Postdoctoral Position in Chemistry (NMR-based Structural Biology)

Umeå University

Umeå, Sweden


This postdoctoral position is part of a research project where we will investigate the regulation of programmed cell death at the molecular level with focus on the structure of the proteins and biological membranes involved in this important process. Important key players in the mitochondrial (intrinsic) cell death pathway are membrane-active proteins of the Bcl-2 family. Family members with opposite functions meet at the outer membrane of mitochondria, where they determine the fate of a cell, namely to live or to die. The main objective of this project is to understand the function - and underlying structural properties - of these proteins and their interaction with the mitochondrial membrane environment. For this purpose we will use structural biological methods focusing on solid-state NMR spectroscopy of lipid-protein complexes. By applying advanced solid-state NMR approaches, we will be able to provide structural insight into the molecular mechanism by which the survival membrane protein Bcl-2 and its antagonist, the cell-killing Bax protein, interact with each other at the mitochondrial membrane and thereby determine the fate of the cell. In addition, we will also use neutron reflectometry on these lipid-protein complexes.

The postdoctor will primarily study the function and structure of the membrane bound Bcl-2 protein as well as its structural changes upon inhibition by the Bax protein. The Department of Chemistry offers access to an excellent research infrastructure within the KBC environment with access to solid phase/liquid 850 MHz NMR and neutron sources in Europe (mainly ESS/ISIS). The work will be carried out in a multidisciplinary environment.

Competence requirements

The required qualification is a doctoral degree or a foreign degree that is deemed equivalent to a doctorate in chemistry, biochemistry, biophysics or equivalent field. Priority should be given to candidates who have completed their doctoral degree no more than three years before the closing date of the application, unless special circumstances exist. Previous experience of protein structure determination with solid-fast NMR is required and previous experience with membrane proteins is highly meriting. You shall have a keen interest in the area of NMR-based structural biology and be prepared to take on scientific and technological challenges. Training and/or experience in biochemistry, structural biology and/or biophysical chemistry, as well as neutron scattering on biological samples are a strong merit. You should be creative with good teamwork skills, be initiative-driven and have a high degree of independence. Good knowledge of English, both written and spoken, and a very good ability to write scientific publications is required.

About the position

The employment is full-time for a period of two years, starting at a date decided in agreement between the two parties.

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