University of Dundee

Structural Biology & Biophysics Scientist (PROTAC drug discovery)

Biological Chemistry and Drug Discovery
Job Reference: 
Closing Date: 
Sunday, November 29, 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.

We are seeking a highly motivated scientist with research experience in structural biology and biophysics to join a multi-disciplinary drug discovery team based within Dundee’s School of Life Sciences, under the auspices of a new Protein Degradation Centre. 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.

This is a unique opportunity to gain experience in world-leading industry-style drug discovery within an academic setting.

The post is fixed-term, with funding currently available until 31 August 2023.  Salary will be on the University's Grade 7 scale between £32,817 - £40,322 depending on experience.

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, and in this case the initial appointment would be made on the Training Grade 7 salary scale (Spinal Point 28, £31,866).

Role Responsibilities:

  • 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
  • Stay current with scientific literature in the rapidly growing PROTAC field.
  • Report directly to the Team Leader (Will Farnaby) and to the Principal Investigator (Alessio Ciulli).


  • Ph.D. in structural biology, biophysics, biochemistry, chemical biology or a related discipline.
  • Highly experienced in molecular biology (construct design, cloning etc.), protein expression, purification and characterisation.
  • Strong background in structural biology and biophysics, with an emphasis on structure-based drug design.
  • Proven expertise with biophysical techniques and assays to study protein-ligand binding and protein-protein interactions.
  • 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 with working with multi-protein complexes.
  • Strong data science and computational skills.
  • Exceptional time management, organisational and self-motivational skills.

Apply Here

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

The Biological Chemistry and Drug Discovery Division and Drug Discovery Unit operate on an external funding basis. The Principal Investigators within these units are highly successful in securing external funding for their multi-disciplinary and highly collaborative research and activities.

The University's statement on the use of animals in research can be found here:

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.

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.