Research Associate in Biology
University of York Department of Biology
United Kingdom

Research Associate in Biology

Based at:University of York and GSK Stevenage
Hours of work:Full-time
Contract status:Fixed term
Salary:32,817 - 34,804 a year
Posted Date:07/07/2020
Apply by:07/08/2020
Job Reference:8686

Role Description


An 18 months Research Associate post starting 1 October 2020 is available in the Biology Department in collaboration with GSK to rationally improve the glycosylation of recombinantly produced therapeutic proteins. You will use computer simulation at York with an in-house developed model, predicting desired changes in the glycosylation machinery of GSK’s therapeutic protein production cell lines to achieve desired glycosylation patterns. Subsequently, in GSK’s laboratories you will experimentally modify the same production cell lines to test the validity of the predictions. The overall aim of the project is to demonstrate the power of this computationally aided rational glycan engineering approach for commercial translation. You will work with Dr D Ungar, Dr AJ Wood and Professor J Thomas-Oates in a highly interdisciplinary environment spanning Molecular Cell Biology, Computational Biology and Analytical Chemistry. The project will build on work recently published in Cell Rep., 27:1231 and Front. Cell Dev. Biol. 7:157.

The Biology Department at York is at the forefront of industrial biotechnology research in the UK, and the three supervisors work on a number of industrial biotechnology challenges. The University of York has excellent facilities for interdisciplinary research, particularly important for this project are the York Centre for Complex Systems Analysis, which AJ Wood is a member of, and the Centre of Excellence in Mass Spectrometry directed by J Thomas-Oates.


This role will be based at the University of York and at GSK in Stevenage.

You will conduct interdisciplinary research and document, analyse and prepare the results for publication. Initially, you will use our proprietary code to computationally simulate glycan processing in the mammalian Golgi apparatus. This will require the preparation of mass spectrometric glycan profiling data into suitable formats, execution of the Java code, and analysis and interpretation of the computational results for further rounds of modelling. You will bridge the three disciplines (computational biology, cell biology, analytical chemistry) of the project, and frequently liaise with the industrial partner, GSK. In the second half of the project, you will perform molecular bioscience experiments first at York to construct suitable plasmids, then at GSK (Stevenage) to alter mammalian production cell lines and analyse the produced therapeutic proteins with a particular focus on glycan profiling.

Skills, Experience & Qualification needed

• PhD in Computational Biology, Molecular Bioscience or similar.
• Experience in Glycobiology is desirable.
• Experience with coding in a compiled computational language is essential.
• Java programming skills and experience with Bayesian statistics are desirable.
• Experience with laboratory experimentation in some area of molecular bioscience beyond the BSc degree is essential.
• One or more of the following experimental skills is essential: molecular cell biology, molecular biology, mass spectrometry.

Interview date: to be confirmed

For informal enquiries: please contact Daniel Ungar on

The University is committed to promoting a diverse and inclusive community  – a place where we can all be ourselves and succeed on merit. We offer a range of family friendly, inclusive employment policies, flexible working arrangements, staff engagement forums, campus facilities and services to support staff from different backgrounds.

 A place where we can ALL be ourselves #EqualityatYork

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