The development of new medicines to treat diseases like cancer or inflammatory disorders is dependent on the identification of novel drug targets. Target selection requires an understanding of the functional relevance of a given protein in both physiological and pathophysiological conditions.
Our group combines chemistry and biology to generate small molecule tools, so-called “chemical probes” that enable studying the role of proteins as potential targets for drug discovery. Candidate targets may originate from genetic studies linking the expression or mutation of a selected gene to a particular disease, in vitro genetic screens such as RNA-interference or genome-editing (e.g. CRISPR, TALEN), compounds identified in phenotypic assays or drugs already in use.
To identify, explore and validate targets the Chemical Biology group uses a variety of different discovery approaches such as small molecule screens, biochemical assays, protein X-ray crystallography, chemical and protein-protein interaction proteomics, medicinal chemistry, RNAi as well as genome-editing alongside classical molecular and cellular biology techniques aiming at the development of new molecules that may provide leads for drug discovery.
Our team is seeking a postdoctoral scientist with extensive experience in protein purification, biophysical characterisation of protein ligand interaction as well as crystallisation and structure determination of proteins. This post will be available from 1 January 2016 and is fixed-term until 30 June 2017.
Closing Date: Monday 30th November 2015
Dr Cynthia Tallant did her degree in Chemistry at the University Autonoma of Barcelona and obtained her PhD in Structural Biology and Enzymology at the IBMB-CSIC Science Park of Barcelona working on zinc metalloproteases. Cynthia has developed her career as a research scientist in the UK for more than four years in Chemical Biology Drug Discovery groups at the University of Cambridge and since 2013 at the SGC-Oxford. Her work comprises the production and characterization of therapeutic proteins or enzymes, biochemical assay screening with compound libraries and structural determination of ligand-bound complexes with epigenetic and kinase targets.
Dr Kathryn Pugh completed her Mchem in Pharmaceutical Chemistry at the University of Leicester (UK) in 2009, where she completed her Masters project in the Glenn Burley group working on the preparation of DNA binding polyamides. From 2009 to 2013 she undertook a PhD in Chemical Biology at the University of Leicester (UK) in the labs of Prof Paul Cullis, Dr Glenn Burley (University of Strathclyde) and Prof Andrew Tobin. During this she studied kinases of the malarial parasite Plasmodium falciparum (Pf) to provide insight for new drug targets. In January 2014 Kathryn joined the Target Discovery Institute in the group of Prof Paul Brennan to develop chemoproteomic assays for the examination of interactions between small molecules and proteins. During this time she also worked on the quantification of modified nucleosides by LC-MS/MS with Prof Benedikt Kessler.
Dr Srikannathasan (Kannan) Velupillai completed his PhD in Structural Biology and Enzymology at the University of St Andrews and University of East Anglia working on the Bordertella pertussis lipopolysachcharide biosynthetic pathway. He then joined the group of Professor James Naismith to investigate Rhamnose biosynthetic pathway enzymes. In 2009, Kannan joined GSK, Stevenage as a Senior Scientist working on the structure and function of a new class of antibacterials funded by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency and the Wellcome Trust as part of the “Drug Discovery Programme in Relation to Gram Negative Bacteria”. In 2012, Kannan moved back to Dundee University and worked on several projects focussing on the Bacterial Type VI secretion system, Tryptophan metabolic pathway enzymes (Bill Hunter Lab) and IRAK2 (IL-1R-associated kinase (IRAK) family 2) and various kinase projects (Philip Cohen lab). In October 2014, Kannan joined the SGC where his current focus has been on protein production and structural studies of epigenetic drug targets.
Paulina Siejka graduated with a Master’s degree in Medical Biotechnology from the Medical University in Lodz (Poland) in 2014. She joined the SGC Chemical Biology group in November 2014 as a Research Assistant.
Chela Nunez Alonso trained in Cell Biology and Biological Chemistry and received a B.Sc. (Hons) from Oxford Brookes University in 2001. She has worked at Oxford University for over 13 years, first at the Psychiatric Genetic Group at the Wellcome Trust, in a research project that examined genomics for various metabolic and behavioural disorders and then at the Gene Medicine group, working towards a gene therapy cure for cystic fibrosis. She joined the SGC Chemical Biology group in 2012 to work on the development of chemical probes.
Karin Olek graduated with a Master's in Molecular Biotechnology from the University of Applied Sciences, FH Campus Wien, in 2014. For her Master's thesis she biochemically characterized a UPR-responsive protein complex at the University of Guelph, Canada. Back in Vienna she joined the laboratory of Prof. Giulio Superti-Furga at the Research Centre for Molecular Medicine of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (CeMM), where she was working on Chemical Biology approaches to uncover mechanisms and target profiles of small molecules and metabolites for the treatment of human diseases. In October 2015 Karin joined the SGC Chemical Biology group at Oxford to continue working on target profiling of pharmacologically relevant drugs.