Early Stage Researcher (PhD Student candidate) – Marie Skłodowska Curie Doctoral Network – HOTBIO

University of Zurich
February 11, 2023
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Department of Chemistry

Early Stage Researcher (PhD Student candidate) – Marie Skłodowska Curie

Doctoral Network – HOTBIO 100 %

Prof. Dr. Karl Gademann's group at the University of Zurich (UZH) offers two full-time positions for Early Stage Researchers (PhD Student candidates) as part of the Horizon Europe MSCA Doctoral Network project HOTBIO. This marine biodiscovery project develops secondary metabolites from marine microorganisms into well-characterised compounds that can be applied in medicine, agriculture, or aquaculture. This collaborative action comprises a network of leading institutions and offers a first-class research and training program in an international, multidisciplinary environment. Please find more information here.

Objectives of the research network The HOTBIO consortium will train a new generation of researchers to develop marine microbial natural products from the seabed to the bedside. This project expands a conventional marine biodiscovery pipeline by employing cutting-edge technology, including computer aided drug design, chemical synthesis of optimised compounds (i.e. medicinal chemistry), target deconvolution and extensive ADMET profiling. This will advance the bioactive microbial secondary metabolites to the later stages of preclinical development. Just like the field of marine biodiscovery, this consortium is highly multidisciplinary, with experts from the fields of microbiology, chemistry, high throughput screening, genome mining, innovation, commercialization, molecular biology, and computational chemistry. The partners will work synergistically to optimise the learning experience for the candidates. The project at UZH will be funded by the Swiss State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI).

Your responsibilities

You will be responsible for the design and development of a scalable route towards marine natural products, and subsequent functional optimization by chemical synthesis. After the route has been developed and the target synthesized, derivatives will be generated allowing for SAR studies. Biological evaluation and computational design with HOTBIO partners will enable hit to lead transition. Larger amounts of candidate compounds will be prepared for downstream preclinical studies, such as ADMET/Tox evaluation.

Your profile
  • MSc in Chemistry
  • Demonstrated experience in organic synthesis, both on a theoretical level and in the laboratory
  • Demonstrated experience of analytical instruments such as NMR, MS, HPLC, IR, etc.
  • Proficient in English, both in spoken and written form
  • Open-minded and team-spirited personality
  • Please also keep in mind that you will be required to meet the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Early-Stage Researcher eligibility criteria (please see page 78 of the MSCA Work Programme 2021-2022). In particular, at the time of appointment, you must not have already obtained a doctoral degree. Additionally, you must not have resided or carried out your main activity (work, studies, etc.) in Switzerland for more than 12 months in the 36 months immediately before the appointment.

    What we offer

    The University of Zurich, its Department of Chemistry, and The Gademann Lab feature cutting-edge chemical laboratories fully equipped for state of the art natural product total synthesis. A new chemistry building opened in 2021 features 30 ventilated fume hoods with Schlenk lines and vacuum pumps for chemical synthesis, analytical facilities such as UHPLC-MS, preparative HPLC, biolabs at the BSL-2 level for both pro- and eukaryotic organisms, IR, UV-VIS, electrochemistry, and photoredox chemistry instruments all complement the excellent infrastructure available to the group. The department also has state-of-the art facilities with regard to NMR and MS spectroscopy, and X-ray crystallography.

    Within the HOTBIO network, the candidates will be introduced to every stage of the marine biodiscovery pipeline, while their individual research projects will be dedicated to certain steps of this pipeline. High quality training in transferable skills will also be provided by the network. The main research activities of the PhD students will be accompanied by secondments at different sites, as well as meetings, courses and practical workshops specifically crafted for the project. Furthermore, the fellows will be enrolled in local doctoral schools, where they will get additional training and collaboration opportunities.

    We offer highly competitive and attractive salaries according to regulations of Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions, plus mobility and family allowances as applicable.

    Place of work

    University of Zurich Irchel, Winterthurerstrasse 190, Zürich, Switzerland

    Start of employment

    The employment starting date will ideally be June 1st, 2023, but can also be mutually agreed upon.

    Your application should contain:

  • letter of motivation
  • curriculum vitae
  • research summary of past accomplishments
  • transcripts of records from your University and copy of your degree
  • contact details of two reference persons that are able to provide letters of recommendation upon request
  • Please submit your application as a single pdf file until February 11th, 2023. Please note that incomplete applications will not be considered. After reception of the applications, selected candidates will be contacted for an interview. The positions will be filled as soon as suitable candidates have been found.

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