Research Associate in Chemical and Synthetic Biology

Updated: 15 days ago
Location: Cardiff, WALES


Research Associate in Chemical and Synthetic Biology
Cardiff School of Chemistry
Cardiff University

We seek to recruit an enthusiastic, highly motivated scientist with proven intellectual and technical abilities to work on a chemical biology project. The 3-year project, funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), is directed by Dr Louis Luk, involving collaborations with Dr Emma Richards (Cardiff School of Chemistry), Dr Yu-Hsuan Tsai (Cardiff School of Chemistry) and Prof. Matthew Fuchter (Department of Chemistry, Imperial College).

In this project, the PDRA and the rest of the research team will design a novel chemo-enzymatic reaction cascade for protein bioconjugation. Late-stage protein functionalisation has crucial roles in both fundamental and applied research, adding designed biophysical properties for applied purposes. What is missing in the existing toolkit is a simple yet site-specific approach that embeds labels into protein backbone. Given this opportunity, the PDRA will be trained in the topics of enzymology/ biocatalysis and peptide chemistry/ organic chemistry – and subsequently develop a novel backbone protein bioconjugation reaction. This reaction will subsequently be applied in different research areas via collaborations – including the creation of photo-switchable proteins, spin-labelled proteins for dynamics study as well as diastereomeric protein for membrane crossing.

This is an exciting programme requiring involving of a PDRA, who has a curious nature with significant flexibility to learn and adapt novel topics in order to advance a scientific topic that has a strong interdisciplinary nature. Interested applicant will need to submit their CV (2 pages max), cover letter (2 pages max) and a statement of interest in the topic of protein bioconjugation chemistry (1 page max).

Applicants must hold a postgraduate degree at PhD level in a Peptide Chemistry, Synthetic Organic Chemistry, Enzymology or equivalent or relevant industrial experience.

Further information is available at the following group webpages:
Dr Louis Luk:    
Dr Emma Richards:    
Dr Yu-Hsuan Tsai:       
Prof Dr Matthew Fuchter:

For informal enquiries about the role and the Cardiff School of Chemistry, please contact Dr Louis Luk: e-mail ; Tel. +44 (0)29 2251 0161.

For further details about working at Cardiff University, please contact Ms Alison Blake ( ; +44 (0)29 2087 4805).

This position is full time (35 hours per week) and is available from 1 October 2020 for 36 months.

Salary: £33,797 - £40,322 per annum (Grade 6). ). It is not anticipated that an appointment be made above £35,845 per annum (Grade 6.32).

Important note: It is the University’s policy to use the person specification as a key tool for short-listing. Candidates should evidence that they meet ALL of the essential criteria as well as, where relevant, the desirable. As part of the application process you will be asked to provide this evidence via a supporting statement.  Please ensure that the evidence you are providing corresponds with the numbered criteria outlined below. Your application will be considered based on the information you provide under each element.

When attaching the supporting statement to your application profile, please ensure that you name it with the vacancy reference number, e.g. Supporting Statement for 10294BR.

Date advert posted: Tuesday, 13 October 2020

Closing date: Friday,13 November 2020

This post has previously been advertised to employees of Cardiff University only.  We now invite external applications.

Cardiff University is committed to supporting and promoting equality and diversity and to creating an inclusive working environment. We believe this can be achieved through attracting, developing, and retaining a diverse range of staff from many different backgrounds who have the ambition to create a University which seeks to fulfil our social, cultural and economic obligation to Cardiff, Wales, and the world. In supporting our employees to achieve a balance between their work and their personal lives, we will also consider proposals for flexible working or job share arrangements.

Job Description

Main Function

To conduct research within Organic Chemistry, Enzymology/ Biocatalysis and Chemical Biology and contribute to the overall research performance of the School and University, carrying out research leading to the publishing of work in high-quality journals. To pursue excellence in research and to inspire others to do the same.

Main Duties and Responsibilities


  • To conduct research within the area of Protein Bioconjugation and contribute to the overall research performance of the School and University by the production of measurable outputs including bidding for funding, publishing in national academic journals and conferences, and the recruitment and supervision of postgraduate research students;
  • To develop research objectives and proposals for own or joint research including research funding proposals;
  • To attend and or present at conferences/seminars at a local and national level as required;
  • To undertake administrative tasks associated with the research project, including the planning and organisation of the project and the implementation of procedures required to ensure accurate and timely reporting;
  • To prepare research ethics and research governance applications as appropriate;
  • To review and synthesise existing research literature within the field;
  • To participate in School research activities;
  • To build and create networks both internally and externally to the university, to influence decisions,   explore future research requirements, and share research ideas for the benefit of research projects.
  • To engage effectively with industrial, commercial and public sector organisations, professional institutions, other academic institutions etc., regionally and nationally  to raise awareness of the School’s profile, to cultivate strategically valuable alliances, and to pursue opportunities for collaboration across a range of activities. These activities are expected to contribute to the School and the enhancement of its regional and national profile;
  • To undergo personal and professional development that is appropriate to and which will enhance performance;
  • To participate in School administration and activities to promote the School and its work to the wider University and the outside world;
  • To ensure that an understanding of the importance of confidentiality is applied when undertaking all duties;
  • To abide by the University policies on Health and Safety and Equality, Diversity & Inclusivity;
  • Any other duties not included above, but consistent with the role.

Person Specification

Essential Criteria

Qualifications and Education

  • Postgraduate degree at PhD level in a Peptide Chemistry, Synthetic Organic Chemistry, Enzymology or equivalent or relevant industrial experience
  • Knowledge, Skills and Experience
  • An established expertise and proven portfolio of research:
    • Peptide Chemistry/Organic Chemistry
    • Enzymology
    • Protein Bioconjugation
  • Knowledge of current status of research in specialist field
  • Proven ability to publish in high-quality journals and high-impact conferences
  • Knowledge and understanding of competitive research funding to be able to develop applications to funding bodies
  • Communication and Team Working
  • Proven ability in effective and persuasive communication
  • Ability to supervise the work of others to focus team efforts and motivate individuals
  • Other
  • Proven ability to demonstrate creativity, innovation and team-working within work
  • Proven ability to work without close supervision

  • Desirable Criteria
  • Evidence of collaborations with industry
  •  Proven ability to adapt to the changing requirements of the Higher Education community
  • Evidence of ability to participate in, develop both internal and external networks, and utilise them to enhance the research activities of the School
  • Fluency in Welsh, written and oral

  • Job Category

    Academic - Research

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