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Postdoctoral researcher in structural biology of glycan-modifying enzymes

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9 november 2021
9 december 2021 Vacature gesloten

The Faculty of Science, Leiden Institute of Chemistry, is looking for a:

Postdoctoral researcher in structural biology of glycan-modifying enzymes

Vacancynumber 21-567

Key responsibilities

A postdoctoral position is available in the research team of Dr. Zach Armstrong working on the structural biology of glycan-modifying enzymes. The project is aimed at the structural biology of human and viral enzymes that modify glycocalyx sugars. This will also involve the testing of mechanism-based inhibitors for the same enzymes. This will be achieved through protein production in insect and human cells, protein purification, enzyme kinetics, application of precision chemical tools and structural biology of enzymes and their complexes (X-ray/CryoEM). The postdoctoral researcher must be flexible and communicative and have experience in both biochemistry and structural biology labs.

The key responsibilities of the project will be:

  • Expression of mammalian (and viral) genes in insect and human cell systems;
  • Enzyme kinetics, including enzyme inhibition kinetics and determination of substrate specificity;
  • Structure solution by X-ray crystallography (CryoEM where appropriate): crystallization, data collection and structure solution / refinement / deposition;
  • To keep up-to-date, in a pro-active manner, with scientific literature in the field of carbohydrate chemistry and glycobiology and help disseminate this information through to the group;
  • To provide guidance to other staff and students, as required, as well as coordinating the work of small research teams;
  • To supervise Masters and Bachelors project students in the laboratory.

Selection Criteria

  • PhD-degree in Structural Biology, Biochemistry or Chemistry and proven ability of producing scientific output;
  • Experience with Mammalian or Insect protein expression systems;
  • Experience with Structural biology, Cryo-EM or X-ray Crystallography;
  • Knowledge of enzyme kinetics is preferred;
  • Experience with membrane proteins is preferred;
  • Excellent communication skills in the English language are essential.

Research at our Faculty and Institute

The Faculty of Science is a world-class faculty where staff and students work together in a dynamic international environment. It is a faculty where personal and academic development are top priorities. Our people are committed to expand fundamental knowledge by curiosity and to look beyond the borders of their own discipline; their aim is to benefit science, and to make a contribution to addressing the major societal challenges of the future.

The research carried out at the Faculty of Science is very diverse, ranging from mathematics, information science, astronomy, physics, chemistry and bio-pharmaceutical sciences to biology and environmental sciences. The research activities are organised in eight institutes. These institutes offer eight bachelor’s and fifteen master’s programmes. The Faculty has grown strongly in recent years and now has more than 2,300 staff and over 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 here.

The chemistry and life science research in the Leiden Institute of Chemistry (LIC) is organized around two major research areas: ‘Chemical Biology’ and ‘Energy & Sustainability’.

Our environment and quality of life is largely determined by chemistry, therefore research at the forefront of molecular and the life sciences is of utmost importance for our future. For example, the next generation of solar cells or batteries, and the improvement of existing as well as the development of new drugs rely on smart chemical solutions. Knowledge of catalysis, synthesis and biological processes on molecular scale will enable us to discover novel processes and products that range from new materials to pharmaceuticals.

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 temporary position, initially for one year and with the possibility of a renewal based on good performance. Salary ranges from € 3,408 to € 4,474 gross per month based on a full time (1.0 fte) 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 one of Europe’s leading international research universities.

Thanks to its committed and inspired employees, the university enjoys a leading role in academic research and education. Leiden also scores very well every year in prominent rankings. This means that, to maintain our position, the bar is set very high. Regardless of the work you do at our university, you are always encouraged to broaden your horizons, develop your talents and reach your full potential. Will you become our newest colleague?


Enquiries can be made to Dr. Zach Armstrong (email: z.w.b.armstrong@lic.leidenuniv.nl).

Information about the Leiden Institute of Chemistry can be found at the website and about Leiden University here.


To apply for this vacancy, please send an email to the secretariat Mrs. Jessica van Krimpen-Kraaijenoord (email: j.e.van.krimpen@lic.leidenuniv.nl). Please ensure that you include the following additional documents quoting the vacancy number:

• CV;

• A motivation letter explaining your interest and qualifications for this position;

• Names, affiliations and e-mail addresses of three references. Also indicate your relationship to them (thesis supervisor, etc).
Only applications received before December 10th, 2021 can be considered.

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