University of Dundee

Postdoctoral Research Assistant – Cancer Cell Biology of Targeted Protein Degradation

Biological Chemistry and Drug Discovery
Job Reference: 
Closing Date: 
Sunday, February 16, 2020
Grade 7 (£32,817 - £40,322)

Professor Alessio Ciulli’s laboratory is seeking a postdoctoral researcher to undertake research in collaboration with the pharmaceutical company Eisai Co. Ltd. The project will apply novel cell biology and biochemical approaches to investigate mechanisms of targeted protein degradation and of novel degrader molecules to treat cancers and elucidate their mechanism of action.

The successful applicant will be based within the Ciulli lab in Dundee ( The laboratory is pioneering novel chemical structural biology approaches to targeted protein degradation with a new class of molecular therapeutics known as proteolysis targeting chimeric molecules (PROTACs) (see Maniaci et al., 2017, Nat. Commun. 8, 830 and Farnaby et al., 2019, Nat. Chem. Biol. 15, 627 for recent publications from the group). A PROTAC is a bifunctional molecule containing two ligands connected by a linker unit. One ligand binds to an E3 ubiquitin ligase while the other ligand binds to a target protein of interest, triggering the poly-ubiquitination and proteasome-dependent degradation of the target protein. The applicant will employ state of the art biochemistry, cell biology, and biophysical/structural approaches to conduct molecular and biochemical studies on degrader mechanisms and mode of action. The applicant will also be expected to develop novel approaches to targeted protein degradation, working in close collaboration with chemists within the Ciulli group.

The post is available to start immediately and salary will depend on experience, but will be up to £40,322. This is a unique opportunity to gain experience in world-leading industry-style drug discovery within an academic setting. The position is available for 24 months in the first instance.

Candidate requirements:

• PhD with outstanding academic track record and at least one first authored publication in an internationally recognised peer-reviewed journal.

• Strong background in cell biology, molecular biology and biochemistry is essential.

• Experience with mammalian cells tissue culture, shRNA and CRISPR and other relevant genome editing technologies is essential.

• Experience with recombinant protein expression and purification, molecular cloning, and protein-protein and protein-ligand interaction studies would be advantageous. Experience in or interest in learning biophysical and structural biology techniques would be a plus.

• Strong interest in protein degradation research and drug discovery is expected.

• Prior experience in oncology drug discovery preferred but not essential

• Capable of working in a team, but able to plan and work independently.

• Strong interpersonal, communication and presentation skills are essential

• The candidate should have ambitions to become a successful independent researcher either in academia or the pharmaceutical/biotechnology industry.

Appointment on the Grade 7 salary scale is dependent upon you having been awarded a PhD. An appointment may be considered if you are shortly expected to be awarded a PhD. In those cases the initial appointment will be made as a Research Assistant on the Training Grade 7 salary scale (Spinal Point 28, £31,866).

Informal enquiries may be made to Professor Alessio Ciulli, e-mail:

The University of Dundee are one of the UK’s leading universities – internationally recognised for our expertise across a range of disciplines and research breakthroughs in multiple areas, including science, medicine and engineering, amongst many others. Conveniently located on the banks of River Tay, our main city-centre campus is at the heart of Dundee - an up-and-coming, friendly, compact and affordable city with a rich heritage in design and technology. Just a short walk from the V&A Museum of Design Dundee, we’re close to both the train and bus stations. We also have campuses at Ninewells Hospital and in Kirkcaldy which are easily accessible via local transport links.

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