University of Dundee

Assay Development Scientist (Biochemistry) / Enzymologist: Wellcome Centre for Anti-Infectives Research

Drug Discovery Unit
Job Reference: 
Closing Date: 
Monday, November 9, 2020
Grade 7 (£32,817 - £40,322)

The School of Life Sciences at the University of Dundee is a world-class academic institution with a reputation for the excellence of its research, its high quality teaching and student experience, and the strong impact of its activities outside academia. With 900 staff from over 60 countries worldwide the School provides a dynamic, multi-national, collegiate and diverse environment with state-of-the-art laboratory, technology and teaching facilities.

We are looking for a highly motivated enzymologist / biochemist to join the Wellcome Centre for Anti-Infectives Research (WCAIR, The appointee will work jointly between the Mode of Action Group ( and the Apicomplexan team within the Drug Discovery Unit ( Both groups work to identify new drug targets that can be exploited to develop new drugs for tropical diseases, such as malaria, Chagas’ disease and visceral leishmaniasis. WCAIR is housed in state-of-the-art facilities and has cutting-edge equipment and automation to support anti-infectives research.

The post holder will join a multi-disciplinary team working on developing new drug targets for tropical diseases.

The post will involve:

  • The development of enzymatic assays for potential drug targets relevant to tropical diseases
  • Developing high-throughput biochemical assays (including operation of robotics and high-volume data handling and interpretation)
  • The development of new methodologies to facilitate target-based drug discovery
  • Providing biological expertise to support progression of projects
  • Regular interactions with teams of biochemists, chemists, structural biologists and DMPK scientists

The successful candidate will be expected to:

  • Design and perform experiments, follow protocols meticulously and report results, both verbally and in writing, within agreed timelines
  • Work independently and innovatively to develop and troubleshoot complex assays using multi-protein systems
  • Propose novel approaches for target-based drug discovery
  • Maintain detailed, industry-standard, electronic records of all experiments.
  • Assist with routine maintenance and troubleshooting of instruments and laboratory housekeeping functions.
  • Comply with Health and Safety practices within WCAIR



  • Candidates will have a PhD in Biochemistry or Pharmacology (or other appropriate life science discipline) or have equivalent experience and a keen interest in drug discovery.
  • Expertise developing enzymatic assays.
  • Understanding of (and practical application of) enzyme kinetics.
  • Experience of curve-fitting, data handling and analysis.
  • A demonstrated ability to tackle complex projects using thoughtful, considered and innovative approaches.
  • High level of attention to detail.
  • Strong organisational skills including ability to prioritise.
  • Ability to work to tight deadlines and rigorous standards.
  • Flexible approach to projects; priorities may change based on overall portfolio needs and strategy.
  • Good interpersonal / communication skills.
  • Ability to work independently and as part of a team.


  • Experience of line management
  • Understanding of quality and robustness metrics used for high-throughput screening
  • Expertise using lab automation, and transfer of assays to a high-throughput format.

The position is fixed-term for 24 months, and the appointment will be made on the University's Grade 7 salary scale (between £32,817 - £40,322).

Apply Here

The Drug Discovery Unit operates on an external funding basis. The Principal Investigators within this unit are highly successful in securing external funding for their multi-disciplinary and highly collaborative research and activities.

For further information about this position please contact Professor David Gray at

A few facts about The School of Life Sciences at Dundee

  • The School of Life Sciences has over 900 research and support staff from 59 countries and external funding in excess of £40 million per year.
  • Dundee has twice been named ‘the best place to work in Europe’ in a poll of scientists conducted by The Scientist magazine.
  • The School of Life Sciences has been consistently rated ‘5-star’ (the highest rating) by the UK national Research Assessment Exercise.

Dundee, set on the east coast of Scotland, lies in an area of outstanding natural beauty, including large sandy beaches and challenging hills. Dundee is also a vibrant cultural centre. Home to the new V&A Dundee, opened in September 2018 and already hosting its 500,000 visitor; the Dundee Rep and Scottish Dance Theatre; Dundee Contemporary Arts; MacManus Gallery and many individual artists.

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.

The diversity of our staff and students helps to make the University of Dundee a UK university of choice for undergraduate, postgraduate and distance learning. Family friendly policies, staff networks for BME, Disabled and LGBT staff, membership of Athena SWAN, the ECU Race Equality Charter and Stonewall as well a full range of disability services, create an enjoyable and inclusive place to work.