblastoma, the most common high-grade brain tumour of childhood. You will be directly involved in the establishment of novel in vitro and in vivo patient derived medulloblastoma models and the development of screening systems. Focused screens (CRISPR/RNAi) in established, disease-matched transgenic, and novel patient-derived models will be utilised to functionally interrogate candidate drivers. You will have the opportunity to develop skills in the establishment of primary short-term cultures and orthotopic brain tumour animal models, a new and exciting area of research within Newcastle University Centre for Cancer. Importantly within this project, there are also fantastic collaborative opportunities for training and development with UK (e.g. UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health) and international partners (e.g. German Cancer Research Centre, Heidelberg and Telethon Kids Institute, Perth).

This project will identify mechanisms driving medulloblastoma relapse; through (i) multi-omic interrogation of the molecular features of a unique cohort of relapsed medulloblastomas, and (ii) generation of novel, candidate- and disease-focused in vitro and in vivo screening approaches to characterise and prioritise driver events. We have already undertaken multi-omic profiling (copy-number, DNA-methylation and DNA-sequencing analysis) of >100 relapsed medulloblastomas and their paired diagnostic counterparts. Individual and integrative analyses of these datasets will identify candidate driver events which are enriched at relapse and supported by multiple strands of evidence. These will be taken forward for functional assessment. Focused in vitro and in vivo CRISPR/RNAi screens will be performed in established, disease-matched transgenic and novel patient-derived models, to assess candidates’ roles in disease pathogenesis. Competitive co-culture and transplantation approaches will be utilised to validate prime candidates, alongside initial investigations of their biological impact/mechanisms. Targets identified will be prioritised for future pre-clinical therapeutic trials in our novel disease models. Together, these approaches will ultimately provide essential evidence to support novel early-phase trials in relapsed medulloblastoma.

This post is fixed term for a period of 54 months (4.5 years).

For informal enquiries contact:

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, you 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 knowledge of the molecular basis of childhood brain tumour development
  • 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
  • Excellent interpersonal, communication, writing, and organisational skills
  • Proven cell and molecular biology skills with extensive practical experience in in vitro work including, but not restricted to, development and validation of drug screening and molecular assays
  • Experience of using bioinformatics software and methodologies to analyze multi-omic and therapeutic datasets (e.g. R statistical environment)


  • In vivo experience in cancer model development and pre-clinical therapeutic trials
  • Experience in the development of patient derived xenografts including sample preparation (e.g. lentiviral transduction protocols, FACS analysis) and tumour cell injection

Attributes and Behaviour


  • Enthusiastic and hard-working with a willingness to work flexibly
  • Ability to translate ideas into action and to take an active role in determining the future directions of research project
  • Ability to work with a high level of accuracy and attention to detail, whilst meeting deadlines
  • Ability to work independently, as a member of a team, and to establish effective working relationships with a range of colleagues and stakeholders at all levels of seniority
  • Commitment to the University’s research strategy and mission and to equality, diversity and inclusion and good working relationships
  • Commitment to own personal development
  • Problem-solving ability and willingness to develop and design new techniques as required



  • Good honours degree (or equivalent) with some subject knowledge in the relevant area (Assistant Level)
  • A PhD in the research area required (Associate Level) or be close to completion (Assistant Level)


Home Office PIL (AB&C)

Newcastle University is committed to being a fully inclusive Global University which actively recruits, supports and retains staff 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.

Requisition ID: 8617

Employer Achievements:

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