University of Cambridge

Job Opportunities


Postdoctoral Research Associate- Protein Innovation

A talented and creative postdoctoral researcher is sought to work in Mark Howarth's group on a project co-funded by BBSRC and AB Vista at Cambridge University Department of Pharmacology. The Howarth group have broad interests in synthetic biology, biotechnology and molecular medicine ( The project relates to the design, evolution and application of ultra-stable proteins for targeting in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. The hostile environment of the GI tract, including extreme pH and abundant proteases, has prevented general use of targeted protein therapeutics there, despite the huge range of important targets. We have engineered ultra-stable proteins (gastrobodies) to tolerate these challenging conditions. In this project we will use protein engineering and selection to further advance this new platform, optimising affinity, specificity and distribution through the GI tract and general circulation. We will apply these novel tools to counteract pathogens with major consequences for human and veterinary health. Establishing such a robust targeting platform should have broad applications for disease diagnosis in gastroenterology and cancer, manipulating the microbiome, as well as maintaining GI health against infectious or autoimmune challenges.

The project will involve molecular biology, protein engineering and design, library screening, mass spectrometry, SPR, light microscopy, and bioinformatics. According to the development of the project there may also be the chance to learn structure determination by X-ray crystallography. We will provide training in unfamiliar methods.

Responsibilities will include managing research activities, generating high quality data and developing scientific techniques. You will be expected to take a lead in some areas of the research and contribute intellectually to the direction of the research project. You will be expected to draft scientific manuscripts and may contribute to the day-to-day supervision of Masters or PhD students.

Candidates should have an enthusiastic approach to science. You will hold a PhD, or be near completion of a PhD, in biochemistry, cell biology or a related area of molecular biosciences. You will be skilled at presenting your data, verbally and in writing. You should be committed to collaborative and interdisciplinary research and be able to work both independently and as part of a research team. Substantial experience with recombinant protein expression/analysis is essential. Experience in cell biology methods (e.g. flow cytometry, microscopy) or structure-based protein engineering will be advantageous.

Successful candidates who have not been awarded their PhD by the appointment date will be appointed as a Research Assistant at Grade 5 (£27,929 - £32,348). Upon the award of the PhD, the individual will be promoted to Research Associate, Grade 7 (£34,308 - £42,155). The salary can be supplemented by contributing to Undergraduate teaching.

Applications are particularly welcome from women, black and minority ethnic candidates.

Fixed-term: The funds for this post are available for 3 years in the first instance.

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Informal enquiries are welcomed and should be directed to Prof Mark Howarth

Please quote reference PL32158 on your application and in any correspondence about this vacancy.

The University actively supports equality, diversity and inclusion and encourages applications from all sections of society.

The University has a responsibility to ensure that all employees are eligible to live and work in the UK.

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