University of Dundee

Postdoctoral Research Assistant

Medical Research Council Protein Phosphorylation and Ubiquitylation Unit
Job Reference: 
Closing Date: 
Thursday, February 6, 2020
Please refer to advert

Applications are invited for a Postdoctoral Researcher to work in the laboratory of Dario Alessi in close collaboration with the group of Kei Sakamoto at the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research, University of Copenhagen to identify protein phosphatases that act on the central energy sensor AMPK and its related kinase signalling pathway. The work will use similar approaches that have recently led to the discovery of the PPM1H phosphatase as an enzyme that counteracts the LRRK2 signalling network by dephosphorylating Rab proteins in Parkinson’s disease (

There are nearly 200 protein phosphatases that are very poorly understood in comparison to protein kinases. Identifying phosphatases that act on key disease relevant targets including components of the AMPK and AMPK-related kinase pathway and working out how they are regulated are major questions. The successful candidate will undertake genetic screens to identify and characterize novel phosphatase components control the AMPK/AMPK-related protein kinase network. Subsequent work will focus on understanding how these phosphatases impact on physiological processes such as energy homeostasis and cell growth that are controlled by AMPK and AMPK-related kinase pathway.

The successful applicant will deploy a state-of-the-art blend of biochemical, proteomic, pharmacological and genetic methodologies including CRISPR/CAS9 knock-out and knock-in technology working between two vibrant laboratories. The applicant will gain much experience in understanding signal transduction pathways and how they are linked to disease.

For informal enquiries please contact Dario Alessi and/or Kei Sakamoto

For further details on Alessi ( or and Sakamoto ( and laboratories research and publications, please peruse the indicated website links.

MRC Protein Phosphorylation and Ubiquitylation Unit (PPU):

This project will be performed in the MRC Protein Phosphorylation and Ubiquitylation Unit (MRC-PPU), based within the College of Life Sciences at the University of Dundee. The MRC-PPU is one of the world’s most renowned centres for research on protein phosphorylation and ubiquitylation ( Many world leading researchers in the field of signal transduction have trained within the MRC-PPU. The major aims of the MRC-PPU are to advance understanding of the role of protein phosphorylation and ubiquitylation in cell regulation and human disease, to facilitate the development of drugs to treat diseases caused by abnormalities in phosphorylation, to generate reagents and improve technologies. Another key remit of the MRC-PPU is to train the next generation of scientists who will advance our understanding in this crucial area of medical research. The MRC-PPU is in a beautiful location overlooking the estuary of the River Tay and embedded within the College of Life Sciences at the University of Dundee which is one of the premier Life Sciences research Centres in the world.

Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research (CBMR)

CBMR was established in 2010 at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen. The establishment of the Center was made possible by a generous (DKK 885 million), unrestricted grant from the Foundation. In 2018 the Novo Nordisk Foundation awarded new strategic funding to the Center (DKK 700 million). The CBMR aims to strengthen interdisciplinary research that transforms the basic understanding of the mechanisms involved in metabolic health and disease, and to accelerate this knowledge toward new prevention and treatment strategies. This will be achieved via dynamic collaborative research projects that integrate different levels of exploration from single cell to whole body physiology, to effectively connect basic biological knowledge to translational and innovation outcomes.

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 Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Signal Transduction would be preferable.

• Experience and strong interest in signal transduction research and desire to understand how disruptions of these pathways are linked to human disease.

• Experience in working with AMPK/AMPK-related kinases and/or protein phosphatases would be advantageous but not essential

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

• Excellent communication skills and knowledge of the English language.

The position is available for 3 years.

The position will be on the University of Dundee Grade 7 scale points 29-31 only (£32,817 – £34,804 per annum).

Appointment as a Postdoctoral Research Assistant 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. The initial appointment will be made as a Research Assistant on the Training Grade 7 salary scale (Spinal Point 28, £31,866).

We 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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