University of Dundee

Team leader – Molecular Interactions (structural biology, biophysics and protein expression)

Drug Discovery Unit
Job Reference: 
Closing Date: 
Sunday, December 13, 2020
Grade 9 (£52,560 - £59,135)

The Drug Discovery Unit (DDU) is a global acknowledged centre of excellence for drug discovery. DDU collaborate with global partners to translate world-class biology research into novel drug targets and candidate drugs to address unmet medical need across our two areas of activity, Diseases of the Developing World and Innovative Targets Portfolio. The DDU has produced 3 clinical candidates since 2013. Our anti-Malaria compound has been taken into First in Human studies by MMV and Merck KGaA.

We are seeking an innovative and motivated scientist to lead a team of up to 12 scientists providing structural biology, biophysics and protein expression support for structurally enabled drug discovery projects.

The role holder will contribute to current and future structure based drug discovery projects by providing technical expertise in developing innovative approaches to reduce the attrition associated with production of drug/protein complexes, implementing best practices and managing resource across multiple projects. This influential position offers significant scope for shaping the area to ensure delivery of much needed medicines. The position will report to the Head of Biology.

Main Responsibilities:

  • Contributing to strategic and tactical development of the DDU.
  • Responsible for formulating and developing plans for innovation in the areas of cryo-EM, crystallography, biophysics and protein production to underpin structure driven drug discovery projects.
  • Responsible for the generation, validation and implementation of best practices to support structure enabled drug discovery projects.
  • Responsible for the operational management of a cross-disciplinary team to ensure the delivery of the current portfolio of structurally enabled drug discovery projects.
  • Responsible for the line management and development of a team of up to 12 scientists.

Who we’re looking for:

Essential Requirements:


The successful candidate will have a high level of technical expertise in:

  • Cryo-EM and/or protein crystallography
  • All aspects of protein engineering from construct design, production, purification and validation
  • Utilising biophysical methods with a demonstrable understanding of the range of protein constructs desired/required to support structurally driven drug discovery projects


The successful candidate will have:

  • Excellent problem solving and creative thinking abilities with a track record of innovation.
  • The ability to influence with a track record of gaining buy-in for implementation of recommended new approaches.
  • The ability to work and deliver across multiple teams.
  • The ability to work to tight timelines and deliver to key milestones.
  • Self-motivation, being able to work independently with minimal direction/oversight.

Leadership and management:

The successful candidate will have:

  • A track record of delivering change by influencing across peers, senior management and more junior staff.
  • Excellent interpersonal and leadership skills.
  • Experience and expertise in line management functions.

Apply Here

The post is available for an immediate start and will be an open-ended contract. Salary will be dependent upon experience, but will be between £52,560, and £59,135 (Grade 9).

The Drug Discovery Unit operates on an external funding basis. The Principal Investigators within this unit are highly successful in securing external funding for their multi-disciplinary and highly collaborative research and activities.

Facilities and Environment:

The DDU is a dynamic and multidisciplinary group of ~130 scientists with broad expertise across the drug discovery disciplines. The unit is housed in a state-of-the-art building and has cutting-edge equipment and automation to deliver pre-clinical and clinical candidates.

The DDU is part of the Wellcome Centre for Anti-infectives Research (WCAIR). There is a very interactive and open culture amongst WCAIR’s 170 scientists, with many collaborations between the different groups. There are also many opportunities for sharing and exchanging ideas such as weekly seminars, pizza lunches, 6-monthly symposia and an annual retreat.

WCAIR and the DDU are embedded in the School of Life Sciences which has been consistently rated ‘5-star’ by the UK national Research Assessment Exercise. Dundee has twice been named ‘the best place to work in Europe’ in a poll of scientists conducted by The Scientist magazine. You can go on a virtual visit of our labs here: and further details for School of Life Sciences facilities and support for staff

Dundee, set on the east coast of Scotland, lies in an area of outstanding natural beauty, including large sandy beaches and the Scottish Highlands less than an hour away ( The School of Life Sciences is on the University City Campus and has stunning views of the River Tay, Dundee city and Fife.

The city itself has plenty to offer with fantastic visitor attractions such as the striking V&A museum and the RRS Discovery ship, as well as the Dundee Rep and Scottish Dance Theatre; Dundee Contemporary Arts; MacManus Gallery and many individual artists. There are many diverse and individual restaurants and pubs creating a bustling nightlife. Discover more HERE.

The University of Dundee has received the Athena SWAN Bronze Award ( which recognises the promotion of gender equality and has made further commitment to advancing inclusive culture, which supports and encourages all under-represented groups.

For further information about this position please contact Professor David Gray at

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.