University of Dundee

Postdoctoral Research Assistant, Chemistry and Chemical Biology of Next-generation BromoTag

Unit: 
Centre for Targeted Protein Degradation
Job Reference: 
SLSC1112
Closing Date: 
Thursday, August 11, 2022
Salary: 
£33,309 - £40,927

We are recruiting for an exceptional medicinal organic chemist or chemical biologist to join us as a Postdoctoral Research Assistant within the Ciulli lab (Centre for Targeted Protein degradation, School of Life Sciences) to develop the next-generation BromoTag technology using innovative small molecule chemistries. The project will be in collaboration with Tocris (part of Bio-Techne) who are the sole commercial vendors of the technology (see https://www.tocris.com/products/bromotag-agb1_7686) and who are funding the project.

The Ciulli Lab have recently developed a novel Tag-based technology called BromoTag (Bond, Craigon et al. J Med Chem 2019). This new degron-tag system enables the potent, fast and selective PROTAC-induced degradation of BromoTag fusion proteins. It consists of two components: 1) a BromoTag’ed protein, whereby the BromoTag consists of an engineered Brd4 bromodomain mutant; and 2) the PROTAC degrader AGB1, which is a Brd4-specific PROTAC degrader, modified with a bump-and-hole moiety that renders it exquisitely specific for the engineered mutant bromodomain over the wild-type bromodomain proteins.

The successful candidate will be expected to design, synthesize and characterise novel covalent BromoTag binding ligands. The qualified best ligands will be developed into a variety of novel bifunctional molecules, that recruit covalently, efficiently, and selectively the BromoTag for a variety of biotechnological research purposes, including but not restricted to targeted protein degradation. You will work closely with cell biologists in the Ciulli Lab as well as scientists at Tocris to develop and qualify the new system, and will have the opportunity to be trained and apply state-of-the-art biophysics and structural biology during the project. You will be based in our new Centre for Targeted Protein Degradation (CeTPD) within Dundee’s School of Life Sciences. 

You will join a diverse, fast-paced and collaborative team based within the Ciulli group and wider groups and teams to contribute to an innovative Centre pioneering research into fundamental and translational chemical biology. This is a unique opportunity to gain experience in world-leading, collaborative and cutting-edge research in one of the hottest area of modern translational chemical biology and biotechnology within an academia-industry collaboration setting with an open-science ethos and community-led focus.

Candidate requirements:

  • A PhD in organic chemistry, medicinal chemistry, chemical biology or a related discipline.
  • Strong background in organic medicinal chemistry and synthetic route design.
  • Strong interpersonal, communication and presentation skills.
  • Capable of working in a diverse team, but able to plan and problem-solve independently.
  • An open and collaborative approach to science

Preferred skills:

  • Experience with fragment-based and structure-based drug design and studying protein-ligand interactions.
  • Experience with development of inhibitors or PROTACs or other bifunctional molecules
  • Outstanding academic or industrial track records, with at least one first authored publication in an internationally recognised peer-reviewed journal
  • Exceptional time management, organisational and self-motivational skills

The position is available immediately, and for a fixed-term for 24 months, with the second year’s funding subject to successful completion of research milestones. The appointment will be made on University's Grade 7 salary scale (£33,309 - £40,927), dependent on experience.

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. In this case the initial appointment would be made as a Research Assistant on the Training Grade 7 salary scale (Spinal Point 25 – 28).

Commitment to DORA

The School of Life Sciences has been fully committed to the principals of the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA) since 2013. In assessing applicants, we consider the scientific quality of their published research papers, but do not take into account where the papers were published and do not consider journal-based metrics, such as Journal Impact Factors.

Additional Information:

For further information about this position please contact Professor Alessio Ciulli at a.ciulli@dundee.ac.uk.

The new Protein Degradation Centre is part of a growing Life Sciences Innovation District, an ecosystem of organisations and people within the life sciences sector in Dundee driving innovation and local economic growth. Due to open later in 2022, CeTPD is being created as a first of its kind Centre leading a number of internationally significant projects in the burgeoning new area of translational chemical biology and targeted protein degradation. The goal of CeTPD is to innovate a next-generation of small-molecule technology platforms and modalities to advance chemical and biological insights and therapeutic targets related to human diseases. It aspires to achieve this by redefine new models of open collaboration with academic, industrial and venture partners, and by training and inspiring the next-generation of research scientists and leaders. The Centre has a track record of redefining new models of research in translational chemical biology, such as innovative academia-industry collaborations (Boehringer Ingelheim, Eisai amongst others) and spin-out companies (Amphista therapeutics).

The Protein Degradation Centre is located in a beautiful setting overlooking the estuary of the River Tay, close to some of Scotland’s most spectacular mountain scenery. It is embedded within the University of Dundee’s School of Life Sciences, one of the premier research centres in the world recently assessed as the top UK University for Life Sciences research in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF), and again in the most recent REF2021. The University of Dundee 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, that is developing into a major cultural hub. Just a short walk from the V&A Museum of Design Dundee, we’re close to both the train and bus stations.

As an internationally diverse institution, we welcome job applicants from all countries and nationalities. 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.

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