University of Dundee

Structural Biology & Biophysics Scientist (PROTAC drug discovery)

Biological Chemistry and Drug Discovery
Job Reference: 
Closing Date: 
Wednesday, June 23, 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 40 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 structural biology and biophysics 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 (

The team is engaged in an exciting collaboration on proteolysis-targeting chimeras (PROTAC) drug discovery between the laboratories of Professor Alessio Ciulli ( and Boehringer Ingelheim. Our mission is to discover novel small-molecule degraders to treat cancer and other human diseases with serious unmet medical needs. The scientist will be expected to boost the structure and biophysics guided approaches the team are taking to accelerate translation of research in this field and to develop degrader drug candidates.

The post is available to start immediately. 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 post may also provide opportunities for project leadership and to carry out a short work placement at the collaborator research site. The position is available until 31st December 2023 in the first instance.

Your priorities will include:

  • Characterise the binding of small molecule bifunctional degraders to their target protein and E3 ligases using X-ray crystallography, NMR spectroscopy and/or cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) amongst other structural methods.
  • Design constructs and express and purify proteins to enable compound evaluation via a broad spectrum of biophysical and biochemical techniques.
  • Execute and optimize binding assays in vitro to profile novel compounds (including but not limited to proximity and fluorescence-based assays, ITC, and SPR)
  • Carry out data analysis and relevant quality assurance protocols
  • Develop team science across the collaboration, working with colleagues across disciplines to enable breakthroughs.
  • Present findings to the collaboration team and externally at international conferences
  • Report directly to the Collaboration Leader (Will Farnaby) and to the Principal Investigator (Alessio Ciulli)

Who we’re looking for:

  • Ph.D. in structural biology, biophysics, biochemistry, chemical biology or a related discipline
  • Highly experienced in structural biology and biophysics, with an emphasis on structure-based drug design.
  • Strong background in molecular biology (construct design, cloning etc.), protein expression, purification and characterisation
  • Experience with either protein crystallization, X-ray data collection (in-house and at synchrotrons), structure solution and model refinement, or protein NMR spectroscopy, or cryo-EM.
  • Strong interpersonal, communication and presentation skills

Preferred skills:

  • Outstanding academic or industrial track records
  • Experience working in drug discovery teams.
  • Strong data science and computational skills
  • 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:

Additional Information:

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 new Protein Degradation Centre 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.

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 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.

The Closing Date is midnight on 23rd June 2021.

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