University of Dundee

Computational Drug Design & Molecular Modelling Scientist (PROTAC drug discovery)

Biological Chemistry and Drug Discovery
Job Reference: 
Closing Date: 
Sunday, May 16, 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.

We are seeking a highly motivated scientist with research experience in computational drug design to join a multi-disciplinary drug discovery team based in a new Centre for Targeted Protein Degradation (CeTPD) within Dundee’s School of Life Sciences.

You will work with a number of drug discovery teams engaged in an exciting collaboration on proteolysis-targeting chimeras (PROTAC), between the laboratories of Professor Alessio Ciulli ( and Boehringer Ingelheim. Our mission is to discover novel small-molecule degraders to treat cancers with serious unmet medical needs. This role will contribute to our structure based PROTAC design approach. The scientist will be expected to lead the computational science approaches of the Dundee team to accelerate translation of research in this field and to discover degrader drug candidates.

The opportunity will suit candidates with experience in computational chemistry and/or molecular modelling who are interested in applying their knowledge to PROTAC drug discovery, or with experience in medicinal chemistry looking to build their career towards a more computational focus. The post holder will be expected to develop close interactions with computational chemists at Boehringer-Ingelheim.

The post is available to start on 1st July 2021. Salary will depend on experience and will be up to £40,322. This is a unique opportunity to gain experience in world-leading industry-style drug discovery within an academic setting. The position is available until 31st December 2023 in the first instance.

Your priorities will include:

  • Use your expertise and state of the art computational tools to design potential drug molecules.
  • Apply and develop cutting edge approaches for modelling binary and ternary complexes formed by PROTACs.
  • Work with medicinal chemists, structural biophysicists and cell biologists to generate and apply your ideas.
  • Lead technical discussions with project members in Dundee and at Boehringer Ingelheim
  • Develop team science across the collaboration, enabling breakthroughs with colleagues across disciplines.
  • Present findings to the collaboration team and externally at international conferences.
  • Stay current with scientific literature in the rapidly growing PROTAC field.
  • Report directly to the Collaboration Leader (Will Farnaby) and to the Principal Investigator (Alessio Ciulli)

Who we’re looking for:

  • Ph.D. or Masters with experience in industry within medicinal chemistry, computational chemistry or a related discipline
  • Experience in applying a range of computational tools to improve ligand:protein binding.
  • A keen interest to learn new approaches and techniques and to grow your own computational drug discovery repertoire.
  • Strong interpersonal, communication and presentation skills
  • Excellent data handling skills.

Preferred skills:

  • Experience in applying computational tools to inform on molecular interactions e.g. molecular modelling, molecular dynamics, and to address drug design challenges beyond binding e.g. ADME/PK/Tox.
  • Excellent academic or industrial track records
  • Exceptional time management, organisational and self-motivational skills

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.

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

The new Centre for Targeted Protein is located in a beautiful setting overlooking the estuary of the River Tay. It 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 is 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.  Further information can be found here:

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.

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