Postdoctoral Research Associate- antiviral discovery biophysics

    Postdoctoral Research Associate- antiviral discovery biophysics
    Harwell Science and Innovation Campus, Oxfordshire / Some home working available.
    £40,754 per annum
    Full time / Flexible hours considered. Full time or Part time considered.
    18 Months Fixed Term
    Reference: 11195

    About Us
    Diamond Light Source is one of the world’s most advanced scientific facilities. We’re home to the UK’s synchrotron light source – a giant microscope producing beams of light 10 billion times brighter than the sun. Probing the structure and composition of matter, our work drives innovation in everything from vaccines to nanotech.

    About the Role
    We now have an opportunity for a protein scientist to develop new biophysical assay methodology, and thereby generate the affinity data that, together with the crystallographic fragment screens, completes the Target Enabling Packages that are the main research outputs of Project 2. The scientist will work closely with the XChem crystallographers and the automated synthesis team, to establish a workflow that will dramatically improve the productivity of fragment-based hit discovery. Appointed persons will be embedded in the XChem/I04- 1 team as well as in a large international collaboration.

    In 2022, the National Institutes of health’s National Institute of allergy and infectious diseases announced 9 large Centres funded through its $1bn, 5-year Antiviral Drug Discovery (AViDD) program, to develop novel antiviral agents against SARS-CoV-2 and other viruses of pandemic potential. Diamond, through its XChem facility, is a partner in two successful proposals: for the AI-driven, Structure-enabled Antiviral Platform (ASAP) Center, Diamond leads both the Target Enablement Project (Project 2) and the Structure Biology Core (SBCore); and for the Rapidly Emerging Antiviral Drug Development Initiative (READDI) Centre, Diamond is part of the Discovery Core. Both Centres seek to develop novel and globally accessible antiviral therapeutics, for both the current and future pandemics, and in doing so establish open knowledge bases that de-risk and accelerate antiviral discovery and development beyond the Centres.

    The ASAP Centre extends the landmark COVID Moonshot collaboration, a fully open-science drug discovery effort that targeted the SARS-CoV-2 Main protease with an aggressively structure-enabled approach (>2000 crystal structures), achieving a pre-clinical candidate and in less than 2 years. This approach also underpins the ASAP Centre, and therefore one of its pillars is Diamond’s world-leading XChem platform for crystal-based fragment screening.

    Responsibilities of this role will include:
    • Establishing sensor-based biophysical assays on our Creoptix WAVE instrument, in collaboration with the rest of the Project 2 protein chemistry team.
    • Performing and analysing biophysical assays for large arrays of purchased and automatically synthesised compounds.
    • Working with ASAP crystallographers to rationalize the results against crystal structures and compound design hypotheses.
    • Helping develop and test new methodologies in collaboration with ASAP-funded data analysis and automated chemistry approaches.
    • Managing the day-to-day running of a research project.
    • Keeping up with latest results and international research directions, especially in interest for the research project associated with this post.
    • Presenting research results at internal project and international scientific meetings.

    The post is available for the currently funded duration of the grant, in the first instance until May 2025.

    About You
    You must have an appropriate PhD and proven relevant scientific experience. First-hand experience in developing and performing biophysical assays is highly desirable; also experience with protein chemistry, crystallographic fragment screening or compound development would be highly advantageous.

    You will likely have:
    • An interest in protein biophysics and drug discovery, particularly fragment-based drug discovery or structure-based drug design
    • A lively interest in biophysical methods development, both experimental and statistical
    • Strong analytical skills and excellent record keeping
    • Good organizational and time management skills
    • An enthusiasm for working in scientific teams and collaborations.

    Diamond offers an exceptional benefits package to support staff in achieving a positive work/life balance. This includes 26 days annual leave plus 13 days of statutory and company holidays and 2 annual volunteering days, along with flexible working hours and an excellent pension scheme. Staff also have access to a range of amenities on site including a nursery, cafes, a restaurant and sports and leisure facilities. A relocation allowance may also be available where applicable.

    To Apply
    Please use the online application process to apply and tell us why you believe you are suitable for this role.

    The initial closing date for applications is 8th October 2023, however applications will be reviewed and interviewed on an ongoing basis until this vacancy is filled.

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