University of Dundee

Postdoctoral Research Assistant

Medical Research Council Protein Phosphorylation and Ubiquitylation Unit
Job Reference: 
Closing Date: 
Thursday, July 23, 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 worldwide the School provides a dynamic, multi-national, collegiate and diverse environment with state-of-the-art laboratory, technology and teaching facilities.

Project: Dissecting AMPK/AMPK-related kinase signalling through Affinity-directed PROtein Missile (AdPROM) system

Applications are invited for a Postdoctoral Researcher to work in the laboratory of Gopal Sapkota at the Medical Research Council Protein Phosphorylation and Ubiquitylation Unit (MRC-PPU) in Dundee in close collaboration with the group of Kei Sakamoto at the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research, University of Copenhagen, to uncover specific roles for AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) and its related kinases (with specific emphasis on salt inducible kinase (SIK) (Ref: PMID: 30385008)) signalling pathway in metabolic functions. Although much effort has been made to elucidate regulatory mechanism of the AMPK/AMPK-related kinases, their isoform-specific/cell-specific functions through regulating their distinct downstream targets are still elusive. This work will use state-of-the-art protein engineering technologies pioneered by the Sapkota lab to dissect these cell- and isoform-specific functions. In particular, the successful candidate will employ and adapt the Affinity-directed PROtein Missile system to target and manipulate specific proteins inside cells to enable the protein function to be controlled directly and acutely in a reversible manner in cells. This will be combined with elegant metabolic functional analyses developed by the Sakamoto group.

Your priorities will include:

The successful applicant will deploy a state-of-the-art blend of biochemical, cellular, proteomic, pharmacological and genetic methodologies, including the CRISPR/CAS9-mediated knock-out and knock-in technology, working between two vibrant laboratories, and will gain experience in understanding signal transduction pathways linked to metabolic functions and how they are linked to disease.

We’re looking for candidates with:

  • A PhD with an outstanding track record and at least one first authored publication in an internationally recognised peer-reviewed journal.
  • A strong background in biochemistry, molecular biology, and signal transduction.
  • Capability of working in a diverse team, but able to plan and work independently.
  • Excellent communication skills and proficiency in English.

This position is available for 2 years.

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).

For informal enquiries please contact Gopal Sapkota ( and/or Kei Sakamoto (

For further details on Sapkota ( and Sakamoto ( laboratories research and publications, please peruse the indicated website links.

The MRC-PPU is one of the world’s most renowned centres for research on protein phosphorylation and ubiquitylation ( and has an exciting and collaborative research environment, equipped to the highest international standards. 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. Another key remit of the MRC-PPU is to train the next generation of scientists who will advance our understanding in this crucial area of medical research. The MRC-PPU is located in a beautiful setting overlooking the estuary of the River Tay and embedded within the School of Life Sciences at the University of Dundee. This is one of the premier Life Sciences research centres in the world and was recently assessed as the top UK University for Life Sciences research in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF).

Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research (CBMR):

CBMR was established in 2010 at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen. The establishment of the Center was made possible by a generous (DKK 885 million), unrestricted grant from the Foundation. In 2018 the Novo Nordisk Foundation awarded new strategic funding to the Center (DKK 700 million). The CBMR aims to strengthen interdisciplinary research that transforms the basic understanding of the mechanisms involved in metabolic health and disease, and to accelerate this knowledge toward new prevention and treatment strategies. This will be achieved via dynamic collaborative research projects that integrate different levels of exploration from single cell to whole body physiology, to effectively connect basic biological knowledge to translational and innovation outcomes.