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PhD Studentship: Short Linear Interaction Motifs as Specificity Determinants in the Ubiquitin System - Discovery, Mechanisms and Therapeutic Opportunities

Institute of Cancer Research

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: London
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students, International Students
Funding amount: Please see advert
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 26th March 2020
Closes: 26th April 2020

Applications must be made through our online recruitment system. Please see for details on how to apply, the full project outline and eligibility criteria.

We are recruiting a highly motivated informatician or bio-informatician on a 4-year PhD studentship as part of the UBIMOTIF Innovative Training Network. Visit for more information on the UBIMOTIF consortium.

PROJECT DETAILS: Short linear interaction motifs as specificity determinants in the ubiquitin system – Discovery, mechanisms and therapeutic opportunities.

In humans, roughly 700 enzymes – comprising mainly writers (E3 ubiquitin ligases) and erasers (deubiquitinating enzymes (DUBs)) – control the ubiquitin modification status of protein substrates. However, how the vast majority of these enzymes select their substrates remains unknown and represents a fundamental shortcoming in our understanding of the ubiquitin system. The UBIMOTIF project will determine specificity determinants of substrate recruitment modules of the ubiquitin ligases and DUBs to identify their docking motifs and interactors. The discovery of the molecular details of motif-mediated substrate-enzyme interactions in the ubiquitin system will revolutionise our understanding of this fundamental biological processes.

The position will be hosted by the Short Linear Motif Team in the Division Of Cancer Biology at the Institute of Cancer Research, Chelsea, London. The student will spend 3 months in the Khmelinskii lab – Germany, and 3 months in the Ivarsson lab -Sweden.


The position is fully funded for four years. Students will receive a mobility allowance and family allowance (where applicable). This consists of a salary of €5,171 per month (with an additional €500/month if eligible for the family allowance) for the first three years. The 4th year is funded by an ICR stipend at ICR rates.


One or more of the following:

  • Proficiency in Python and Linux
  • Experience with:
    • Analysis of large biological datasets
    • Machine Learning
    • Web and database development
  • Understanding of evolution and biology


  • Applicants can be of any nationality.
  • Applicants must be able to understand and express themselves in written and spoken English (see entry requirements for details)
  • Applicants must be eligible to enrol in a PhD programme at the ICR.
  • Being a PhD student in an ITN requires a considerable amount of travelling including participation in meetings and workshops and completion of two 3 month secondments outside the host laboratory. Therefore willingness to travel and stay abroad is a necessity.

 Candidates are required to meet the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Early Stage Researcher eligibility criteria summarised below. (full details available You will only be considered for the position if you fulfil (and can prove so) the eligibility criteria.

  • Researchers must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the UK for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately before the recruitment date.

At the date of recruitment researchers must be in the first four years of their research careers and have not been awarded a doctoral degree.

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