Post Doctoral Research Associate in Chemical-Biology

Durham University - Department of Chemistry

Contract Type: Full Time/Fixed Term – 12 months

Closing Date: 15th December 2016 (11.30pm)

Role Description

Postdoctoral Research Associate – Chemical-Biology/ Peptide Natural Product Chemistry

Industrial biotechnology is directed at using biological methods to underpin the production of high-value chemical entities. This includes the application of newly-discovered enzymes from secondary metabolism to synthesize new scaffolds and bioactive molecules with applications in the pharma and agrochemical industries. This project builds on our (H. Deng Aberdeen and S. Cobb Durham) recent elucidation of the biosynthetic pathway of new bacterial pyrrolizidine alkaloids called legonmycins (e.g. see Angew Chemie Int. Ed., 2015, 54, 12697).

We have demonstrated that the multifunctional monooxygenase LgnC is responsible for the biotransformation of indolizidines to pyrrolizidines, while the bifunctional thioesterase LgnD-Te is responsible for the dehydration and cyclization of a protein-tethered linear acylated dipeptide to generate indolizidine intermediates. The proposed work programme will carry out the necessary underpinning science (both chemical and biological) required to explore the potential that multifunctional monooxygenase LgnC and bifunctional thioesterase LgnD-Te hold for the production of bioactive heterobicyclic alkaloids (HAs).

The overall aim of the project is to explore the catalytic capacities of these two new types of enzymes and utilise them for the generation of high value quinolizidine, indolizidine and pyrrolizidine compound libraries.

The 12 month PDRA position advertised will be based in the Chemistry Department at Durham and it will focus on the synthetic aspects of the work program, namely, the synthesis of a range of enzyme substrates.

The position will start on 01 January 2017.

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Northern England