Universiteit Leiden

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Postdoctoral researcher in computational drug discovery

Wetenschappelijke functies
Omvang (fte)
Geplaatst op
04 augustus 2020
25 september 2020

Vacature gesloten

The Faculty of Science and the Leiden Academic Center for Drug Research are looking for a

Postdoctoral researcher in computational drug discovery

Project description
Computational methods are of growing importance in the area of drug discovery. Methods such as machine learning (virtual screening) and structure-based drug discovery have shown to be able to speed up the process of identification of novel chemical matter (small molecules). In this project we are extending several established methods to the field of peptide modelling for peptide modelling to design novel antimicrobial peptides capable of combatting antibiotic resistant “superbugs”. For this we are building on our unique expertise in proteochemometric modelling (which is founded on a combination of molecular and protein descriptors). In addition, molecular dynamics simulation approaches will be applied. The project is a collaborative effort between Leiden University, the Amsterdam Medical Center, and a private partner. We are planning to experimentally validate the computational findings of this project to improve the model reliability You will be expected to visit the collaborative partners on a regular basis or meet via teleconferencing software.

In addition, you will be embedded in the Computational Drug Discovery group and expected to contribute to a number of ongoing collaborative projects with the Leiden Institute of Chemistry (LIC), the Institute of Biology (IBL), and the Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC). The lab has access to a wide range of software tools (including industry standard packages such as Schroedinger and Pipeline Pilot), an extensive set of both CPU and GPU compute resources, and the recently established university HPC environment ALICE.

Selection criteria
We are looking for a highly motivated candidate, who has:

  • A PhD degree in Pharmaceutical Sciences, Informatics, Computational Chemistry, or related disciplines;
  • A strong interest in machine learning and computational drug discovery;
  • Experience in python with scikit learn, or R;
  • Excellent proficiency in English;
  • Good technical skills.

The candidate should feel comfortable working in a collaborative environment. Initiative, creativity and an independent working attitude are highly valued. Planned start date end of September 2020, or soon thereafter.

Our organisation
The Leiden Faculty of Science is a world-class faculty where staff and students work together in a dynamic international environment. Our people are driven by curiosity to expand fundamental knowledge and to look beyond the borders of their own discipline.

The research carried out at the Faculty of Science is diverse, ranging from artificial intelligence, computer science, mathematics, astronomy, physics, chemistry and bio-pharmaceutical sciences to biology and environmental sciences. The faculty has grown strongly in recent years and now has more than 1,300 staff and almost 4,000 students. We are located at the heart of Leiden’s Bio Science Park, one of Europe’s biggest science parks, where university and business life come together.

The division of BioTherapeutics Drug Discovery and Safety (DDS) is part of the Leiden Academic Centre for Drug Research (LACDR). Our institute is a centre of excellence for multidisciplinary research on drug discovery and development. Leiden University consistently ranks within the top-20 world-wide within the subject-based QS Ranking in Pharmacology and Pharmacy. At LACDR, we develop innovative scientific concepts in fundamental and translational research underlying the discovery and optimization of drugs, and personalised medicines. We aim to optimise the route to novel drugs that are both efficacious and safe, and therefore our research focuses on drug and target discovery and safety, bio-therapeutics, and systems biomedicine and pharmacology. State-of-the-art expertise and infrastructures ensure that we are strategically positioned in (inter)national collaborations, thus further strengthening the development of novel concepts and their application in a clinical and industry environment.

DDS aims to be world leading in mechanistic understanding and definition of novel concepts regarding drug targets, drug efficacy, and drug safety at the molecular and cellular level. DDS applies systems microscopy technologies, clinically relevant model systems for target screening, drug screening, and safety assessment. Furthermore, the division combines a molecular understanding of the interaction between small molecules and their protein targets with cheminformatics for development of novel and safe drug leads.

LACDR has close on-going collaborations with the Leiden University Medical Centre (LUMC) and the Centre for Human Drug Research (CHDR). More information about the LACDR can be found at the website.

Leiden University is one of Europe's foremost research universities. Leiden is a lively and beautiful city with a central location in Europe, at only 17 minutes from Schiphol International Airport. It is a very international city where almost everybody speaks English, candidates need not be afraid of the language barrier. Leiden is a typical historic university city, hosting the oldest university in the Netherlands (1575). The University permeates the local surroundings; University premises are scattered throughout the city, and the students who live and study in Leiden give the city its relaxed yet vibrant atmosphere. Today, with some 27,000 students, 5,500 staff, 16 Nobel prizes, more than 100 nationalities and a budget of more than 550 million Euros, it is one of the largest comprehensive universities in Europe. This prominent position gives our graduates a leading edge in applying for academic posts and for functions outside academia.

Terms and conditions
We offer a position for one year (on the basis of 0.8 FTE). Salary ranges from € 2.790,- to € 4.402,- gross per month based on a full time employment, (pay scale 10 in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities).

Leiden University offers an attractive benefits package with additional holiday (8%) and end-of-year bonuses (8.3 %), training and career development. Our individual choices model gives you some freedom to assemble your own set of terms and conditions. Candidates from outside The Netherlands may be eligible for a substantial tax break.

Leiden University is strongly committed to diversity within its community and especially welcomes applications from members of underrepresented groups. LACDR is a highly diverse institute, in culture, background, and gender. We stand for excellence in a caring Institute. We wish to reflect society in all aspects, as we believe that this improves the dynamics in our organization. Therefore, we support and understand the need for a work/life/family balance and consequent varying working hours and places. We believe that doing good science is fun, and goes hand in hand with a friendly culture. In the Netherlands, a maternity allowance is standard for 16 weeks. Child care is available at and near the Bio Science Park.

Inquiries about the research area can be made to Gerard van Westen, email gerard@lacdr.leidenuniv.nl. If you have any questions about the procedure, please contact Lia Hinne Hautvast, email l.e.hinne@lacdr.leidenuniv.nl.

To apply for this vacancy, please send an email to l.e.hinne@lacdr.leidenuniv.nl. Please ensure that you quote the vacancy number and include the following documents in your application:

  • A letter of motivation;
  • An updated CV, including a list of publications;
  • A copy of your PhD thesis;
  • A copy of your PhD degree;
  • At least two references, including names, affiliations and email addresses.

Only applications received no later than September 25th, 2020 can be considered. The selection procedure will take place in October 2020, and selected candidates may be invited for a (Skype) interview in this period, during which you are kindly requested to be available.

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