University of Dundee

Postdoctoral Research Assistant (Organic Medicinal Chemistry / Chemical Biology)

Biological Chemistry and Drug Discovery
Job Reference: 
Closing Date: 
Monday, September 7, 2020
Grade 7 (£32,817 - £40,322)

We are seeking a highly motivated postdoctoral researcher with experience in organic chemistry, medicinal chemistry and/or chemical biology to work in the laboratory of Alessio Ciulli at the University of Dundee’s School of Life Sciences, Division of Biological Chemistry and Drug Discovery, under the auspices of a new Protein Degradation Centre, on a project in close collaboration with the group of Dario Alessi at the Medical Research Council Protein Phosphorylation and Ubiquitylation Unit (MRC-PPU).

The goal of the project is to develop and optimize bifunctional molecules, also known as proteolysis-targeting chimeras (PROTACs), that will induce the degradation of a challenging protein kinase target linked to disease. Building on exciting preliminary data on this project, the successful candidate will be expected to design and synthesise novel PROTACs and characterise their biological activity as degraders of the target of interest in cellular and disease models. The ultimate ambition is to qualify potent, selective and cell-active degraders as tool compounds to investigate the target’s biology and as starting points for potential therapeutic development.

For more information on our labs:

For further information on previous research on 1) PROTAC development by the Ciulli group and b) collaborative PROTAC projects by the Ciulli/Alessi groups see:

1. a) Zoppi et al. J. Med. Chem. 2019; b) Testa et al. Angew. Chem. Intl. Ed. 2020

2. a) Tovell et al. ACS Chem. Biol. 2019, pp. 2024; b) Tovell et al. ACS Chem. Biol. 2019, pp. 882

The post is available for an immediate start, and is for 1 year in the first instance but may be extendable dependent on project progress. Salary will depend on experience and will be up to £40,322.

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 drug discovery within an academic setting.

We are looking for candidates with:

  • A Ph.D. in organic chemistry, medicinal chemistry, or a chemical science-related discipline
  • Strong background in organic/medicinal chemistry. Experience with targeted protein degradation and/or chemical biology will be a plus but is not required.
  • Proven expertise in compound route design, and in successful delivery of complex synthetic routes
  • Excellent interpersonal, communication and presentation skills 
  • An open and collaborative approach to science

Preferred skills:

  • Outstanding academic or industrial track records
  • Good understanding of modern design concepts required to optimise physicochemical properties of molecules as probes to study biology and potential drug leads.
  • Capable of working in a diverse team, but able to plan and work independently
  • Exceptional time management, organisational and self-motivational skills

Apply Here

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 would be made as a Research Assistant on the Training Grade 7 salary scale (Spinal Point 25 - 28 £29,176 - £31,866).

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.

Informal enquiries may be made to Professor Alessio Ciulli, e-mail:

Additional information:

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. 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) and spin-out companies (Amphista therapeutics).

The MRC-PPU is one of the world’s most renowned centres for research on protein phosphorylation and ubiquitylation ( 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.

The Protein Degradation Centre and the MRC-PPU are located in a beautiful setting overlooking the estuary of the River Tay. They are 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). 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. Just a short walk from the V&A Museum of Design Dundee, we’re close to both the train and bus stations.

The diversity of our staff and students helps to make the University of Dundee one of the top universities in the UK. Family friendly policies, staff support networks for BME and LGBT staff, membership of Athena Swan and Stonewall, as well a full range of disability services, create an enjoyable and inclusive place to work.