The discovery that hyper-activating mutations in a protein kinase termed LRRK2 causes Parkinson’s, offers the prospect of elaborating new, potentially disease-modifying treatments in at least a subset of patients. Indeed, Phase I clinical trials with LRRK2 kinase inhibitors have commenced. Recent advances point towards LRRK2 regulating membrane trafficking events by phosphorylating a subgroup of Rab proteins and controlling their ability to bind cognate effector proteins. LRRK2 is highly expressed in immune cells and intriguing research indicates that increased LRRK2 activity may protect against opportunistic pathogenic infection.
A collaborative postdoctoral position is available in the laboratory of Professor Dario Alessi FRS to work with one of our DSTT pharmaceutical company partners to help unravel the role physiological roles regulated by LRRK2 and other signalling pathways linked to Parkinson’s Disease.
The project will be to build on recent previous work undertaken in the Alessi lab (PMID: 29212815, 29127256, 29127255, 29125462, 26824392, 29743203, 31663853, 32036294). Our goal to better understand how the LRRK2 and other signalling components function and whether this can lead to new biomarkers that will help define patients whose disease is driven by over-activation of the LRRK2 signalling pathway.
The successful applicant will deploy a state-of-the-art blend of biochemical, proteomic, pharmacological and genetic methodologies and technology. There would also be strong opportunities for interactions with our pharmaceutical company partner to accelerate the exploitation of discoveries.
Summary of Skills, Experience and Qualifications
- PhD with good academic track record and at least one first authored publication in an internationally recognised peer-reviewed journal.
- Strong background in one or more of the following: Biochemistry, Mass Spectrometry, Cell Biology, Structural Biology and/or Signal Transduction.
- Experience and/or strong interest in understanding how signal transduction pathways are linked to neurodegeneration and Parkinson’s disease would be important.
- Capable of working in a team, and able to plan and work independently.
- Excellent communication skills and knowledge of the English language.
- The candidate should have ambitions to become a successful independent researcher either in academia or the pharmaceutical/biotechnology industry.
Appointment as a Postdoctoral Research Assistant on the Grade 7 salary scale is dependent upon you having been awarded a PhD. An appointment may be considered if you are shortly expected to be awarded a PhD. The initial appointment would be made as a Research Assistant on the Training Grade 7 salary scale (Spinal Point 25 - 28 £29,176 - £31,866).
College / School / Directorate Information
MRC Protein Phosphorylation and Ubiquitylation Unit (MRC PPU):
This project will be performed in the MRC Protein Phosphorylation and Ubiquitylation Unit (MRC PPU), based within the School of Life Sciences at the University of Dundee. The MRC PPU is one of the world’s most renowned centres for research on protein phosphorylation and Ubiquitylation. Many world leading researchers in the field of signal transduction have trained within the MRC PPU. The major aims of the MRC PPU are to advance understanding of the role of protein phosphorylation and ubiquitylation in cell regulation and human disease, to facilitate the development of drugs to treat diseases caused by abnormalities in phosphorylation, to generate reagents and improve technologies. Another key remit of the MRC PPU is to train the next generation of scientists who will advance our understanding in this crucial area of medical research. The MRC PPU is in a beautiful location overlooking the estuary of the River Tay and embedded within the School of Life Sciences at the University of Dundee which is one of the premier Life Sciences Research Centres in the world.
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