Sample Preparation Scientist (Night Shift)

Req ID:  74332

Cambridge, GB, CB2 0BA

For 70 years, Charles River employees have worked together to assist in the discovery, development and safe manufacture of new drug therapies. When you join our family, you will have a significant impact on the health and well-being of people across the globe. Whether your background is in life sciences, finance, IT, sales or another area, your skills will play an important role in the work we perform. In return, we’ll help you build a career that you can feel passionate about.

Job Summary

As part of the UK Government’s National Testing Strategy for COVID-19, a testing centre has been established in Cambridge through a collaboration between AstraZeneca, GSK and the University of Cambridge.  The COVID-19 Cambridge Testing Centre, located on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus, opened in April, is making a significant contribution to the national testing effort.  The high-throughput testing laboratory was purpose designed and is equipped with state-of-the art automation and innovative scientific processes.   

The Cambridge COVID-19 Testing Centre is required to continue its testing operation into 2021.  To support this continued operation, Charles River has been asked to join the collaboration and we are now seeking to recruit over 200 scientists to support the continued lab operation across a range of roles.  Staff in the laboratory will work a shift pattern, enabling continuous operation of the centre 24 hours a day. 


We are seeking Sample Preparation Scientists on night shifts for this project.


This is based on fixed term contracts ending on Tuesday 27th April 2021 with competitive salaries and set shifts.  

Pattern 1: Tuesday – Friday : 11.30pm - 6.30am
Pattern 2: Saturday – Monday : 11.30pm - 6.30am 


Roles require:
•    Work in BSL2 laboratory (Biosafety Level 2) 
•    Work with human biological specimens.
•    Work with samples which may contain live virus
•    Working and communicating across a fast-paced cross organisational team.
•    Following SOPs.



This role involves receipt and preparation of swab samples, for RNA extraction and PCR analysis. Primary duties are removal of specimen transport tubes from kit packaging, racking and pipetting samples into 96 well plates according to the safety guidelines, while using PPE and sample containment. Individuals will be fully trained. 

•    Identifying and processing samples that may be compromised or do not meet criteria according to defined processes and procedures 
•    Completing viral inactivation steps 
•    Tracking of samples using LIMS system
•    Use of larger scale liquid handling automation


If you want to help with the national efforts but do not have a scientific background then please still apply - full, comprehensive training will be provided

•    Strong basis in biosafety, experience with handling human biological samples and working at containment level 2 is desirable but not essential
•    Educated to degree level within a scientific discipline, or equivalent lab experience is also desirable
•    Attention to detail, able and willing to perform manual tasks. 
•    IT literate, confident interacting with LIMS system
•    Can work with minimal supervision, use reasoning when faced with unfamiliar scenarios. 
•    Demonstrable skills in interpreting and recording results
•    Can pick skills up quickly and apply in a laboratory-based environment. 
•    Experience using larger scale laboratory automation preferred. 

About Discovery
Discovery from Charles River is industry-proven in the successful development of novel therapies, with over 350 patents and 80 preclinical drug candidates delivered to our sponsors in the past 17 years. Backed by more than 650 scientists, our comprehensive, integrated portfolio employs the latest technology and platforms to provide chemistry, biology, and pharmacology services that support clients from the earliest stages of hit identification all the way through to IND. Our client-focused, collaborative approach creates true partnerships that anticipate challenges, overcome obstacles, and move us forward together on the journey of getting new drugs to market.


About Charles River
Charles River is an early-stage contract research organization (CRO). We have built upon our foundation of laboratory animal medicine and science to develop a diverse portfolio of discovery and safety assessment services, both Good Laboratory Practice (GLP) and non-GLP, to support clients from target identification through preclinical development. Charles River also provides a suite of products and services to support our clients’ clinical laboratory testing needs and manufacturing activities. Utilizing this broad portfolio of products and services enables our clients to create a more flexible drug development model, which reduces their costs, enhances their productivity and effectiveness to increase speed to market.


With over 17,000 employees within 90 facilities in 20 countries around the globe, we are strategically positioned to coordinate worldwide resources and apply multidisciplinary perspectives in resolving our client’s unique challenges. Our client base includes global pharmaceutical companies, biotechnology companies, government agencies and hospitals and academic institutions around the world. And in 2019, revenue increased to $2.62 billion.


At Charles River, we are passionate about our role in improving the quality of people’s lives. Our mission, our excellent science and our strong sense of purpose guide us in all that we do, and we approach each day with the knowledge that our work helps to improve the health and well-being of many across the globe. We have proudly supported the development of ~85% of the drugs approved by the FDA in 2019.