PCR Scientist - Night Shift

Req ID:  65345

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 new 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, and 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 be required to work a shift pattern, that enables continuous operation of the centre 24 hours a day. 


We are seeking PCR Scientists on the night shift for this project located in Central Cambridge. 


The role is based on a fixed term contract ending Tuesday 27th April 2021 with competitive salary packages and set shift patterns as specified below.  


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


Scientists will work in teams to prepare samples with a validated COVID-19 method. All roles require:

•    Work in BSL2 laboratory (Biosafety Level 2) 
•    Work with human biological specimens.
•    Work with samples which may contain SARS-Cov-2.
•    Working and communicating across a fast-paced cross organisational team.
•    Strictly following SOPs.


This role will involve performing the RT-PCR reaction setup including manual pipetting and automated plate preparation using benchtop automation equipment. Following this, scientists will be responsible for taking the samples once ready and setting up the assay on the qPCR instrument. There will be PPE supplied for the level of exposure and will have to strictly adhere to the specific COVID-19 Testing SOP.

Further Responsibilities include: 
•    Transferring samples from 96 well plate to 384 well plate using benchtop liquid handling automation with minimal mistakes.
•    Preparation of PCR reaction mixtures and appropriate controls
•    Operation of Roche Lightcycler PCR instrumentation 
•    Root cause analysis of any errors or problems 
•    Maintenance of bench space, ensuring that the area is kept clean, tidy and free from contaminants 



•    Educated to degree level or higher within a molecular biology focused discipline 
•    Expert skills in setting up and carrying out qPCR studies, ideally at 384 well scale – including the programming of qPCR machines 
•    Able and willing to perform routine, manual tasks accurately
•    Demonstrable skills in identifying anomalous results and being able to highlight and investigate the source 
•    Excellent communication and problem-solving skills 

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.