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Postdoc: De novo protein design for neuroscience

Employer
Aarhus University (AU)
Location
Aarhus, Midtjylland (DK)
Salary
Competitive
Closing date
15 May 2024

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Discipline
Biomedicine, Life Science
Job Type
Postdoctoral
Employment - Hours
Full time
Duration
Fixed term
Qualification
PhD
Sector
Academia
Aarhus University invites applications for a fulltime postdoc position at the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics. The project focuses on applications on de novo protein design and its applications in neuroscience.

Expected start date and duration of employment
The start date is August 1st, 2024, or as soon as possible thereafter. The position is for 2 years.

Job description
Recent improvements in machine learning have dramatically improved the accessibility of de novo protein design. In this project, we seek to exploit these developments to interrogate the role and mechanisms of receptor signalling in neuronal plasticity.

The center of Excellence for “Protein in Memory” seeks to understand the molecular basis for memory with an emphasis on protein mechanism. Recent developments in protein structure prediction (e.g. AlphaFold2) and protein de novo design (e.g. RFDiffusion) have opened new possibilities for probing such mechanisms. The project will seek to use existing algorithms to new biological problems and is thus not focused on development of computational methods. We wish to generate small protein binders against a range of important neuroscience targets and use these for mechanistic studies in cellular models. There will be considerable room for the successful candidate to shape the project within the overall project theme. Further details about the project will be provided for short-listed candidates.

Your profile
The project will involve both experimental and computational work and the candidate is expected to be comfortable with both. The candidate is expected to have (or being close to finishing) a Ph.D. in molecular biology, biochemistry, biophysics, biology, biotechnology, nanoscience or similar, and a good track record of productivity. Experience with some, but not all, of the following topics is an advantage: Recombinant protein expression and purification, biochemical and biophysical protein characterization, protein structure prediction or computational protein design. Furthermore, we expect an interest in interdisciplinarity and good collaboration skills.

The candidate will become part of a young and dynamic research group currently consisting of the PI, 8 postdocs, 4 PhD students, a research technician, and a variable number of students. The project is part of the center of Excellence for Proteins in Memory (PROMEMO) and the successful candidate will be part of a larger interdisciplinary consortium.

The research group has a newly renovated lab space with excellent facilities for protein science research. There will be direct access to advanced biophysical infrastructure in the biophysics core facility headed by the PI, and the department’s bioimaging and proteomics core as well as a GPU cluster for computational design.

Who we are
The postdoc will be affiliated to the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics.

The Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics is part of the Faculty of Natural Sciences, Aarhus University and comprises research within the areas of Plant Molecular Biology, Neurobiology, RNA Biology and Innovation, Protein Science, Cellular Health, Intervention and Nutrition. There are currently 75 full time scientific staff and 95 PhD students. The department is responsible for two educations: Molecular Biology and Molecular Medicine with a yearly uptake of 160 students in total.

Please refer to http://mbg.au.dk/ for further information about The Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics and to https://nat.au.dk/ and http://www.au.dk/ for information on Faculty of Natural Sciences and Aarhus University, respectively.

Place of work and area of employment
The place of work is Universitetsbyen 81, 8000 Aarhus C, and the area of employment is Aarhus University with related departments.

Contact information
For further information contact Associate Professor Magnus Kjærgaard, email: magnus@mbg.au.dk.

Deadline
Applications must be received no later than May 15th, 2024.

Application procedure
Shortlisting is used. This means that after the deadline for applications – and with the assistance from the assessment committee chairman, and the appointment committee if necessary, – the head of department selects the candidates to be evaluated. All applicants will be notified whether or not their applications have been sent to an expert assessment committee for evaluation. The selected applicants will be informed about the composition of the committee, and each applicant is given the opportunity to comment on the part of the assessment that concerns him/her self. Once the recruitment process is completed a final letter of rejection is sent to the deselected applicants.

Letter of reference
If you want a referee to upload a letter of reference on your behalf, please state the referee’s contact information when you submit your application. We strongly recommend that you make an agreement with the person in question before you enter the referee’s contact information, and that you ensure that the referee has enough time to write the letter of reference before the application deadline. Unfortunately, it is not possible to ensure that letters of reference received after the application deadline will be taken into consideration.

Formalities and salary range
Natural Sciences refers to the Ministerial Order on the Appointment of Academic Staff at Danish Universities under the Danish Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation.

The application must be in English and include a curriculum vitae, degree certificate, a complete list of publications, a statement of future research plans and information about research activities, teaching portfolio and verified information on previous teaching experience (if any). Guidelines for applicants can be found here.

Appointment shall be in accordance with the collective labour agreement between the Danish Ministry of Taxation and the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations. Further information on qualification requirements and job content may be found in the Memorandum on Job Structure for Academic Staff at Danish Universities.

Salary depends on seniority as agreed between the Danish Ministry of Taxation and the Confederation of Professional Associations.

Aarhus University’s ambition is to be an attractive and inspiring workplace for all and to foster a culture in which each individual has opportunities to thrive, achieve and develop. We view equality and diversity as assets, and we welcome all applicants.

Research activities will be evaluated in relation to actual research time. Thus, we encourage applicants to specify periods of leave without research activities, in order to be able to subtract these periods from the span of the scientific career during the evaluation of scientific productivity.

Aarhus University offers a broad variety of services for international researchers and accompanying families, including relocation service and career counselling to expat partners. Read more here. Please find more information about entering and working in Denmark here.

Aarhus University also offers a Junior Researcher Development Programme targeted at career development for postdocs at AU. You can read more about it here.

At the Faculty of Natural Science at Aarhus University, we strive to support our scientific staff in their career development. We focus on competency development and career clarification and want to make your opportunities transparent. On our website, you can find information on all types of scientific positions, as well as the entry criteria we use when assessing candidates. You can also read more about how we can assist you in your career planning and development.

The application must be submitted via Aarhus University’s recruitment system, which can be accessed under the job advertisement on Aarhus University's website.

Aarhus University
Aarhus University is an academically diverse and research-intensive university with a strong commitment to high-quality research and education and the development of society nationally and globally. The university offers an inspiring research and teaching environment to its 38,000 students (FTEs) and 8,300 employees, and has an annual revenues of EUR 935 million. Learn more at www.international.au.dk/

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