University of Dundee

Molecular/ Cellular Parasitologist

Biological Chemistry and Drug Discovery
Job Reference: 
Closing Date: 
Sunday, October 4, 2020
Grade 7 (£32,817 - £40,322)

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 the School provides a dynamic, multi-national, collegiate and diverse environment with state-of-the-art laboratory, technology and teaching facilities.

We are seeking to appoint a highly motivated postdoctoral researcher with appropriate skills in molecular and cell biology to join our Mode of Action (MoA) group. The MoA group is embedded within the newly formed Wellcome Centre for Anti-Infectives Research (WCAIR) ( at the University of Dundee. The vision for the WCAIR is to tackle the urgent unmet medical need and lack of drug discovery research for Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs). WCAIR aims to integrate research in fundamental biology and translational research to deliver high-quality pre-clinical drug candidates for the treatment of NTDs.

The MoA group, led by Dr Susan Wyllie (, is focused on determining the mechanism of action and molecular targets of compounds that are phenotypically-active. To date this work has focused on kinetoplastid and Plasmodium parasites. We have developed an integrated drug target deconvolution strategy, employing an array of established and new methodologies encompassing high-throughput genetics, cell biology and chemical proteomics. We work closely with partners in academia and industry, and information emanating from our studies has been vital in guiding numerous drug discovery programmes.

We have recently received funding to broaden our scope to include drug target identification in Cryptosporidium. You will be dually appointed as a member of the MoA group, and a member of the Pawlowic lab, led by Dr Mattie Pawlowic ( The Pawlowic lab genetic and biochemical tools to investigate parasite transmission. They also collaborate with the MoA group and the Drug Discovery Unit to apply genetic tools to drug discovery.

Your priorities will include:

You will benefit from being a member of both the Mode-of-Action and Pawlowic labs, and be at the forefront of developing molecular and cell biology tools to support drug target deconvolution for Cryptosporidium parasites. You will adopt existing methodologies currently used for target deconvolution in other parasites for use in Cryptosporidium, and you will have the opportunity to create new strategies and technologies for mode of action studies. You will gain skills in genetic manipulation of Cryptosporidium and use these skills to inform drug discovery. You will engage with project partners and contribute to exciting work to advance the development of therapeutics for cryptosporidiosis. As part of WCAIR you will interact with people working on a whole range of scientific disciplines and advanced technologies including mass spectrometry, cell and biochemical assay development, high-throughput screening, medicinal chemistry, in vivo models, and Drug Metabolism & Pharmacokinetics.

Candidate Requirements

Essential Skills:

  • A PhD in a relevant subject, such as parasitology, microbiology or molecular biology.
  • Extensive molecular biology experience (DNA/RNA sample preparation, gene cloning, western blots, etc).
  • Considerable experience in the culture of category 2 pathogens.
  • Computer and data processing/management skills.
  • Ability to work both independently and/or as part of a team.
  • Good communication skills – written/verbal.
  • Track record of publication in peer-related journals.

Highly Desirable Skills:

  • Experience in mode of action studies or drug discovery.
  • Considerable experience in the culture and genetic manipulation of eukaryotic pathogens using CRISPR work with apicomplexan parasites including Toxoplasma or Plasmodium is highly desired.
  • Experience with analysis of “omics” datasets including proteomics, RNA- Seq, or whole-genome sequencing.
  • Microscopy (wide-field, confocal, etc).

Apply Here

This position is fixed-term, with funding available from 01 January 2021 until 31 December 2023.

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.

Appointment 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).

For more information please contact Susan Wyllie ( or Mattie Pawlowic ( and visit our websites ( and ( Applications should be submitted to the Dundee jobs portal (

The University's statement on the use of animals in research can be found here:

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.

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.