Assay Development Scientist (Biochemistry) / Enzymologist

Reference Number SLSC0772

Grade Grade 7 (£32,817 – £40,322)

Closing Date: 9 November 2020

We are looking for a highly motivated enzymologist / biochemist to join the Wellcome Centre for Anti-Infectives Research. The appointee will work jointly between the Mode of Action Group and the Apicomplexan team within the Drug Discovery Unit. Both groups work to identify new drug targets that can be exploited to develop new drugs for tropical diseases, such as malaria, Chagas’ disease and visceral leishmaniasis. WCAIR is housed in state-of-the-art facilities and has cutting-edge equipment and automation to support anti-infectives research.

The post holder will join a multi-disciplinary team working on developing new drug targets for tropical diseases.

The post will involve

  • The development of enzymatic assays for potential drug targets relevant to tropical diseases
  • Developing high-throughput biochemical assays (including operation of robotics and high-volume data handling and interpretation)
  • The development of new methodologies to facilitate target-based drug discovery
  • Providing biological expertise to support progression of projects
  • Regular interactions with teams of biochemists, chemists, structural biologists and DMPK scientists

The successful candidate will be expected to

  • Design and perform experiments, follow protocols meticulously and report results, both verbally and in writing, within agreed timelines
  • Work independently and innovatively to develop and troubleshoot complex assays using multi-protein systems
  • Propose novel approaches for target-based drug discovery
  • Maintain detailed, industry-standard, electronic records of all experiments.
  • Assist with routine maintenance and troubleshooting of instruments and laboratory housekeeping functions.
  • Comply with Health and Safety practices within WCAIR

Job Requirements


  • Candidates will have a PhD in Biochemistry or Pharmacology (or other appropriate life science discipline) or have equivalent experience and a keen interest in drug discovery.
  • Expertise developing enzymatic assays.
  • Understanding of (and practical application of) enzyme kinetics.
  • Experience of curve-fitting, data handling and analysis.
  • A demonstrated ability to tackle complex projects using thoughtful, considered and innovative approaches.
  • High level of attention to detail.
  • Strong organisational skills including ability to prioritise.
  • Ability to work to tight deadlines and rigorous standards.
  • Flexible approach to projects; priorities may change based on overall portfolio needs and strategy.
  • Good interpersonal / communication skills.
  • Ability to work independently and as part of a team.


  • Experience of line management
  • Understanding of quality and robustness metrics used for high-throughput screening
  • Expertise using lab automation, and transfer of assays to a high-throughput format.

The position is fixed-term for 24 months, and the appointment will be made on the University’s Grade 7 salary scale (between £32,817 – £40,322).

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.

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