Universiteit Leiden

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PhD candidate in bio-synthetic chemistry of small-molecule drugs targeting viral RNAs

Omvang (fte)
Geplaatst op
27 oktober 2020
15 november 2020 Vacature gesloten

The Faculty of Science and the Leiden Institute of Chemistry are looking for a

PhD candidate in bio-synthetic chemistry of small-molecule drugs targeting viral RNAs

Project description
With the discovery of many important regulatory RNA structures involved in virus replication, small-molecule RNA targeting is becoming an attractive approach to combat viral infections. The aim of this project is to discover and develop new ligands to specific RNA structures known as pseudoknots present in a number of RNA viruses. First, a compound library screening will be performed to identify potential small molecules that can bind to particular RNA pseudoknots. Candidate drugs will also be investigated by in vitro and in vivo functional assays. Promising hits will be further optimized by a hit-to-lead medicinal chemistry program. The PhD candidate will need to perform activity and biological related assays as well as organic chemistry reactions.

This interdisciplinary project is at the interface of synthetic organic chemistry and RNA biology at the Leiden Institute of Chemistry (LIC) which houses all standard equipment (NMR, IR, HPLC, HR/LC-MS and CryoEM facilities) for compound synthesis, purification and characterization, as well as for in depth analysis of drug-RNA complexes. The LIC Cell observatory and division of virology at the LUMC offer possibilities to investigate the candidate drugs for effectiveness in an in vivo setting.

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

  • A Master’s degree in Chemistry or related disciplines;
  • Experience with Organic Chemistry is required;
  • Experience with Biochemistry and Biology is a plus;
  • Excellent proficiency in English;
  • Good technical experimental skills;
  • Ability to work independently and as a team player in a multidisciplinary environment.

The position is available immediately; The candidate should preferably start ultimately January 2021.

Our organisation
The 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 mathematics, artificial intelligence, computer science, 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 2,300 staff and almost 5,000 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. For more information, see the website of the Faculty of Science.

The Leiden Institute of Chemistry (LIC) is organized around two major research areas: ‘Chemical Biology’ and ‘Energy & Sustainability’. The institute’s research themes illustrate the central position of chemistry between biology, medicine and physics. The various research topics carried out within these themes are ideal for executing interdisciplinary research.

Terms and conditions
We offer a position for initially one year. After a positive evaluation of the progress of the thesis, personal capabilities, and compatibility, the appointment will be extended by a further three years. Salary range from € 2,325.- to € 2,972.- gross per month (pay scale P 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 and sabbatical leave. Our individual choices model gives you some freedom to assemble your own set of terms and conditions. For international spouses we have set up a dual career programme. Candidates from outside the Netherlands may be eligible for a substantial tax break.

All our PhD students are embedded in the Leiden University Graduate School of Science. Our graduate school offers several PhD training courses at three levels: professional courses, skills training and personal effectiveness.

Leiden University is strongly committed to diversity within its community and especially welcomes applications from members of underrepresented groups.

Enquiries can be made to René Olsthoorn, email olsthoor@chem.leidenuniv.nl or Marta Artola, email m.e.artola@lic.leidenuniv.nl. If you have any questions about the procedure, please contact secretary Astrid Vrieling, email a.c.vrieling@lic.leidenuniv.nl.

To apply for this vacancy, please send an email a.c.vrieling@lic.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;
  • A copy of your MSc thesis or any other publication (if available);
  • The transcripts of your MSc studies and a copy of your degree;
  • At least two references, including names, affiliations and email addresses.

Only applications received no later than 15 November 2020 can be considered.


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