Postdoctoral Research Associate

University of Exeter - Living Systems Institute

We are a Russell Group university boasting a vibrant academic community with over 21,000 students. Ranked in the top 1% of universities in the world, 98% of our research is rated as being of international quality and focuses on some of the most fundamental issues facing the world today. We encourage proactive engagement with industry, business and community partners to enhance the impact of research and education and improve the employability of our students.

The Living Systems Institute (LSI) is a major new initiative designed to promote interdisciplinary research that transcends the boundaries of mathematics, engineering and the biological, medical and physical sciences. Its mission is to analyse living cells and organisms as integrated systems, with the aim of unravelling how diseases disrupt biological processes at the molecular, cellular and organismal level.

Our vision is to build a team of researchers who will work together across disciplines to identify new ways to diagnose, treat and cure disease in plants and animals, especially humans.

This fixed term role (3 years) will support the work of Dr Jonathan Phillips, studying the conformational dynamics of proteins to understand and engineer their switching between functional states. 

We are interested in how molecules move, how that movement underpins functional behaviour and how we can control this to engineer new tools for medicine and biosensing. Our core methodology is hydrogen/deuterium-exchange mass spectrometry (HDX-MS), a powerful method to examine the structure and dynamics of proteins.

You will focus on using HDX-MS to study protein structural dynamics with the goal to understand and engineer protein structural and functional switching. The aim is to develop an approach to quantitatively measure and control the structure, dynamics and stability of large proteins. This will include HDX-MS method development to improve resolution, biophysical analysis of protein stability (including orthogonal techniques) and fitting of data to mathematical models.

You will be able to work independently and present information on research progress and outcomes, communicate complex information, orally, in writing and electronically and prepare proposals and applications to external bodies.

Applicants will possess a relevant PhD (or be nearing completion) or possess an equivalent qualification/experience in a related field of study and be able to demonstrate sufficient knowledge in the discipline and of research methods and techniques to work within established research programmes. Applicants will be able to generate, analyse and interpret data on protein structure, dynamics and stability. This may include expertise in structural mass spectrometry, NMR, thermal and chemical denaturation, for example. Knowledge of mass spectrometry is an advantage, but more important is a strong understanding of protein-folding/thermodynamics.

What we can offer you

  • Freedom (and the support) to pursue your intellectual interests and to work creatively across disciplines to produce internationally exciting research;
  • An Innovation, Impact and Business directorate that works closely with our academics providing specialist support for external engagement and development
  • A beautiful campus set in the heart of stunning Devon

For further information please contact Dr Jonathan Phillips, e-mail or telephone +44 (0)1392 727456.

The University of Exeter is an equal opportunity employer. We are officially recognised as a Disability Confident employer and an Athena Swan accredited institution. Whilst all applicants will be judged on merit alone, we particularly welcome applications from groups currently underrepresented in the workforce

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South West England