University of Dundee

Synthetic Medicinal Chemist

Biological Chemistry and Drug Discovery
Job Reference: 
Closing Date: 
Friday, May 14, 2021
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 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. It is a dynamic and multidisciplinary group of 95 scientists with expertise in compound handling, assay development, high-throughput screening, medicinal and computational chemistry and in vitro and in vivo pharmacokinetics. The unit is housed in a state-of-the-art building and has cutting-edge equipment and automation for hit-discovery and lead optimisation.

We are looking for highly motivated medicinal chemists with a BSc or PhD in synthetic organic or medicinal chemistry to join an antibacterial drug discovery project funded by the Tres Cantos OpenLab Foundation ( in collaboration with GlaxoSmithKline . 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.

These posts will be based at the GlaxoSmithKline research facility in Tres Cantos, Spain (near to Madrid).

The posts are available from 1st June 2021 for 12 months.  Salary will depend upon experience, but will be in the range £32,817 to £40,322.

Your priorities will include:

  • Work closely with biologists to drive structure-guided optimisation and to generate structure-activity relationships (SAR)
  • Design new compounds and libraries based upon SAR, medicinal chemistry interpretation and DMPK data
  • Synthesis, purification and evaluation of compounds across projects
  • Reaction sequence scouting, proposal and implementation
  • Data analysis, quality assurance protocols and evaluation of biological data
  • Evaluate small molecule hits from high throughput screens, proposing early optimisation strategies to identify promising leads
  • Enable project flowchart triage including in vitro and in vivo DMPK profiling
  • As called upon, produce verbal and written reports in a timely fashion
  • Prepare methods and synthesis schemes for patents
  • Write publications where feasible

Who we’re looking for:

Required attributes:

  • A PhD in chemistry, medicinal chemistry, or a related discipline, or a BSc with subsequent relevant experience, for example in the pharmaceutical industry
  • Expertise 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

Preferred attributes:

  • Experience and background in Biotech, CRO or Pharma industry
  • Understanding and appreciation of the drug discovery process.

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.

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.

The School of Life Sciences has been consistently rated ‘5-star’ (the highest rating) by the UK national Research Assessment Exercise.

A few facts about The Tres Cantos Open lab foundation and GSK R&D site at Tres Cantos

GSK Tres Cantos R&D ( is the company´s centre for drug discovery in global health infectious diseases.The unit is formed by more than 120 scientists working in malaria, tuberculosis, kinetoplastids and pediatric AMR. This multidisciplinary groups gathers expertise in target-based and phenotypic high throughput screening, medicinal chemistry, in vitro and in vivo biology as well as in vitro and in vivo DMPKT. In addition, the centre is fully integrated within the broader GSK R&D organisation and has access to all the capabilities and infrastructure available in other GSK R&D sites.

The Tres Cantos Open Lab Foundation is an independent UK-based charity that aims to support scientists to advance projects focussed on the delivery of treatments for infectious diseases in developing countries. Thanks to the GSK-TCOLF partnership, project funding is combined with access to GSK industrial facilities and expertise. The co-location of Open Lab fellows and GSK scientists creates highly effective scientific collaborations.

As an internationally diverse institution, we welcome job applicants from all countries and nationalities. The School of Life Sciences is proud to employ staff from over 40 different nations.

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.

For further information about this position please contact Professor Ian Gilbert at To find out more about Group/Unit/Team/School please visit (

There is a residency requirement for this post: Researchers appointed or recruited for the Open Lab project must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc) in Spain for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to April 2019. Compulsory national service and/or short stays such as holidays are not taken into account.

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