University of Dundee

Team Leader & Research Scientists: Dundee—Almirall PROTAC collaboration (5 posts)

Biological Chemistry and Drug Discovery
Job Reference: 
Closing Date: 
Friday, December 11, 2020
Please refer to advert

We are seeking five researchers to work on a new drug discovery collaboration between Professor Alessio Ciulli and Almirall (a global biopharmaceutical company focused on skin health). Our mission is to discover and develop a class of small-molecule degrader drugs as a novel therapeutic paradigm to treat inflammatory skin diseases with unmet medical needs. This collaboration will be centred on the design, synthesis and evaluation of so-called proteolysis targeting chimeric molecules (PROTACs) that work by inducing the intracellular degradation of a target protein of interest.

Position 1 – Structural Chemical Biology Team Leader (Grade 8, £41,526 - £49,553):

You will be expected to design, develop and implement a range of biophysical and chemical structural biology assays to study PROTAC mechanism of action, across the project targets. In addition to the lab work, you will be responsible for the day-to-day project leadership and data management. Background in academic or industrial drug discovery along with demonstrated track record of project leadership roles are strongly desirable.

Position 2 – Scientist Structural Biology / Biophysical Assay Development (Grade 7, £32,817 - £40,322):

You will characterise the binding of small molecule PROTACs to their target protein and E3 ligase components using structural biology techniques (primarily X-ray crystallography) and biophysical techniques (AlphaLISA, FP, TR-FRET, ITC, SPR), to drive the structure- and biophysics guided design of PROTACs. Strong experience in protein purification and crystallography, X-ray data collection (in-house and at synchrotrons), structure solution and model refinement are essential. Experience with biophysical assays to study protein-ligand interactions are strongly desired.

Position 3 – Scientist Cell Chemical Biology (Grade 7, £32,817 - £40,322):

You will be responsible for culturing human cell lines, developing relevant cell-based and biochemical assays, and applying these assays to screen and profile novel compounds. You will also be responsible for characterising the impact of PROTACs on the cellular proteomes using mass spectrometry and evaluate activity of compounds in cells and in vitro. Strong background in cell biology or chemical biology and with culturing mammalian cells is required. Experience with mass-spectrometry proteomics would be an advantage.

Positions 4 & 5 – Scientist Medicinal Chemistry / Organic Chemistry (Grade 7, £32,817 - £40,322):

You will be expected to design, synthesize and purify compounds across the project targets, and to contribute to lead optimisation by identifying optimised leads and demonstrating appropriate pharmaceutical properties of compounds. Expertise in synthetic organic chemistry and synthetic route design is essential. Experience in structure-based drug design is desirable. Understanding of pharmacology, metabolism and pharmacokinetics necessary for lead optimisation processes would be an advantage.

Candidate skills:

For all positions the ideal candidate will possess or be able to demonstrate the following:

  • A PhD in a relevant discipline and outstanding academic or industrial track record
  • Enthusiasm for science and drug discovery
  • Capable of working in a team, but able to plan and work independently
  • Excellent written, oral and interpersonal communication skills and knowledge of the English language are essential

Apply Here

In your application please specify in your covering letter the position(s) you are applying for. The posts are available immediately and salary will depend on experience. This is a unique opportunity to gain experience in industry style drug discovery within an academic setting.

The team will be based within the new Centre for Targeted Protein Degradation, a world-leading centre that has a strong track record of redefining new models of innovative research in translational chemical biology, based within the School of Life Sciences at the University of Dundee. Comprising over 900 research and support staff from 59 countries, and over £40 million of external research funding per year, Dundee’s School of Life Sciences is equipped with outstanding laboratory and technology facilities to conduct cutting-edge research. In the 2017 ‘The State of Innovation’ report by Clarivate Analytics, the University of Dundee was ranked as the most influential scientific research institution in pharmaceuticals for the period 2006-2016.

These posts are available for a fixed term period of 3 years.

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

Additional information:

For further information and to apply on-line please visit: quoting reference number SLSC0799.

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.

We are following Government guidance on working during the COVID-19 pandemic. Interviews will take place using a web conferencing system unless both the interview panel and the interview candidate are able to safely travel and meet for a face to face interview.