University of Dundee

Postdoctoral Research Assistant (Structural Cell Biology of E3 Ubiquitin Ligases)

Biological Chemistry and Drug Discovery
Job Reference: 
Closing Date: 
Friday, May 31, 2019
Grade 7 (£32,236 - £39,609)

Professor Alessio Ciulli’s laboratory is seeking a postdoctoral researcher to undertake research in collaboration with one of the leading pharmaceutical companies supporting the Division of Signal Transduction Therapy (DSTT). The DSTT facilitates collaborations between some of the world’s major pharmaceutical companies (Boehringer Ingelheim, GlaxoSmithKline, and Merck-Serono) and leading Dundee-based researchers with a proven track record of achievement in understanding and exploiting the fundamental molecular causes of human disease in the fields of cancer, immune-regulation, neurodegeneration and hypertension resulting from disruptions in protein ubiquitylation, phosphorylation and other signalling networks.

The successful applicant will be based within the Ciulli lab in Dundee ( The laboratory is pioneering novel chemical structural biology approaches to target E3 ubiquitin ligases with small molecules (see Kung et al., 2018, bioRxiv 470187, and Maniaci et al., 2017, Nat. Commun. 8, 830 for recent publications from the group). The applicant will employ state of the art structural biology, cell biology and biophysical approaches to conduct molecular and structural studies on disease-relevant human E3 ubiquitin ligases. The Ciulli lab has close collaborations and access to facilities available within both the MRC Protein Phosphorylation Unit ( and more widely within the School of Life Sciences. This set-up will ensure the successful candidate will have access to whatever technologies required to conduct the projects that they are working on, including molecular, biochemical, mass spec proteomics, pharmacological and genetic methodologies including CRISPR/CAS9 knock-out and knock-in technologies. There will be regular opportunity for interaction and to discuss data within the group and with the collaborating pharma company.

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 Cell Biology, or Structural Biology is required.

• Strong interest in signal transduction research and how disruptions of these pathways are linked to human disease is expected.

• Experience with recombinant protein expression and purification, molecular cloning, and protein X-ray crystallography (or cryo-EM) is required.

• Experience with mammalian cells tissue culture, and protein-protein interaction studies inside cells e.g. pull-down, proteomics, would be highly advantageous.

• Experience with biophysical methods to study in vitro protein-protein and protein-peptide interactions is desirable.

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

• Excellent communication skills and knowledge of the English language are essential.

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

The fund for this project is available till 30th June 2020 in the first instance with a chance to renew.

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 which case the initial appointment will be made as a Research Assistant on the Training Grade 7 salary scale (Spinal Point 28, £31,302).

For informal enquiries please contact Prof Alessio Ciulli or Dr Kwok-Ho Chan

School of Life Sciences:

School of Life Sciences at the University of Dundee is the highest-rated for Biological Sciences in the UK by the main standard of University research performance REF2014 ( Comprising about 100 research groups, the highest number of citations-per-paper for biological sciences in Europe (2013 and 2014 QS World University Rankings), over £100 million of research income in 2013 and nearly 900 staff from over 60 countries worldwide, the School enjoys a reputation as one of the most dynamic international centres for molecular cell biology, with outstanding laboratory and technology facilities. 'Lateral' and 'vertical' interactions within and between research groups are actively encouraged and 13% of publications in the past 5 years have been collaborations between two or more groups .

Division of Signal Transduction Unit:

The Division of Signal Transduction Therapy (DSTT) was established in 1998. This division operates as a unique collaboration between Dundee scientists and three leading pharmaceutical companies (Boehringer Ingelheim, GlaxoSmithKline, Merck Serono). The DSTT is widely regarded as a model for how academia should interact with industry to help accelerate the early stages of drug discovery. The DSTT model enables industrial researchers working in any of the worldwide outlets of three pharmaceutical companies to effectively work with the ~200 Dundee-based researchers that participate in the collaboration to understand the fundamentals of the molecular causes of disease that result from disruptions in protein phosphorylation and ubiquitylation networks.

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