Post Doctoral Research Associate in Molecular Biology

Durham, United Kingdom
33,199 - 39,609 pro rata
05 Jan 2021
End of advertisement period
19 Jan 2021
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

Department of Chemistry

Grade 7: - 33,199 - 39,609 pro rata
Fixed Term - Full Time
Contracted Hours per Week: 35
Closing Date: 19-Jan-2021, 7:59:00 AM 

Durham University

Durham University is one of the world's top universities with strengths across the Arts and Humanities, Sciences and Social Sciences. We are home to some of the most talented scholars and researchers from around the world who are tackling global issues and making a difference to people's lives.

The University sits in a beautiful historic city where it shares ownership of a UNESCO World Heritage Site with Durham Cathedral, the greatest Romanesque building in Western Europe. A collegiate University, Durham recruits outstanding students from across the world and offers an unmatched wider student experience.

Less than 3 hours north of London, and an hour and a half south of Edinburgh, County Durham is a region steeped in history and natural beauty. The Durham Dales, including the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, are home to breathtaking scenery and attractions. Durham offers an excellent choice of city, suburban and rural residential locations. The University provides a range of benefits including pension and childcare benefits and the University’s Relocation Manager can assist with potential schooling requirements.

Durham University seeks to promote and maintain an inclusive and supportive environment for work and study that assists all members of our University community to reach their full potential. Diversity brings strength and we welcome applications from across the international, national and regional communities that we work with and serve.

The Department

Durham Chemistry is a thriving centre for teaching at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels and for world-leading research in the chemical sciences. 

The Department has a long tradition of interdisciplinary research which covers a wide scientific spectrum from the development of bioactive probes through to the theory and computational study of molecular interactions. Research in the area of biological chemistry is well supported by state-of-the-art facilities located within the Department.

The Role

Applications are invited for a research associate in the group of Prof. Ehmke Pohl to work with his team and the commercial partner Nevrargenics Ltd on the biochemical, biophysical and structural characterisation of new synthetic ligands of Retinoid Acid Receptor (RAR) family.

Working in an interdisciplinary team with our partner you will be responsible to produce target proteins in E. coli expression systems, design purification and scale-up protocols, protein crystallisation and crystal structure determination. In addition, there is the opportunity to develop high-throughput protein-ligand assays.

Prior research skill in a molecular biology laboratory, experience with high-throughput crystallisation robots, and with all steps of crystal structure determinations is essential. Further experience in scientific computing and/or other biophysical techniques is a definite plus.

Further experience in assay design and/or formulation would be a definite plus.

Responsible to Dr. Ehmke Pohl    


  • To understand and convey material of a specialist or highly technical nature to the team or group of people through presentations and discussions that leads to the presentation of research papers in conferences and publications.
  • To develop, establish and conduct the protein expression in E. coli of our target proteins in the molecular biology laboratory.
  • To conduct collaborative research under the supervision of the PI with our partner from Nevrargenics and help with the supervision of postgraduate students in the laboratory
  • To liaise with the academic and industrial international partners
  • To produce progress reports and protocols, and to present results in group and network meetings
  • To liaise with research colleagues and make internal and external contacts to develop knowledge and understanding to form relationships for future research collaboration.
  • To plan and manage own research activity, research resources in collaboration with others and contribute to the planning of research projects
  • To produce high-quality publications in international journals.
  • To contribute to fostering a collegial and respectful working environment which is inclusive and welcoming and where everyone is treated fairly with dignity and respect.
  • To engage in wider citizenship to support the department and wider discipline.
  • To engage in continuing professional development by participation in the undergraduate or postgraduate teaching programmes or by membership of departmental committees, etc. and by attending relevant training and development courses

This post is fixed term is due to the funding limited to six months.

How to Apply

For informal enquiries please contact Dr. Ehmke Pohl (email: Ehmke.pohl@durham.ac.uk, phone: 0044-(0)-191-334-3619. All enquiries will be treated in the strictest confidence. 

We prefer to receive the final application online via the Durham University Vacancies Site. https://www.dur.ac.uk/jobs/. As part of the application process, you should provide details of 3 (preferably academic/research) referees and the details of your current line manager so that we may seek an employment reference.

Applications are particularly welcome from women and black and minority ethnic candidates, who are under-represented in the University.

What to Submit

All applicants are asked to submit:

  • A CV and covering letter which details your experience, strengths and potential in the requirements set out above.
  • List of publications (including publications submitted only if the manuscript is available on request)
  • List of postgraduate training course, conferences, meetings etc.
  • The names of up to three potential referees who can be contacted for letters of recommendation

Next Steps

The assessment for the post will include input from our project partners. Shortlisted candidates will be invited for interview and assessment in early January 2021.

The Requirements   Essential:

  1. Qualifications
    • A good first Masters degree in, Biochemistry, or Chemistry or equivalent.
    • A PhD (or be close to submission) in structural biology
  2. Experience
    • Strong publication record in peer-reviewed journals, commensurate with stage of career.
    • A track record of presenting research at conferences, symposia, or meetings, commensurate with stage of career.
    • Demonstrable ability to develop research proposals and designs in collaboration with other academics
    • Diverse experience in conducting high quality research in an academic and/or industrial environment
    • Demonstrable ability to write material of a quality commensurate with publication in highly-ranked journals.
    • Demonstrable ability to provide progress reports and scientific protocols and to  communicate complex information to specialists and within the wider academic community.
    • Experience in the production of proteins using recombinant expression systems such as E. coli or yeast
    • Experience in purification of proteins or peptides using state-of-the-art FPLC or HPLC systems
    • Know-how in standard analytical techniques in the molecular biology laboratory (SDS page gels, mass spectrometry, UV-fluorescence)
    • Proven experience in macromolecular crystallography from crystallisation to data collection at synchrotron sources, structure solution, refinement and validation.
  3. Skills
    • Demonstrable ability to work cooperatively as part of a international, diverse and multidisciplinary team
    • Capacity to actively participate in research meetings
    • Proven ability to work on own initiative, to solve problems independently and to adhere to external deadlines.
    • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills.


  1. Experience
    • Know-how in complementary biophysical techniques to assess protein-ligand interactions, e.g. but not limited to surface plasmon resonance, isothermal titration calorimetry, microscale thermophoresis.
    • Practise in sample stability measurements, e.g, using but not limited to thermal shift assay, differentical scanning fluorimetry and circular dichroism
    • Scientific computing experience
  2. Skills
    • Demonstrable ability to plan and manage research project under the guidance of the principal investigator

DBS Requirement: Not Applicable.

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