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KOODAC Team Senior Lead Scientist

Havas People
Dundee City (GB)
Grade 8 (Spinal Point 37 -43) (£45,585- £54,395)
Closing date
10 May 2024

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Biomedicine, Chemistry, Clinical, Health Science
Job Type
Faculty Member, PhD Position, Professor
Employment - Hours
Full time

Position 1 - Senior Lead Scientist: Chemical Structural Biology / Medicinal Chemistry (KOODAC team) Unit: Centre for Targeted Protein Degradation

Fixed-Term for 5 years

Grade 8 (Spinal Point 37 -43) (£45,585- £54,395)


We are recruiting for an exceptional individual with expertise in Chemical Structural Biology and/or Medicinal Chemistry applied to Drug Discovery to join the group of Professor Alessio Ciulli as a Senior Lead Scientist within the expanding Centre for Targeted Protein Degradation (CeTPD) at the University of Dundee. This position is part of an academic, multi- disciplinary drug discovery team being formed within the Ciulli group, funded by the Cancer Grand Challenges, within KOODAC ( KOODAC’s mission is to discover and develop small- molecule drugs that degrade key oncogenic drivers of solid tumours in children, as a novel therapeutic paradigm to treat pediatric cancers. The team will develop two types of degraders – proteolysis targeting chimeras (PROTACs) and molecular glues. Both classes of degraders work by recruiting a ubiquitin E3 ligase to a target protein to induce target’s ubiquitination and degradation, leading to cell death. The team will focus on developing degraders for the ALK, DNAJB1::PRKACA, MYCN, EWSR1::FLI1 and PAX3::FOXO1 (or PAX7::FOXO1) oncoproteins, which have been implicated in the development and/or spread of neuroblastoma, fibrolamellar hepatocellular carcinoma, medulloblastoma, Ewings sarcoma and fusion positive rhabdomyosarcoma, respectively, in children. The successful candidate will be expected to pioneer the design, develop and implement the CeTPD team’s range of chemical structural biology and medicinal chemistry approaches to discover and optimize small-molecule degraders across the collaboration project targets, with a focus on high-throughput chemistry coupled with biophysics-driven structure-based drug design. You will be expected to be approximately 2/3 of time based in the laboratory. In addition to lab work, you will be responsible for the day-to-day project leadership, data management, and resource management. You will work closely with the PI (Prof. Ciulli) to contribute to various aspects of team building, from scientific excellence to fostering a collaborative open team’s culture. You will also work very closely with the other PDRAs within the team in the Ciulli Lab, as well as scientists at our collaborating partners within KOODAC.

Candidate Requirements:

  • A Ph.D. in chemistry, chemical biology, biochemistry, structural biology, drug discovery or a related discipline
  • 4+ years of relevant experience in modern approaches to small-molecule drug discovery and development.
  • Outstanding academic and/or industrial track record. Excellent interpersonal, communication and presentation skills.
  • Capable of working in a diverse team, but able to plan and work independently.
  • Exceptional time management, organisational and self-motivational skills.
  • An open and collaborative approach to science.

Preferred skills:

  • Background in academic or industrial drug discovery along with demonstrated track record of project leadership and management roles are strongly desirable.
  • Experience with studying of PROTACs and/or molecular glue degraders.
  • Experience with drug discovery approaches to hit identification, development and lead optimization.  

The position is available immediately and for a fixed-term of 5 years. For further information about this role contact Professor Alessio Ciulli at To find out more about Group please visit the group’s Website.

The Centre for Targeted Protein Degradation is part of a growing Life Sciences Innovation District, an ecosystem of organisations and people within the life sciences sector in Dundee driving innovation and local economic growth. Opened since January 2023, CeTPD is a first of its kind Centre leading a number of internationally significant projects in the burgeoning new area of translational chemical biology and targeted protein degradation. The goal of CeTPD is to innovate a next-generation of small-molecule technology platforms and modalities to advance chemical and biological insights and therapeutic targets related to human diseases. It aspires to achieve this by redefining new models of open collaboration with academic, industrial and venture partners, and by training and inspiring the next-generation of research scientists and leaders.

The diversity of our staff and students helps to make the University of Dundee a UK university of choice for

undergraduate, postgraduate and distance learning. Family friendly policies, staff networks for BME, Disabled and LGBT staff, membership of Athena SWAN, the ECU Race Equality Charter and Stonewall as well a full range of disability services, create an enjoyable and inclusive place to work.

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