Applicants are invited for a Research Associate position in Nick Brown's lab to work on a collaborative project with Ben Goult's lab at the University of Kent. Our research is focused on the mechanisms underlying integrin-mediated adhesion to the extracellular matrix and mechanotransduction. These mechanisms are critical for movement of cells and their assembly into tissues, during development and throughout life. The researcher will join us in exploring how protein unfolding and aggregation are used productively during mechanotransduction. The project focuses on talin, the key mechanotransducer of the integrin signalling pathway, its force-sensitive mechanoeffector vinculin, and a specialized subset of the unfolded protein response machinery. We will test a novel hypothesis, that self-interactions between mechanically stretched talin molecules form an 'intracellular meshwork', which provides a stable protein super-complex that recruits additional components of integrin adhesions. This research will enhance our understanding of how protein unfolding and controlled aggregation contribute to mechanotransduction and cell adhesion. This will provide important insights into how functionally important protein aggregation can become misbalanced and lead to devastating diseases such as dementia.
The research project benefits from the complementary expertise of the two labs. In Nick Brown's lab the postdoc will use molecular biology, Drosophila genetics and advanced imaging to discover how the intracellular meshwork contributes to the morphogenetic and developmental functions of integrin adhesion, whereas the postdoc in the Goult lab will use biochemical, structural and biophysical approaches to understand this meshwork.
Applicants should have, or be close to finishing, a PhD degree in a relevant subject. The successful candidate will be enthusiastic about molecular biology and developmental cell biology and already have a strong track record in making recombinant DNA constructs (describe in your cover letter). Experience in any of these fields will also be advantageous: Drosophila genetics, Drosophila development, cell adhesion, cytoskeleton, advanced microscopy, protein-interactions, protein aggregation, the unfolded protein response, and chaperones. The post is available from 1 March 2019, and the closing date for applications is 25 February 2019.
Fixed-term: The funds for this post are available for 3 years in the first instance.
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