• Placement Reference #: EQU/2019/044
  • Careerwise Placement
  • Aberdeen
  • 29th March 2019

Website NovaBiotics NovaBiotics

NovaBiotics is a leading clinical stage biotechnology company focused on the design and development of first-in-class anti-infective therapies for difficult to treat, poorly served infectious conditions. Our rational drug design approach and unique patented anti-infective technology has already been validated through successful clinical development of the company’s lead compound, Novexatin®, for the treatment of nail fungus (onychomycosis). A robust and exciting pipeline of drug candidates are being developed for a range of conditions including cystic fibrosis, blood stream/deep tissue fungal infections and multi-drug resistant bacterial infections.

Job title:  Research Associate

Duration:    8-12 weeks; 37 hours per week (09:00 – 17:00); June – August 2019

Line Manager:   Doug Fraser-Pitt

Location:   Aberdeen

Salary:   £1250 per month

Placement Ref:    EQU/2019/044


Cysteamine is a simple aminothiol known to improve the viscoelasticity of sputum from cystic fibrosis patients. As Lynovex® it is currently in pre-registration trials as an oral adjunct for the treatment of exacerbations in cystic fibrosis associated pulmonary disease. As Nylexa® it is in development as a parenteral or inhaled treatment for AMR infections and as Muciferin® it is in development as an inhaled maintenance therapy for the treatment of CF associated lung disease. Cysteamine is mucolytic, prevents biofilm formation, potentiates a broad range of antibiotics and has anti-virulence properties.


  • Characterise antibiotic resistance profiles of CF associated pathogenic bacteria
  • Examine collateral susceptibility to antibiotics induced in vitro via selection or mutagenesis
  • Bioinformatic analysis of genotypic differences
  • Confirmatory experiments examining resistance/susceptibility mechanisms


  • Microbial culture
  • Antibiotic resistance profiling (Etests, Kirby Bauer)
  • Standard biochemical and molecular biology techniques
  • Commercial kits for determining neutrophil elastase activity
  • Bioinformatics analysis

Impact and Outcomes

  • Explore/confirm the mechanisms underpinning collateral susceptibility to one or more antibiotics using genomics and biochemical techniques
  • Investigate further the parameters for modulation of neutrophil elastase and other innate immune modulators

Basic purpose of the placement and its primary objectives

 To investigate the potential of Cysteamine to reverse antibiotic resistance in organisms which colonise CF airways and immunomodulatory activity. The student will examine strains isolated from sputum and characterise antibiotic resistance profiles and potentially explore genomic differences which underpin phenotypic changes. The student will also investigate the effect of the drug on host derived neutrophil elastase and other innate immune modulators.

Main duties:

  • Aiding with the design and planning of experiments
  • Microbiology techniques, with an emphasis on antimicrobial susceptibility testing of bacteria
  • Gain experience of a range of other techniques carried out at NovaBiotics and good working practice in a commercial laboratory setting
  • Prepare and present data at lab meetings

Knowledge and skills required:

  • 2 years undergraduate study, or equivalent, towards BSc/MSc in Bioscience or other relevant degree
    • Previous experience of working in laboratories
    • Knowledge of Microsoft Office

Person skills:

  • Good team player with ability to work using own initiative
  • Excellent organisational skills
  • Professional attitude

Working conditions:

Life Science laboratories

The internship will be based at NovaBiotics Ltd, Cruickshank Building, Craibstone, Aberdeen AB21 9TR. Working hours are 09:00 – 17:00 Mon – Fri.

The closing date is 29th March 2019. 

Education/Qualifications2 years undergraduate study, or equivalent, towards BSc/MSc in Bioscience or other relevant degree


On course for a 2:1 or 1st class Honours degree
ExperienceLaboratory work in bioscience laboratory setting


Microbiology laboratory experience
Skills/Personal Requirements Good team player


Ability or work on own initiative


Excellent interpersonal skills


Excellent organisational skills


Professional manner