University of Dundee

Postdoctoral Research Assistant

Medical Research Council Protein Phosphorylation and Ubiquitylation Unit
Job Reference: 
Closing Date: 
Saturday, June 8, 2019
Grade 7 (£32,236 - £39,609)

Postdoctoral position in the laboratory of Esther Sammler for translational work on Parkinson’s disease funded by a Scottish Senior Clinical Academic Fellowship.

The overarching aim of the project is to study the role of the LRRK2 kinase by analysing human bio-samples. LRRK2 is one of the most frequently mutated genes in Parkinson’s disease, but there is also a link to inflammatory bowel disease and immune defence mechanisms in general. The successful candidate will be in charge of analysing LRRK2 pathway activity in samples and those from international collaborators with a view to test and develop comprehensive biomarker assays for LRRK2 activation status and substrate phosphorylation employing quantitative immunoblotting, targeted LRRK2 substrate proteomics and immunohistochemistry. These studies have direct implications for improving diagnostic and therapeutic options for patients and could also lead to the identification of novel biomarkers and regulators of the LRRK2 signalling pathway that would be characterized further. This work could help define which Parkinson’s patient that might benefit most from LRRK2 inhibitor trials that are underway.

The successful applicant will have access to state-of-the-art technologies and imaging facilities, and relevant genetic in vivo models for implementing novel methods of biochemical stratification of patient samples as well as the initial functional analysis of novel interactors of the LRRK2 signalling network. The latter would be done in collaboration with Professor Dario Alessi FRS.

There will be opportunities for training and development, as well as public outreach and patient engagement. The MRC unit also collaborates with three major pharmaceutical companies that support the Division of Signal Transduction Therapy that provides opportunities for interaction with industry and the potential for the exploitation of new discoveries made in the laboratory.

Candidate requirements:

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

- Must be capable of working in a team, but also plan and work independently.

- Strong background in any one of Cell Signalling, Neurobiology, Molecular Biology, and Biochemistry would be preferable.

- Excellent communication skills and proficiency in English.

The position is available for 3 years in the first instance.

The starting salary for this post will be between points 29-33 (£32,236 - £36,261) on the Grade 7 salary scale, depending 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. 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 Esther Sammler (email: 

For details on the Sammler group please visit our website (

The Sammler group is based in the MRC Protein Phosphorylation and Ubiquitylation Unit (MRC-PPU), one of the world’s most renowned centres for research on protein phosphorylation and ubiquitylation ( and is an exciting and collaborative research environment, equipped to the highest international standards. 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; and 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 School of Life Sciences at the University of Dundee. This is one of the premier Life Sciences research centres in the world and was recently assessed as the top UK University for Life Sciences research in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF).

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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