University of Dundee

Team Leader (Structural Chemical Biology, Dundee—Almirall PROTAC collaboration)

Biological Chemistry and Drug Discovery
Job Reference: 
Closing Date: 
Friday, May 7, 2021
Grade 8 (£41,526 - £49,553)

We are recruiting a highly motivated Team Leader to lead a new team of five scientists as part of an exciting new drug discovery collaboration between the laboratory of Professor Alessio Ciulli at the University of Dundee, and Almirall (a global pharmaceutical company focused on skin diseases with high level of unmet medical need) and its Research Department located in Barcelona, Spain. Our mission is to discover and develop a class of small-molecule degrader drugs as a novel therapeutic paradigm to treat inflammatory skin diseases. Read more about the recently launched Dundee-Almirall collaboration here:

The post is available immediately and for a period of 3 years. Salary will depend on experience but will be up to £49,553. This is a unique opportunity to gain experience in industry-style drug discovery within an academic setting, under a new Centre for Targeted Protein Degradation at Dundee.

Your responsibilities:

• Contribute to building a multidisciplinary team of chemists and chemical/structural/cell biologists, based within the Ciulli group, to drive the collaboration.

• Contribute to various aspects of team building, from scientific excellence to fostering a great group and organizational culture.

• Independently design, develop and experimentally implement a variety of biophysical assays and chemical structural biology techniques to mechanistically characterize small-molecule compounds, their binding modes to proteins, as binary and ternary complexes, and mechanism of action.

• Work collaboratively in a multidisciplinary team and diverse group, to analyze and interpret data, and communicate results to project teams. It is expected that the role will be on average at least 50% lab-based initially.

• Provide day-to-day project leadership to the team scientists, defining the scientific strategy adequate to each target, and setting objectives and milestones across the project portfolio.

• Quality assuring and data management from the team.

• Establish collaborative relationships where appropriate with members of the wider Ciulli group and other groups within the School of Life Sciences as well as other academic collaborators to support the drug discovery programme.

• Co-lead overall project management with Programme Director and Programme Leader(s) from Almirall, in order to progress from first degrader designs to lead candidates towards clinical development.

• Report directly to the Principal Investigator (Professor Ciulli).


• PhD degree in Chemistry, Biochemistry, Chemical Biology, Structural Biology or related discipline, with relevant experience in an academic or biotechnology / pharmaceutical industry setting; or Master’s/Bachelor’s degree with significant experience.

• Outstanding academic or industrial track record along with demonstrated ability to lead projects and teams through key milestones.

• A solid understanding of and experience with a range of structural chemical biology and biophysics techniques is expected. Motivated in establishing an interdisciplinary team and its research activities.

• Experience with X-ray crystallography or cryo-electron microscopy, structure-determination of protein complexes, and applications to PROTACs or targeted protein degradation projects would be an advantage but is not essential.

• Exceptional interpersonal and communication skills, and ability to effectively present data.

• Enthusiasm for building the team at Dundee and collaborative team with Almirall, and to mentor junior colleagues expected.

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

The new Protein Degradation Centre 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 has a track record of redefining new models of research in translational chemical biology, such as innovative academia-industry collaborations (Almirall, Boehringer Ingelheim, Eisai) and spin-out companies (Amphista therapeutics). The Protein Degradation Centre is located in a beautiful setting overlooking the estuary of the River Tay.


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 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.


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.


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.