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Research Fellow - Structural Biology/Biophysics

UCL - Respiratory Medicine

Location: London
Salary: £36,028 to £43,533 per annum, inclusive of London Allowance (Grade 7)
Hours: Full Time
Contract Type: Fixed-Term/Contract
Placed On: 4th May 2021
Closes: 20th May 2021
Job Ref: 1876144

Division of Medicine

The laboratory of Prof. David Lomas, based within UCL Respiratory in the Division of Medicine at the Bloomsbury campus of University College London, seeks to understand the general molecular mechanisms underlying a class of conformational disease, the serpinopathies, and to develop diagnostic tools and therapies for a1-antitrypsin deficiency in particular. The predominant pathology-associated Z allele of a1-antitrypsin causes aberrant conformational change resulting in self-association into ordered polymers that accumulate as inclusions within hepatocytes. For homozygotes, this causes a severe deficiency in circulating levels of this protein and predisposes to early-onset emphysema and liver disease, and may contribute to morbidity in heterozygotes in the presence of additional stressors such as smoking and alcohol excess. At present, no non-invasive options exist to evaluate and monitor the polymer burden in the liver and other tissues. 

The post-holder will contribute to the early development of a diagnostic technology that will ultimately permit imaging of Z α1-antitrypsin polymers in patients. This exploratory project will use high-throughput NMR ligand-screening methodologies at UCL and the Francis Crick Institute in collaboration with Prof. John Christodoulou (UCL) and Prof. Angela Russell (U Oxford), as well as biophysical, crystallographic (with data collection at the Diamond/ESRF/DESY synchrotrons) and possibly cell-based approaches, as required. Our group is highly collaborative, is associated with the outpatient Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Clinic at the Royal Free Hospital, and is a core member of the joint UCL-Birkbeck Institute of Structural and Molecular Biology. As such we have access to world-class facilities for structural and molecular biology and clinical medicine. 

This post is funded for 1 year in the first instance. 

This position is suitable for someone in the early stages of their scientific career, no more than 3 years post-PhD, who has a working knowledge of biomolecular NMR as part of an overall high degree of expertise in using structural or biophysical techniques, preferably involving ligand screening. Due to the relatively short duration of the post, it is expected that the successful candidate will also already be experienced in the production and purification of recombinant proteins, performance of biochemical assays, and sample quality control. They should also be comfortable working in a collaborative environment interfacing with a range of experimental techniques, and have evidence of the ability to manage and analyse complex datasets.

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 6B (salary £31,542 - £33,257 per annum) with payment at Grade 7 being backdated to the date of final submission of the PhD thesis.    

Applicants should apply online. To access further details about the position and how to apply please click on the ‘Apply’ button above. 

For an informal discussion please contact Dr James Irving ( 

For any queries regarding this advert or recruitment process please contact Kinga Podolak ( 

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

Interview Date: 2 June 2021 

UCL Taking Action for Equality 

We will consider applications to work on a part-time, flexible and job share basis wherever possible. 

Our department holds an Athena SWAN Silver award, in recognition of our commitment and demonstrable impact in advancing gender equality.

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