Research Associate in Peptide Design and Molecular Photonics

Bristol, United Kingdom
£33,797 - £38,017 per annum
Tuesday, 4 August 2020
End of advertisement period
Monday, 24 August 2020
Academic Discipline
Life sciences, Biological Sciences
Contract Type
Full Time

Job number ACAD104653
Division/School School of Chemistry
Contract type Open Ended
Working pattern Full time
Salary £33,797 - £38,017 per annum
Closing date for applications 02-Sep-2020

A post-doctoral position is available to design and develop functional de novo peptide assemblies for applications in light capture and energy transduction.  This is one of multiple post-doctoral positions in a multi-centre interdisciplinary £7.25M EPSRC-funded Programme Grant.  The Bristol-based post is available for 3 years in the first instance.  It is in the protein design laboratory of Prof Dek Woolfson (Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Bristol) and in collaboration with a consortium of biological and physical scientists led by Prof Graham Leggett (Chemistry, University of Sheffield).  An overview of project and the EPSRC Programme Grant can be found in recent University of Bristol news article:

Specifically, the work will develop de novo peptide assemblies called alpha-helical barrels (aHBs) recently discovered in the Woolfson lab (Science 346, 485-8 (2014); ACS Synth Biol 7, 1808-16 (2018)).  Unlike most natural peptide assemblies and proteins, these aHBs have solvent accessible channels running completely through them.  These channels have dimensions commensurate with the passage and capture or functional small molecules (see Figure).  The Woolfson group has shown that these channels can be modified through rational or computational design to incorporate binding, catalysis and transport functions.  The aim of the proposed project is to engineer new aHBs to bind and orient synthetic and biological chromophores.  In turn, these protein:chromophore complexes will be used to organise biological and synthetic chromophores within nanostructured films. The ambition is to manipulate the phenomenon of strong light-matter coupling, in which the properties of light and matter are mixed to create new optical states with remarkable new properties. This could lead to applications in solar energy capture, photocatalysis, quantum technologies, and the design of diagnostic devices for personalised medicine.

The position would be best suited to a talented and ambitious early career researcher with an interest in applying de novo peptide/protein design in synthetic biology and nanotechnology.  Essential skills for this role include experience with the design and synthesis of synthetic peptides; the attachment of peptides or proteins to surfaces; and the biophysical or structural characterisation of such peptides.  Experience in computational peptide/protein design and/or structural biology would be an advantage; however, neither of these are essential skills for applicants at this stage.

Because of the multi-centre and highly collaborative nature of this work, it is essential that the successful candidate is able to work as part of multi-disciplinary team.  There will excellent opportunities for laboratory exchanges, collaborative research and skills transfer within the project.

For informal enquiries, please contact:

We welcome applications from all members of our community and are particularly encouraging those from diverse groups, such as members of the LGBT+ and BAME communities, to join us.