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Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Chemical Biology and Ligand Design, University of Sussex -School of Life Sciences

Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Chemical Biology and Ligand Design, University of Sussex -School of Life Sciences

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Full time, 2 years fixed term
Salary range: £30,424 to £36,298 per annum
Expected start date: 1 July 2013                                                    
A  postdoctoral research position is available in the School of Life Sciences at the University of Sussex which offers an exciting opportunity to join a multidisciplinary research team working on a 5-year research grant funded by the MRC from 1 April 2013, on understanding and preventing hearing loss due to treatment with aminoglycoside antibiotics. These antibiotics, of which gentamicin is the most widely used clinically in the UK, enter the auditory hair cells in the inner ear through mechanosensitive ion channels, damaging the cells and eventually killing them. We have discovered that these cells can repair the damage provided exposure is brief and we aim to understand this repair process to see if it can be made more effective. Another major aim of the grant is to screen for, design and develop novel compounds that may be otoprotective by competing with aminoglycosides for entry into the hair cells. The programme of research is led by Prof Corné Kros (electrophysiology), Prof Guy Richardson FRS (cell biology), Prof Anthony Moore (biochemistry of mitochondria) and Prof Simon Ward (medicinal chemistry and drug design).
This research position will work alongside the two other positions funded by this grant, namely an electrophysiologist (whole-cell patch clamp recording from hair cells and mitoplasts) and a cell biologist (preparing and using mouse cochlear cultures to study damage repair in hair cells via confocal and transmission electron microscopy, performing zebrafish screens, and generating zebrafish mutants).
Postdoctoral Research Fellow: Chemical biology and ligand design
This advertised post will be responsible for design and synthesis of compounds for screening by the electrophysiologist and cell biologist, as well as for contributing to the development of structure-activity relationships and devising chemical strategies to answer the outstanding biological questions. This research fellow will use computational tools to design new ligands to both mechanistically probe the means by which the aminoglycosides enter the cells via their mechanosensitive ion channels and cause cell death and also to design high affinity non-permeant blockers. As the project matures, the research fellow will also develop a strategy to circumvent the ototoxicity of the aminoglycoside antibiotics.
To apply, complete a CV, the names and contact details of three referees, a brief statement of research experience and interests and an application form online.
For informal enquiries please contact Simon Ward (simon.ward@sussex.ac.uk).
Closing date for applications: 27 May 2013
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