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					                                 NEWCASTLE UNIVERSITY

                         INSTITUTE FOR AGEING AND HEALTH

          CISBAN Research Associate – Modeller/Mathematical Biologist

                                     Further Particulars


CISBAN is an exciting new research centre established, following a major award (£6.4M) from
BBSRC and EPSRC, to investigate the molecular and cellular mechanisms responsible for
ageing and the effects of nutritional factors on these mechanisms. The centre currently
houses a range of high calibre scientists working in a number of areas of systems biology.
We now seek an additional research associate to join our team, to work in an intensely
multidisciplinary, world-class research environment, with state-of-the-art facilities. The post
also involves participation within LifeSpan, a recently established EU funded Network of
Excellence consisting of a consortium of leading European laboratories committed to
understanding the mechanisms of ageing and development, and their interplay.

This post is for a research associate to join our existing expert team and is available
immediately. CISBAN is currently funded until 2010, and LifeSpan until 2011. This
appointment is until 30 September 2010 in the first instance on the RA grade F salary scale

We seek a post-doctoral researcher with a numerate background, and a PhD in Mathematical
Biology or a related discipline. The successful applicant will work within the biological
modelling group, developing models of molecular and cellular mechanisms of ageing and
exploring links between ageing, development and evolution from a life-course perspective.

The development and use of mathematical models representing key molecular mechanisms of
ageing is an important focus of CISBAN and your role will be to continue to progress this area
of research with an emphasis on establishing a link between these low level mechanistic
models and models at higher biological levels that is essential for achieving the goals of both
CISBAN and the LifeSpan consortium. You will work on developing dynamic mechanistic
models of processes of key importance to understanding the link between development and
ageing, such as insulin and insulin-like signalling. In parallel you will develop life history
models to investigate the late life effects of variation in early life strategies. A demanding task
will be to embed the former models within the latter which will require bridging the two areas of
computational systems biology and life history theory.

You will interact closely with other mathematical and computational modellers,
bioinformaticians, computing scientists, biostatisticians, evolutionary and experimental
biologists and therefore good communication skills are required.

CISBAN is based within Newcastle University’s Institute for Ageing and Health, one of the
leading multidisciplinary institutes of its kind, providing exceptional opportunities for
interactions between basic and medical sciences. Other partners include the Human Nutrition
Research Centre, North East Regional e-Science Centre, School of Computing Science,
School of Mathematics and Statistics, School of Chemical Engineering and Advanced
Materials, as well as relevant industries and an extensive network of international
collaborators. LifeSpan is coordinated from Leiden University in the Netherlands (see and the Newcastle University’s Institute for Ageing and Health
is a core partner.

                                      JOB SUMMARY

Job title                   Research Associate Modeller/Mathematical Biologist
School                      Institute for Ageing and Health

Section or Research         CISBAN
Grade                       Level F
Salary scale points         27-36

Responsible to              Professor Tom Kirkwood/ Dr Daryl Shanley

Responsible for             N/A

Main purpose of job         To develop models of molecular and cellular mechanisms of
                            ageing and to explore links between ageing, development and
                            evolution from a life-course perspective.
Main duties and                  Develop dynamic models of molecular and cellular
responsibilities                  mechanisms.
                                 Develop life history models to investigate life course
                                  plasticity in response to nutritional variation experienced
                                  during development.
                                 Research and develop methods for linking low level
                                  mechanistic models with higher level phenotypic models.
                                 Interact with the network of groups within Lifespan.
                                 Interact closely with the other mathematical and
                                  computational modellers; bioinformaticians, computing
                                  scientists, and biostaticians on the CISBAN project.

  Comments or other
  relevant information


     PERSON SPECIFICATION – Post: Research Associate Bioinformatician
                        (applications) (Grade F)

                                ESSENTIAL                      DESIRABLE         HOW
EDUCATION AND TRAINING          PhD degree (or                                   1
(academic and vocational)       equivalent) in a biological,
                                mathematical or
                                computational discipline
EXPERIENCE AND                   Expertise in a majority of                           1,2,3,4
ACHIEVEMENTS (paid/unpaid)       the following areas:
                                 biological modelling;
                                 evolutionary theory;
                                 computational systems
                                                              Publication of work     1,2,3
                                                              in peer-reviewed

                                                              Presentation of         1,2,3
                                                              work at scientific
SKILLS, ABILITIES AND            Capacity for original                                2,3,4
PERSONAL QUALITIES               thought

                                 Excellent oral and written                           2,3,4
                                 communication skills

                                 Team-working skills                                  2,3

                                                              Good information        2
                                                              technology and
                                                              computing skills
OTHER RELEVANT FACTORS           Clear commitment to                                  2,3
(eg able to work rota system/    research, particularly of
driving licence/car owner)       multidisciplinary nature
                                                              Flexibility and         2,3
                                                              willingness to
                                                              undertake work
                                                              outside normal
                                                              hours when

* Insert the number code from the key below for the assessment method you intend to employ to
measure each criterion
1) Application                      3) References                       5) Evidence
2) Interview                        4) Testing

Date prepared November 2007


                                   How CISBAN operates

Because of increasing life spans, research on ageing is of high societal importance. The field
of biogerontology is relatively new among biomedical sciences yet is developing fast. Recent
advances indicate that it is possible to intervene positively in the mechanisms that cause age-
related frailty, disability and disease, particularly by developing and exploiting the fields of
genomics and biotechnology for health in old age.

Among the most exciting areas of advance are those that exploit links between ageing and
nutrition. Although genes exert an influence on longevity only a quarter of the variability in
lifespan in humans and other species can be explained by genetics alone. A significant part of
the non-genetic variation is thought to be subject to nutritional influence and even the genetic
factors include important pathways, such as insulin signalling, that relate to how nutrients are
utilised by the body. Nutrition from conception onwards may influence the ageing trajectory by
affecting epigenetic mechanisms resulting in aberrant gene expression.
These fundamental scientific advances offer exciting opportunities to extend health span
(period of good quality life and functional independence). Ageing and nutrition are domains
where there is compelling need to integrate across levels (from whole organism to molecules)
and across a range of genetic and environmental factors that cooperate to shape individual

The CISBAN team has an internationally recognised record of success in beginning to apply a
‘systems’ approach to the biology of ageing and nutrition. It comprises biologists (from a
variety of specialist areas), statisticians, mathematicians, computer scientists and engineers.
CISBAN is directed by Professor Kirkwood and research programmes within CISBAN are led
by Professor Thomas von Zglinicki, Professor David Lydall and Dr Anil Wipat. Other members
of the CISBAN team include Dr Gabriele Saretzki, Dr Daryl Shanley and Dr Carole Proctor
(School of Clinical Medical Sciences – Gerontology), Professor Doug Turnbull and Dr Chris
Morris (School of Neurology, Neurobiology and Psychiatry), Dr Darren Wilkinson, Dr Richard
Boys and Dr Colin Gillespie (School of Mathematics and Statistics), Professor Paul Watson
(North East Regional e-Science Centre), Professor John Mathers (Human Nutrition Research
Centre), Professor Allen Wright (School of Chemical Engineering and Advanced Materials)
and Professor Tim Cowen (University College London). The project also has major
collaboration with Unilever Corporate Research, the regional Centre for Excellence in the Life
Sciences and a network of international academic groups both within and outside the Lifespan

The research programme provides and integrates an unprecedented amount of data on the
complex mechanisms of molecular and cellular ageing, and how these processes are affected
by nutrition. CISBAN is a combination of three programmes: ‘Functional Genomics and
Proteomics’ (led by Prof Lydall) provides the majority of biological data in a hypothesis-
independent fashion. ‘Integration of Partial Systems’ (led by Prof von Zglinicki) is hypothesis-
driven and uses a variety of functional assays aiming at testing the impact of cellular damage
and damage response pathways for ageing at cellular, tissue and, ultimately, organism level.
In the third theme ‘In silico Systems Biology’ (led by Dr Wipat) we develop modelling,
inference and data management programmes. The primary focus of CISBAN is on data and
its exploitation, with very large amounts of data being generated through a range of high
throughput techniques and processed in silico to provide a highly dynamic cycle of interaction
between theoretical and experimental activity. The experimental studies focus on three major
systems: budding yeast, cultures of mammalian cells, and mice. We have a well-established
ageing mouse colony, providing an exceptional standard of specialised husbandry for long-
term populations.

The three programmes of CISBAN interact strongly with each other. The project as a whole
will generate an exhaustive, highly coherent set of concentration data for the vast majority of
medium-to-high abundance mRNAs, native proteins and important classes of modified
proteins (using genomic and proteomic methods) of major biological ageing models. These
data will define the boundary conditions of our in silico models and allow close control of
chosen reaction constants. We will combine these steady-state data with interrelated
functional assays that will provide essential data on cell biological mechanisms and pathways.
We strongly believe that only by such a kinetic, highly parallel approach will we be able to
make educated judgements about the biological relevance of observed changes, which is the
essential basis for every meaningful model. This is especially important in ageing, where
singular random processes may play uniquely large roles, but only if they induce or
significantly modify relevant response/signal transduction pathways.

The physical hub for CISBAN is the state-of-the-art Henry Wellcome Laboratory for
Biogerontology Research (HWLBR), which was opened in November 2004 by Dr Leonard
Hayflick and which provides research accommodation for both experimental and
computational research. Additionally, some members of the CISBAN team are based on other
sites in order to maximise linkage with other disciplines. The core CISBAN activities take
place within the HWLBR, however added-value is provided through well-established
collaborations with other groups. The modelling group, based within the HWLBR, collaborates
very closely with groups within Computing Science (including the North East Regional e-
Science Centre) and the School of Mathematics and Statistics. CISBAN also collaborates
with the School of Chemical Engineering and Advanced Materials, where there is major
expertise in high-throughput robotic systems which is used to help develop our yeast
screening studies. We collaborate with the Human Nutrition Research Centre, while joint
experiments are run within the HWLBR. We collaborate with Prof Cowen’s group at UCL; Prof
Cowen holds a Visiting Chair with us in Newcastle and experimental work in this project is
done in both sites.

In addition to internal collaboration, there are extensive links with other academic and
industrial groups. These include ongoing collaboration with the Corporate Research group of
Unilever plc, which supports programmes of research on healthy ageing and systems biology,
and which has the potential, in the long-term, to deliver substantial benefits to society. We
also have links with regional enterprise initiatives including the North-East Centre for
Excellence in the Life Sciences (CELS).


The LifeSpan Network of Excellence aims to bridge research on development with research
on ageing, and to integrate these two disciplines that do not have a tradition of close
interaction. It will move to and from between experiments in (in)vertebrate models and
observations in humans to test effects detected in one species as candidate longevity
mechanism in the other. Several European groups involved in LifeSpan have already begun
to probe the yet unexplored field of the research described above. However, fragmentation of
these activities in Europe should be avoided and it is crucial that a network emerges in which
this research is embedded and that provides the future framework of ageing research. Such a
network allows the appropriate questions to be asked, using the most suitable (model)
organisms, and taking the appropriate experimental and/or observational approach. This can
only be done effectively when the research groups in Europe have the proper expertise and
carry out their research in an integrative manner, both in terms of science and organisation, as
well as in terms of a common education programme.

All LifeSpan participants have an excellent scientific track-record as well as the appropriate
expertise, resources an tools to contribute to the co-ordinated initiative "Integration research
into Development and Ageing". The partners are: Leiden University Medical Center, Dept. of
Gerontology & Geriatrics; Leiden University, Institute of Biology; Leiden/Amsterdam Center
for Drug Research, LACDR; Austrian Academy of Sciences, Institute for Biomedical Ageing
Research; University of Tartu, Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology; INSERM U515, Paris 6
(Pierre & Marie Curie University); University of Lausanne, Dept. of Ecology and Evolution;
Eberhard-Karls-Universität Tübingen, Tübingen Ageing and Tumour Immunology Group;
Albert-Ludwigs University of Freiburg, Bio 3, Bioinformatics and Molecular Genetics;
Newcastle University, Institute for Ageing and Health; University of Southern Denmark,
Institute of Epidemiology and Public Health; Karolinska Institutet, Dept. of Medical
Epidemiology and Biostatistics; Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Dept. of Animal and
Aquacultural Sciences; University College London, Dept. of Biology; Erasmus University
Rotterdam, Dept. of Genetics and Cell Biology; and the companies OSAÜHING BioData,
PANATecs GmbH and DNage.


[Insert any information you wish on the University/Faculty.]

To apply for this position, you should submit your written application, giving full details of your
qualifications and experience to Professor Tom Kirkwood, Director Institute for Ageing and
Health, University of Newcastle, Henry Wellcome Laboratory for Biogerontology Research,
Newcastle, NE4 6BE, UK, or email to, to arrive no later than 11
January 2008. Informal enquiries may also be made to Dr Daryl Shanley, Institute for Ageing
and Health, University of Newcastle, Henry Wellcome Laboratory for Biogerontology
Research, Newcastle, NE4 6BE (email:

It is essential that you return a completed Employment Record form along with your
covering letter and CV for which it would be very helpful if this were printed on single sided A4
paper. The Employment Record form may be downloaded from the University web page:

Candidates are advised that following the introduction of the Employment Equality (Age)
Regulations 2006, you are no longer obliged to provide your date of birth on your CV.

Candidates are asked to note that it is the University’s normal procedure to approach
candidates’ referees prior to interviews being held. This can mean that referees will be
contacted either at the time a short-list is drawn up or, in some instances, referees comments
will be sought in advance to enable a short list to be finalised.

Candidates who do not wish any of their referees to be approached before receiving an
invitation for interview, must inform the University at the time of submitting their applications.

Shortlisting for this position will take place week commencing 14 January 2008.

All applications will be considered for shortlisting. Following the interviews, the successful
candidate will receive a formal written offer of employment from the Registrar or the Human
Resources Section. Please note that no other person has the authority to offer employment
for this post, either orally or in writing.

When the successful candidate has accepted the post, all other candidates will receive
notification of the outcome of their applications.

The appointment will be subject to the standard conditions of service. Further information on
these topics will be issued with any invitation to interview and may also be obtained on
request from the Human Resources Section.


The University is committed to the principles of fairness and equality in all aspects of
employment, including reward and recognition. The University policy is that new members of
staff will normally be appointed up to the second or third points on the main salary scale.
Appointments may be made further up the scale where it is deemed appropriate.

Pay progression is normally by the receipt of one annual increment up to the maximum point
on the main salary scale for the grade. There is an annual review of salaries for all staff.
Additional increments, and progression into the discretionary range beyond the maximum
point on the main scale, may be awarded to members of staff demonstrating exceptional
levels of contribution or performance.

The payscales themselves are also reviewed annually, through a process of national

Grade F - £25,134-£32,796 per annum.

Training for Staff with Teaching Responsibilities
The University has a commitment to research and teaching of the highest quality. It
recognises that the majority of applicants for academic posts will have already received
training in research methods but that a minority will have been trained to teach.

The Newcastle University Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice (PCAP) is accredited
by the Higher Education Academy and meets the national professional standards for
university teachers. During 2007 it will become the Certificate in Advanced Studies in
Academic Practice. The programme aims to support staff in undertaking their roles as
members of the academic community. The main focus is on learning, teaching and assessing
students, though research supervision, consulting, promoting your research and career
management also feature. Participants have access to a Faculty Programme Liaison Officer.
There is flexibility in the assignments, which participants should choose so as to incorporate
their normal work tasks. The course is part-time, practice-based and can be taken over one or
two years – the total contact-time is equivalent to two weeks.

The first module runs for two weeks in September and is repeated in January. This module, or
exemption from it, is a requirement for staff on probation. It must be completed by 22 months
from starting your post at Newcastle, which should give you three possible dates. When
considering confirmation of appointment Probation Committee takes the performance of staff
on the course into account. Staff who have received equivalent training elsewhere may seek
an exemption from the course. Alternatively credit for prior learning (APL) may be available
for 100% of module 1. Schools will take into account course attendance in determining the
workload of newly appointed staff.
The second module, which is strongly participant-driven is optional and provides the
Certificate and the Fellowship of the HE Academy.
For further details on the programme and APL and to apply to join or for exemption please

Equal Opportunities Policy Statement

Newcastle University is committed to securing equality of opportunity in employment and to
the creation of an environment in which individuals are selected, trained, promoted, appraised
and otherwise treated on the sole basis of their relevant merits and abilities. For this purpose
all applicants will be asked to answer Equal Opportunities monitoring questions as part of the
recruitment and appointment process.

All new employees are provided with a copy of the Equal Opportunities Policy on appointment.
Further copies may be obtained from the Human Resources Section.

Information for Disabled Candidates

The University welcomes applications from all sections of the community including candidates
with a disability.

Disclosing a disability

There are good reasons to let the University know that you have a disability. It would help us
be better prepared to explore with you the possible reasonable adjustments in the workplace
that could help you work more safely and/or efficiently. It would also give you legal protection if
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not know, it cannot help you.

More generally, disclosing will ensure that the University’s monitoring data is accurate and will
provide a genuine reflection of the numbers of staff who are disabled. This way we can make
sure that the appropriate resources and training are in place. The University will be better
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The Disability Discrimination Act 1995 defines disability as:

‘A physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse affect
on a person’s ability to carry out normal day to day activities.’

When deciding if you come within the definition, think about the effect of your impairment
without treatment or medication (except for eyesight that can be corrected with glasses or
contact lenses). Long term means for at least 12 months.

Recent amendments have included the following additional definitions:
 If you have been diagnosed as having cancer, HIV infection or multiple sclerosis you will
   automatically be considered as disabled.
 If you are registered blind or partially sighted or certified as blind or partially sighted by a
   consultant ophthalmologist, you will automatically be considered as disabled.

You can get additional information about disability from the Equality and Human Rights
Commission. Web site or telephone 08457 622 633


The Employment Record Form and job details are available on tape or in large print. To
request a copy please contact the Human Resources Section.

If you have a disability which prevents you from completing the documentation, please contact
the Human Resources Section to discuss other acceptable methods of application.

Arrangements for interview

Please indicate on a separate sheet any special arrangements or adjustments we may need
to make to our recruitment procedures to ensure that you are not placed at a disadvantage
because of your disability, for example the provision of an accessible interview location, a
sign-language interpreter or supportive person, disabled car parking space etc.

Arrangements if appointed

It would also be helpful to us if you are able to indicate what adjustments we may need to
consider to enable you to do the job, if you are appointed.


If you would like an informal discussion to consider any adjustments or special arrangements
that may need to be made in relation to your application or appointment please do not hesitate
to contact the relevant Assistant Human Resources Officer:

Faculty of Medical Sciences, Tracey Charlton, +44 (0)191 222 8712.
Faculty of Humanities, Arts & Social Sciences, Deborah Peacock, +44 (0)191 222 5976.
Faculty of Science Agriculture & Engineering, Jenny James, +44 (0)191 222 5222.
Central Services, Judith Burr +44 (0)191 222 6257.

A full list of Human Resources Contacts is available at

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