University of Dundee

Synthetic Medicinal Chemist

Biological Chemistry and Drug Discovery
Job Reference: 
Closing Date: 
Saturday, September 5, 2020
Please refer to advert

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.

The Drug Discovery Unit (DDU) ( is a fully integrated drug discovery operation based within a world class Life Sciences research environment. Its remit is to complement biopharma activities by tackling neglected diseases (leishmaniasis, TB and malaria) and validation of novel drug targets across a range of therapeutic areas. The DDU works to biotech style philosophy and standards incorporating, dynamic, goal driven project management based on Target Product Profiles and Compound Selection Criteria. Project goals are therapeutic area dependent but range from quality leads demonstrating disease model proof of concept, through to pre-clinical candidates.

We are looking for highly motivated medicinal chemists with a BSc or PhD in synthetic organic or medicinal chemistry. You will ideally have subsequent experience in the biopharma industry. The posts will be primarily laboratory based and of particular interest to talented synthetic chemists who wish to learn medicinal chemistry and drug discovery in a professional drug discovery environment. The successful candidates will be expected to contribute to drug discovery projects as part of multi-disciplinary teams.

The posts are available for an immediate start, and are fixed-term for 24 months. Salary will depend upon experience, with appointment being made at either Grade 6 or Grade 7 of the University's salary scale (from £26,715 to £40,322).

Your Responsibilities:

If appointment is made at Grade 6:

  • Work closely with biologists to drive structure-guided optimisation and to generate structure-activity relationships (SAR)

  • Synthesis, purification and evaluation of compounds across projects
  • Reaction sequence scouting, proposal and implementation
  • Data analysis, quality assurance protocols and evaluation of biological data
  • As called upon, produce verbal and written reports in a timely fashion

If appointment is made at Grade 7, in addition to the above you will also:

  • Evaluate small molecule hits from high throughput screens, proposing early optimisation strategies to identify promising leads
  • Design new compounds and libraries based upon SAR, medicinal chemistry interpretation and DMPK data
  • Enable project flowchart triage including in vitro and in vivo DMPK profiling
  • Prepare methods and synthesis schemes for patents
  • Write publications where feasible

Who we are looking for:

Your qualifications:

  • A BSc in chemistry or PhD in synthetic organic chemistry, medicinal chemistry, or a related disciplineExpertise in synthetic organic chemistry and synthetic route design
  • Excellent written, oral and interpersonal communication skills
  • Capable of working in a team, but able to plan and work independently
  • Good time management, organisational and communication skills
  • A willingness to work flexibly to meet project milestones
  • Experience in the biopharma industry and an understanding and appreciation of the drug discovery process would be advantageous

Apply Here

The successful candidate will be based within the DDU and School of Life Sciences at the University of Dundee ( The School of Life Sciences is one of the top life science research institutes in Europe for Biological Sciences.

The Biological Chemistry and Drug Discovery Division and Drug Discovery Unit operate on an external funding basis. The Principal Investigators within these units 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 Ian Gilbert 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 500,000th visitor; the Dundee Rep and Scottish Dance Theatre; Dundee Contemporary Arts; MacManus Gallery and many individual artists.

For further information about the local area and the top reasons to live and work in Dundee and Scotland:

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.

The University of Dundee is committed to equal opportunities and welcomes applications from all sections.