PDRA in the Chemical Biology of Advanced Therapy Medicinal Products

Updated: 3 months ago
Location: Harwell, ENGLAND
Job Type: FullTime
Deadline: 02 Mar 2021

Contract type: 4 years’ fixed term contract

Project: ARDAT IMI2

Reporting to: Prof Ben Davis

The Rosalind Franklin Institute (the Franklin) is a new national Research Centre, funded by the UK government through UK Research and Innovation, dedicated to bringing about transformative changes in life science through interdisciplinary research and technology. Within the Next Generation Chemistry theme and as part of the IMI2 / EU-funded international consortium ARDAT (Accelerating research & development for advanced therapies) – see ardat.org, one of the aims is to realise the full potential of chemical methods to reprogramme advanced biological therapies (synthetic biologics). Specifically, this will exploit our methods for the manipulation of complex biomolecular constructs to enhance gene therapy vectors [see Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2005, 44, 1057; Nature, 2020, 585, 530]. Within this theme, you will expand on these discoveries to explore AAV systems through chemical manipulation as functional tools in biology and medicine. In particular, we will explore novel methods for controlling AAV function simply through chemical mutagenesis. The project is a collaboration with the IMI2 ARDAT consortium (Accelerating research & development for advanced therapies) – see ardat.org as well as other potential industrial and academic collaborators and experts in the UK and beyond. The post, which is for 4 years, reports to the Franklin’s Theme Lead for Chemistry, as well as key academic collaborators and will work alongside other researchers in the Franklin and at partner university institutes including at the University of Oxford (where some groups are jointly based).


You will

  • Embrace the primary project of the role, namely developing chemistries that may be applied to complex protein architectures including AAVs and characterizing their consequences chemically, structurally and functionally.
  • Collaborate with industrial and academic partners (especially on gene delivery applications and immunological consequences).
  • Collaborate with other researchers on design hypotheses.
  • Work with other themes and researchers to develop the burgeoning Franklin environment to be as suitable as possible for such work, especially partners in omics and synthetic biology.
  • Develop the scientific scope of the project, formulate relevant research questions, conduct individual research, analysing detailed and complex qualitative and/or quantitative data from a variety of sources, and generate original ideas by building on existing concepts
  • Work together with the surrounding facilities to ensure efficient protein production and chemistry at the Franklin and Harwell environment
  • Publish research articles in leading academic journals.
  • Present findings at national and international meetings/conferences.
  • Take a formal or informal role (as required) in the supervision of research students, including recruitment, mentorship and career development.
  • Raise research funds through grant applications, and manage own area of a larger research budget.
  • Participate in and support the public engagement and widening access activities of the Franklin
  • Any other duties that come up in the normal running of the facility and that can be reasonably requested of the post-holder.

Selection criteria


  • A post-graduate qualification, or equivalent experience, in Chemistry, Biochemistry or Chemical Biology, Biology, Biomolecular Science, or related subjects.
  • Experience in synthetic methods applied to biomolecules and functional application.
  • A demonstrated aptitude for protein chemistry and associated methods.
  • Experience with developing routinely usable methods.
  • Experience with devising research questions and to develop strategies to address them
  • Ability to work both independently and as part of a team
  • Strong organisational and communication skills.
  • Ability to travel occasionally for training or dissemination of your work.
  • Experience with project management and demonstrated ability to deliver agreed milestones in a timely manner, adapt to changing priorities
  • Ability to discuss and coordinate experiments with a variety of colleagues from different disciplines


  • Experience in adenoviral or AAV methods, especially manipulation, characterization and use (e.g. transfection).
  • Expert knowledge of structural methods.
  • Expert knowledge of diverse imaging methods.
  • Expert knowledge of immunological methods.
  • Knowledge of biological chemistry and bioinformatics.
  • Experience with general biophysical techniques such as SPR, ITC, fluorescence, etc.

In return we offer

  • 25 days holidays
  • Generous pension scheme (employer’s contribution currently up to 18%)
  • Training and development opportunities for staff at all levels
  • Bus pass discount scheme
  • Access to employee discount platform
  • Subsidised canteen
  • Free on-site parking
  • Campus location in beautiful countryside with social and sports clubs open to staff

Closing date: 2nd March 2021 at 9:00am

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Area: Scientific

Location: Harwell and Oxford

Type of Post: Full-time, 37.5 hours per week

Period of appointment: 4 years’ fixed term contract

Salary: £33,000 - £39,000 per annum

Closing Date: 02.03.2021 at 9:00am

Ref No: 10111

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