Research Associate in Biocatalytic Enzyme Cascades to Alkaloids

University College London - UCL - Chemistry

The appointment will be on UCL Grade 7. 

The Research Associate will work with Professor Helen Hailes in the Department of Chemistry and Professor John Ward in the Department of Biochemical Engineering at University College London. This collaborative project aims to design and assemble biocatalytic cascades and pathways for the synthesis of novel complex alkaloids with new functionalities. Non-natural substrates will be used as starting materials to generate diverse alkaloids, inspired by the plethora of alkaloid natural products but targeting distinct and novel structures not seen in nature.

The postholder will be required to express enzymes and perform biocatalytic reactions with norcoclaurine synthases, tyrosine hydroxylases and decarboxylases, alcohol dehydrogenases, methyl transferases and cytochrome P450s. They will develop enzyme screens and the assay methodologies to determine enzyme selectivities against compounds. Chemical products will be purified and characterised and chiral assays will be established for the determination of enzyme stereoselectivities. They will also use selected enzymes in multistep cascades and in synthetic biology pathways to demonstrate the range of potential chemistries achievable. The postholder will work in a multi-disciplinary environment so excellent team-working and communication skills will be required.

The appointment is funded by the BBSRC for 3 years initially.

The successful candidate must have a PhD (or be about to be awarded a PhD) in a relevant discipline (Chemistry, Chemical Biology, Biological Chemistry, Biochemistry, or equivalent) and possess experience in several of the following areas: enzyme expression, biocatalysis, enzyme screening and assay development, organic synthesis, compound purification and characterisation.

Please note, appointment at Grade 7 is dependent upon having been awarded a PhD; if this is not the case, initial appointment will be at Research Assistant Grade 6 (salary £29,809 - £31,432 per annum, including London Allowance of £2,980 p.a.) with payment at Grade 7 being backdated to the date of final submission of the PhD thesis.

UCL vacancy reference : 1591780.

Applicants should apply online. To access further details about the position and how to apply please click on the ‘Apply’ button below. For informal enquiries please contact Professor Helen Hailes, Any queries on accessing the online application link can be directed to Judith James,

Latest time for the submission of applications: 23:59.

Interview Date: TBC.

We particularly welcome applications from black and minority ethnic candidates as they are under-represented within UCL at this level.

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