Molecular Modeller

Job Reference: SLSC0784
Salary: Grade 7 (£32,817 – £40,322)

Closing Date: Sunday, October 25, 2020

The Mode of Action group are seeking to appoint a highly motivated and highly skilled molecular modeller. The MoA group is embedded within the Wellcome Centre for Anti-Infectives Research (WCAIR) at the University of Dundee. The vision for WCAIR is to tackle the urgent unmet medical need and lack of drug discovery research for Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs). WCAIR aims to integrate research in fundamental biology and translational research to deliver high-quality pre-clinical drug candidates for the treatment of NTDs.

The MoA group, led by Dr Susan Wyllie, is focused on determining the mechanism of action and molecular targets of compounds that are phenotypically active. The group works closely with partners in academia and industry to provide information vital to guide drug discovery programmes. The successful candidate will work with the MoA group to identify and exploit putative drug targets. This will involve:

  • developing structural models of molecular targets;
  • developing an understanding of how compounds bind within the active sites of targets;
  • molecular dynamics simulations;
  • interpreting structure activity data;
  • understanding how specific mutations drive compound resistance;
  • and related activities to support the group.

In addition, you will assist in the interpretation of data emanating from whole genome sequencing and large-scale proteomics studies. While you will be embedded within the MoA group, you will be supported in these studies by the Computational Chemistry group in the Drug Discovery Unit , led by Dr Fabio Zuccotto. This group has access to a wide variety of software and its own compute cluster, as well as access to a larger computer cluster within the University of Dundee. In addition to using commercial software, the Computational Chemistry group have also developed their own state-of-the-art methodologies and approaches.

To date, the MoA group has focused on kinetoplastid and Plasmodium parasites. We have developed an integrated drug target deconvolution strategy, employing an array of established and new methodologies encompassing high-throughput genetics, cell biology and chemical proteomics. Over the last 5 years we have published our work in major journals such as Nature, PNAS and ACS Infectious Diseases. We are currently in the process of expanding the scope of our research with regard to both disease area and methodology. To support this expansion, we are looking for a highly motivated molecular modeller to become an integral part of our team.

Who we’re looking for:

  • Highly motivated, self-directed individuals qualified with a PhD in computational chemistry, bio/cheminformatics, or a related topic
  • Strong scientific background with an understanding of ligand-protein interactions and an understanding of protein structure
  • Experience in protein modelling
  • Experience in both structure-based and ligand-based drug discovery
  • Experience in bioinformatics – while significant experience of bioinformatics is not required, a willingness to learn is essential.
  • Experience in analysis large-scale proteomics datasets
  • A sound knowledge of commercial molecular modelling software (e.g. Schrödinger)
  • Willingness to learn the biology background to the project to be able to discuss projects in detail with other members of the team
  • Ability to work independently, and in close collaboration with discovery scientists as part of a team
  • Good time management and organisational skills
  • Strong interpersonal, communication and presentation skills
  • Ability to work flexibly

The post is fixed-term for 2 years in the first instance and is available for an immediate start. The appointment will be made on the University’s Grade 7 salary scale between £32,817 – £40,322 depending on experience. A  relocation allowance is available.

An appointment may be considered if you are shortly expected to be awarded a PhD. In this case, the initial appointment would be made on the Training Grade 7 salary scale (Spinal Point 25 – 28 £29,176 – £31,866).

For more information please contact Susan Wyllie (s.wyllie@dundee.ac.uk) or Fabio Zuccotto (f.zuccotto@dundee.ac.uk) and visit our websites (https://modeofactiondundee.org) and (http://www.drugdiscovery.dundee.ac.uk).

The University of Dundee is one of the UK’s leading universities – internationally recognised for our expertise across a range of disciplines and research breakthroughs in multiple areas, including science, medicine and engineering, amongst many others. Conveniently located on the banks of River Tay, our 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.

Dundee, set on the east coast of Scotland, lies in an area of outstanding natural beauty, including large sandy beaches and challenging hills. Dundee is also a vibrant cultural centre. Home to the new V&A Dundee, which opened in September 2018 and has received over 1 million visitors; the Dundee Rep and Scottish Dance Theatre; Dundee Contemporary Arts; MacManus Gallery and many individual artists.

The diversity of our staff and students helps to make the University of Dundee a UK university of choice for undergraduate, postgraduate and distance learning. Family friendly policies, staff networks for BME, Disabled and LGBT staff, membership of Athena SWAN, the ECU Race Equality Charter and Stonewall, as well a full range of disability services, create an enjoyable and inclusive place to work.