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Research Associate in Small-Molecule Optical Probes for DNA and RNA

Department of Chemistry

departnent athena award

Imperial College London, Exhibition Road, London, UK


  • Posted on: 01st Feb 2021
  • Salary: £40,858 - £48,340
  • REF: NAT00854
  • Closes: 01st March 2021
  • Contract Type: Fixed-Term/Contract
  • Hours: Full Time

Job description

Job summary

A Research Associate position in Synthetic Optical Probes for DNA and RNA is available within the Chemistry Department at Imperial College, London, based at the new White City campus. The successful candidate will join the group of Prof. Ramon Vilar ( https://www.imperial.ac.uk/vilar-research-group ) building on their successful track record in the development and application of small molecules as DNA binders and optical probes. This includes a range metal complexes ( Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2018, 57 , 310; Chem. Eur. J. 2018, 24 , 11785; Chem. Sci. , 2018, 9 , 3459) and polyaromatic systems ( Chem. Eur. J. 2016, 22 , 4129; Nature Comm . 2015, 6, 8178) which have been successfully applied as probes to visualize G-quadruplex DNA in live cells ( Nat. Commun. 2021, 12 , 162; Chem. Eur. J. 2012, 18 , 16277).

The project forms part of an exciting large-scale initiative with the University of Hong Kong and Peking University. With funding from the Innovation and Technology Commission, the Laboratory for Synthetic Chemistry and Chemical Biology has been created at the University of Hong Kong. Imperial College is a lead collaborator with the Laboratory and several research programmes, including this one led by Prof Vilar, will be housed in the Department of Chemistry, Imperial College (other PIs are Profs Tate, Long and Fuchter) but connected to the Laboratory. There will be opportunities for collaboration, travel and research placements in Hong Kong.

The research aims to develop a range of novel DNA and RNA probes for cellular imaging. To achieve this aim, we will develop high-throughput platforms to (i) synthesise libraries of nucleic acid binders, and (ii) test their affinity to different DNA and RNA topologies (including G-quadruplexes). The project will involve a range of synthetic inorganic and organic chemistry, alongside the development of high-throughput platforms, biophysical characterisation of the interactions between small molecules and oligonucleotides, and cellular imaging.

Duties and responsibilities

We are looking for someone with experience in synthetic organic and coordination chemistry and skills in biophysical techniques. Experience in the development of high-throughput platforms for synthesis/testing is desirable but not essential. This role will encompass varied responsibilities, including work on a wide range of collaborative projects. You will develop new ligands and metal complexes, and use them as probes for different topologies of DNA and RNA. In addition, you will perform cellular studies including optical imaging. This work will involve collaborations with research groups across Imperial College and the University of Hong Kong and drive the development and translation of new platforms for high-throughput synthesis and testing of nucleic acid probes, and their application to cellular imaging.

Essential requirements

  • A PhD degree (or equivalent) in Chemistry
  • Experience and knowledge of synthetic chemistry
  • Experience and knowledge of metal coordination chemistry
  • Experience in characterisation of luminescent compounds
  • Experience in biophysical characterisation of nucleic acids
  • A track record of publications appropriate to their career path
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills and the ability to deal with a wide range of people

Further information

This position is full-time, fixed term for 24 months with a possibility of extension.

*Candidates who have not yet been officially awarded their PhD will be appointed as a Research Assistant within the salary range £36,045 – £39,183 per annum

The Department of Chemistry proudly holds an Athena SWAN Gold Award and strives to provide a working environment where all our staff feel fully supported to flourish and excel. The Department of Chemistry is committed to promoting the wide range of Family Friendly policies and associated initiatives offered by the College.

For informal enquiries about this position please contact Prof. Ramon Vilar ( r.vilar@imperial.ac.uk )

For technical issues when applying online please email recruitment@imperial.ac.uk

The College is a proud signatory to the San-Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA), which means that in hiring and promotion decisions, we evaluate applicants on the quality of their work, not the journal impact factor where it is published.For more information, see https://www.imperial.ac.uk/research-and-innovation/about-imperial-research/research-evaluation/

The College believes that the use of animals in research is vital to improve human and animal health and welfare. Animals may only be used in research programmes where their use is shown to be necessary for developing new treatments and making medical advances. Imperial is committed to ensuring that, in cases where this research is deemed essential, all animals in the College’s care are treated with full respect, and that all staff involved with this work show due consideration at every level.

http://www.imperial.ac.uk/research-and-innovation/about-imperial-research/research-integrity/animal-research /

Imperial College is committed to equality of opportunity, to eliminating discrimination and to creating an inclusive working environment. We are an Athena SWAN Silver award winner, a Stonewall Diversity Champion, a Disability Confident Employer and work in partnership with GIRES to promote respect for trans people.

Please complete and upload an application form as directed, also providing a CV and list of publications.

Additional information

Please note that job descriptions cannot be exhaustive and the post-holder may be required to undertake other duties, which are broadly in line with the above key responsibilities.

All Imperial employees are expected to follow the 7 principles of Imperial Expectations:

  • Champion a positive approach to change and opportunity
  • Communicate regularly and effectively within, and across, teams
  • Consider the thoughts and expectations of others
  • Deliver positive outcomes
  • Encourage inclusive participation and eliminate discrimination
  • Develop and grow skills and expertise
  • Work in a planned and managed way

In addition to the above, employees are required to observe and comply with all College policies and regulations.

Imperial College is committed to equality of opportunity, to eliminating discrimination and to creating an inclusive working environment. We are an Athena SWAN Silver award winner, a Stonewall Diversity Champion, a Disability Confident Employer and work in partnership with GIRES to promote respect for trans people.

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