Research Assistant/Associate in Chemical Biology

Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences

Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK


  • Posted on: 10th Jan 2022
  • Salary: (£28,756) - (£30,497) per annum
  • REF: 15467
  • Closes: 10th February 2022
  • 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.


Research Assistant Salary: (£28,756) – (£30,497) per annum

Research Associate Salary: (£31,406) – (£33,309) per annum

Closing Date: 10 February2022

The Role

We are looking to appoint two highly motivated and ambitious individuals as Research Assistant/Associate in Chemical Biology. We would like you to besuitably qualified with knowledge of:

– Organic Chemistry / Chemical biology
– Cell biology

This is an exciting opportunity to contribute to the Cancer Research UK programme funded work on histone demethylases (KDMs), a class of enzymes involved in epigenetic signaling. Dysregulation of some KDMs is strongly linked to cancer and some are proposed as current therapeutic targets. Despite the emerging biomedical importance of KDMs, substrate selectivity and the biological roles of KDMs are far from clear. We aim to carry out comprehensive functional assignments of JmjC family of KDMs, at biochemical and cellular level, and to develop and characterise inhibitors against epigenetic proteins.

You will join the School of Natural and Environmental Sciences, and work on the project in collaboration with the University of Oxford. You will have an excellent track records with interest in chemical epigenetics to join our interdisciplinary team.

This is a full-time, fixed term position for a duration of 24 months.
For informal enquiries about the role, please contact Professor Akane Kawamuravia

To apply, please complete an online application and upload a CV and a cover letter. Your cover letter is a supporting statement and you should outline how you meet the essential criteria of the role and evidence this with examples. In your application you should state whether you are applying for Chemical biology or cell biology position.

We are committed to building and maintaining a fair and inclusive working environment and we would be happy to discuss arrangements for flexible and/or blended working.

For more information about the School of Natural and Environmental Sciences, please click here

For more information about the Kawamura group, please click here

We’re celebrating 150 years of Science, Agriculture and Engineering. Although a huge amount has changed over the last 150 years, one thing has stayed the same: our commitment to making a difference. We’re educating the next generation of experts and tackling the biggest challenges facing our planet. Our innovative work has always focused on making a difference to people’s lives, and you can be part of it.

Key Accountabilities

• For Chemical Biology role only: Have responsibility for the design and synthesis of small molecule inhibitors / peptides
• For Cell Biology role only: Have responsibility for the cellular characterisation of histone demethylases and related enzymes. This will involve molecular biology, biochemistry, cell-based assay development, and inhibitor testing in cells.
• Manage own academic research and administrative activities. This involves small scale project management and to co-ordinate multiple aspects of work to meet deadlines

• Contribute ideas for new research projects. Test hypotheses and analyse scientific data from a variety of sources, reviewing and refining working hypotheses as appropriate

• Adapt existing and develop new scientific techniques and experimental protocols

• Ensure data are produced and recorded to the highest standards
• Use specialist scientific equipment in a laboratory environment and help maintain equipment

• Undertake comprehensive and systematic literature reviews and write up the results for publication in peer-reviewed journals.

• Work independently and as part of a larger team of researchers. Carry out collaborative projects internally and with colleagues in partner institutions
• Act as a source of information and advice to other members of the group on scientific protocols and experimental techniques; contribute to the supervision of junior members and act as a mentor to less experienced colleagues

• Represent the research group at external meetings/seminars, either with other members of the group or alone

• Perform risk assessments and maintaining safety laboratory records (e.g. COSHH and other regulations) in consultation with academic staff.

• Performance of any additional duties resonably associated with the job.

The Person

Knowledge, Skills and Experience


• Demonstratable experience, competence and success in the thesis research area e.g. as judged by publications (or papers in press) in high quality peer reviewed journals

• Have an excellent general knowledge of related areas through reading of the literature, online database searching, and attendance at seminars and conferences
• Capacity for original thought, proven analytical and problem-solving skills

• Enthusiasm and work ethic

• High level organisational skills

• Communicate well in English in writing and in oral and visual presentations
• Be able to keep detailed laboratory records and report on progress at regular intervals
• Show an ability to work supportively in a laboratory environment, and to supervise and educate junior co-workers and take part in joint projects through co-operation and the exchange of information, skills and reagents
• Be willing to play a role in keeping the laboratory running by assuming a share of group responsibilities

Essential for chemical biology role

• Practical skills in organic chemistry / peptide synthesis
• Core skills in analytical methods (LC, NMR, MS)

Essential for cell biology role

• Expertise in standard cell-biology techniques

• Experience in laboratory supervision of students (PhD, MSc, BSc)
• Experience and interest in epigenetics research.

Desirable for chemical biology role

• Proficient in peptide chemistry design, synthesis, modifications, characterisation
• Experience using automated peptide synthesiser

Desirable for cell biology role

• High-throughput cellular assay development (e.g. high contents imaging, target engagement / PPI assays)

• Experience in proteomics / biological MS

• Experience in gene editing techniques

Attributes and Behaviour

• Motivated, enthusiastic, organised self-starter; one who can work with a minimum of supervision but at the same time extract the benefits of an excellent research environment
• Be willing to learn new techniques and apply them in an interdisciplinary research environment. Be willing to participate in group journal clubs and workshops as a means to continuously improve technical and theoretical knowledge
• Professional approach with a commitment to equality, diversity, dignity and respect in the workplace

• A PhD awarded (or nearing completion) in Chemistry / Chemical Biology / Cell biology or a related area

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 ourBenefitsWebsite page.

Requisition ID: 15467

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