Research Associate

Faculty of Medical Sciences

Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK


  • Posted on: 27th May 2021
  • Salary: £30,942.00 - £32,817.00 per annum
  • REF: 8562
  • 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: £30,942.00 – £32,817.00per annum

Closing Date:17 June2021

The Role

This post will be part of a multidisciplinary team of protein scientists and structural biologists based in the Newcastle Cancer Centre, University of Oxford and the Diamond Light Source that is developing structural scaffolds to aid the routine determination of challenging protein structures and protein-small molecule complexes by electron microscopy (EM) and macromolecular X-ray crystallography (MX).

Despite significant technical advances in recent years, MX and EM do not yet provide a guaranteed route to observing all biological molecules in a timely fashion. Our approach to addressing this issue is to prepare nano-sized 3D scaffolds (“crysalins”) on to which a protein of choice can be attached in a crystalline array. An added benefit of developing rigid target-scaffold connections is small targets (of a size usually inaccessible to EM) that are rigidly and uniformly attached to such building blocks can be imaged by EM. We are therefore producing a building block that can either be used in isolation to facilitate electron microscopy or assembled into a lattice to enable crystallography.

You will carry out cryo EM studies to image crysalin subunits, to contribute to the iterative refinement of such subunits for use in target-imaging by crystallography and/or EM. You will be an accomplished researcher with experience in inter-disciplinary protein structure determination and expertise in contemporary structural biology techniques, with a requirement for familiarity with cryo electron microscopy and X-ray crystallography.

Information about the Faculty of Medical Sciences is available at:

The post is available on a full time, fixed term basis until31 December 2022 and is funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.

For informal enquiries regarding the role, please contact Professor Martin Noble

Key Accountabilities

• You will use contemporary methods in cryo-electron microscopy to determine protein structures. Experience of using this technique is essential, including experience in preparing samples as well as installing and maintaining relevant computational tools
• You will have experience in contemporary methods in protein structure determination by X-ray crystallography
• You will have experience in the preparation and purification of recombinant proteins and protein complexes using bacterial and insect cell expression systems and play a major role in the design of protein reagents and execution of experiments
• You will collect and analyse data and present your results at group and institute meetings and to collaborators
• You will make a substantial contribution to planning and preparing scientific publications
• You will train and supervise technical support staff and students in related scientific projects
• You will carry out meticulous recording, storage and archiving of data, and perform statistical and data analyses to produce robust and reproducible data
• You will present results at internal and external meetings
• You will provide assistance with writing publications
• You will assist in supervision of technical staff and undergraduate and postgraduate students in the laboratory
• You will contribute to laboratory meetings e.g. problem solving, internal seminars, journal club
• You will perform risk assessments and maintain safety laboratory records (e.g. COSHH) in consultation with academic staff
• You will organise and assist in general laboratory duties as required (e.g. purchasing, equipment maintenance)

The Person (Essential)

Knowledge, Skills and Experience

• Substantial experience in cryo electron microscopy and X-ray crystallography for protein structure determination
• Expertise in recombinant protein expression in bacterial and insect cells
• Post-doctoral research experience in an academic or industry setting, preferably in structural methods
• Familiarity with contemporary approaches in structure-based ligand design
• Experience in designing and delivering research projects, project management and ability to lead small research teams
• The ability to identify and develop new technologies and methods relevant to the post
• Enthusiastic, flexible and hard working with the ability to work to tight deadlines
• Excellent oral communication and writing skills, including the preparation of material for manuscripts and grant applications. Evidence of work of at least national quality and capacity to write high quality reports with accompanying analyses and data critique
• Presentation of work at national and international scientific meetings and publication of work in peer-reviewed journals
• Leadership and supervision of staff and students (PhD, MSc, BSc)
• The ability to work both independently and as part of a multi-disciplinary team
• A high level of analytical skills and capacity for original thought
• The ability to critically appraise scientific literature
• Experience in molecular biology techniques: construct design, subcloning and site-directed mutagenesis

Attributes and Behaviour

• Clear commitment to a career in research
• Willingness to undertake work outside of normal working hours
• Flexibility to participate fully in multi-centre collaborations


• Bachelor’s degree (or equivalent) in a relevant science subject – preferably biochemistry, cell biology, chemistry
• A PhD in the area of structural biology
• A Masters qualification in a relevant subject is also desirable

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: 8562

Employer Achievements:

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