Post-doc in K-channel structural biology

Location: Sweden
Application Deadline: 18 March 2024
Published: 2 weeks ago

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Faculty of Medicine, Department of Experimental Medical Science

Lund University was founded in 1666 and is repeatedly ranked among the world’s top universities. The University has around 45 000 students and more than 8 000 staff based in Lund, Helsingborg and Malmö. We are united in our efforts to understand, explain and improve our world and the human condition.

Lund University welcomes applicants with diverse backgrounds and experiences. We regard gender equality and diversity as a strength and an asset.

Description of the workplace

You will be based at the medical faculty in Lund. The group for Membrane Protein Structural Biology is located at the Biomedical Center (BMC) at Lund University and is led by Associate Professor Pontus Gourdon.

You will have good access to state-of-the-art facilities both within the medical, science and engineering faculties and access to state-of-the-art scientific facilities in Scandinavia and Europe.

Project description

Description of the AMBER project 

This post-doctoral position is part of the EU cofund research project AMBER, Advanced Multiscale Biological imaging using European Research infrastructures, will address scientific and sectoral gaps in biological imaging ranging from molecular, through cellular, to tissue, organ and organism levels of organization, and is coordinated by LINXS Institute of advanced Neutron and X-ray Science.

AMBER is funded by the EU Marie Skłodowska-Curie (MSCA) COFUND scheme.

Around 14 postdocs will be recruited in the first call, with each fellowship lasting 36 months.

AMBER has six core partners: Lund University/MAX IV, Sweden, the European Spallation Source (ESS), Sweden, the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), Institut Laue-Langevin (ILL), France, the International Institute of Molecular Mechanisms and Machines, (IMOL), Poland, and the Leicester Institute of Structural and Chemical Biology, United Kingdom.

Your work will include clinical and biomedical projects. It will also include technique development work aimed at combining imaging techniques and data analysis to provide a more integrated picture of life processes in the context of health and disease. To be a postdoc fellow at the AMBER programme you will get unprecedented medical, biological, and methodological capabilities, with a profound potential impact for Europe’s next generation of research and researchers. When you have completed the AMBER programme you will be extraordinarily well equipped to further your career in academia, at infrastructures, in the health and MedTech sectors, and beyond.

For more information about the total announced post-doctoral positions within in the AMBER co-fund project please visit  Euraxess

The interviews will start in April. For more information about AMBER, application and evaluation process etc please visit: Amber

Project description within the research group

Ion channels are essential for life across organisms and a sophisticated understanding of their function is imperative for basic, biomedical and applied research. The overarching goal of the proposed project is to develop ion channel activators and inhibitors. Previously unmet

specificity needs will be achieved by targeting subtype- and conformational-specific features, thereby limiting side effects. The focus will be on Kv7 channels linked to a range of severe neurological disorders, including epilepsy, sleep disorders and autism. This position is part of a larger multidisciplinary project recently funded by the Knut and Alice Wallenberg (KAW) Foundation focusing on potassium ion channels, which will be conducted in Stockholm, Linköping, Gothenburg and Lund in Sweden by five separate research groups.

The postdoctoral fellow recruited for this position will focus on determining molecular structures of potassium ion channels using cryo-EM and will be supervised by Pontus Gourdon at Lund University. Sara Liin at Linköping University will serve as a co-supervisor. The recruited person will perform experimental research with a focus on cryo-EM, but also functional studies using electrophysiology. Here is a selection of related articles recently published by the Gourdon team (see also rb.gy/lcv9dj):

  • Zhang et al (2022) Nature Communications 13(1):7483
  • Salustros et al (2022) Nature Communications 13(1):5121
  • Li et al (2022) Nature Communications 13(1):4339
  • Wiuf et al (2022) Science Advances 8, eabn4331
  • Grønberg et al (2021). Elife 10:e73124 Li et al (2021) Nature Communications 12(1):3973 Wang et al (2021)
  • Nature Communications 12(1):2956

Duties and responsibilities

The tasks as a postdoctoral researcher mainly include conducting research. Teaching may be part of the work duties, but no more than a fifth of the working time. Within the framework of the employment, there must be an opportunity for three weeks of university pedagogical training.

  • The postdoctoral fellow recruited for this position will focus on determining molecular structures of potassium ion channels using cryo-EM Sample preparation and data collection and analysis work as agreed during regular meetings.
  • Participate in regular laboratory tasks within the research group as part of normal day-to-day operations in a team-driven laboratory environment.
  • The work may require travel to other institutes.
  • Participation in national and international conferences as agreed.
  • The work will also include at least one secondment outside Lund University.
  • Research within the subject area, according to the project description
  • Participation in AMBER’s educational programs and activities.

Qualifications and assessment grounds

Minimum requirements are:

-candidate needs to have a maximum 8 years after a doctoral degree (PhD), as required by the Commission, in accordance with the Horizon-Europe MSCA cofund project Grant Agreement

– at least one original publication in a peer-reviewed journal,

a background in the relevant methods,

– complete application package submitted through the AMBER portal (including CV and detailed research plan),

– and finally, strict compliance with the MSCA mobility rule that the researcher must not have resided or carried out his/her main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the host organization’s country for more than twelve months in the three years immediately prior to the call deadline.

The employment also requires:

In addition to the above-mentioned general criteria candidates for this position must fulfill the following criteria:

  • You must have experience of cloning, production and purification of proteins.
  • You must have experience of employing single particle cryo-EM and/or X-ray crystallography for structure determination of proteins.
  • You must have experience of analysis of proteins structures.

Meritorious for the employment

  • Experience of work with a eukaryotic host, such as HEK cells.
  • Experience of work with membrane proteins.
  • Experience of work with single particle cryo-EM.

We place grate emphasis on personal qualifications. You should be ambitious, creative, have good cooperation skills and initiative and a high degree of independence.

Basis of assessment
This is a qualifying position primarily focused on research. The appointment is intended as an initial step in the career and the assessment of the applicants will primarily be based on their scientific merits and potential as a researcher.
When hiring a postdoctoral fellow, the following must form the basis for assessment:
• Good ability to develop and carry out research of good quality
• Independent thinking and ability to drive own research in the field
• Good cooperation skills

Instructions on how to apply

For more information please visit https://www.ambercofund.eu/

Applications shall be written in English and compiled into a PDF-file containing:

i) A Curriculum Vitae (europass format). This is created by registering and using the Europass portal here: https://europa.eu/europass/en/create-europass-cv Your CV can then be exported to a PDF file that you use in your application.

ii) A detailed research plan including any foreseen secondments (candidates can suggest more than the mandated one, they can also suggest their own secondments), schools and conferences as well as a templated budget plan. (as concise as possible, recommended about 3-5 pages, but at an absolute maximum 10 pages. The research plan should include a half page of summary/abstract. The template can be downloaded from the “For applicants” page, here: eu/for-applicants

Additional texts to include in the PDF are:

iii) Letter of Commitment from any additional secondment partners the candidate wishes to bring onboard.

iv) Evidence of English proficiency (minimum CEFR B22, also checked at interview).

v) A draft Individual Career Development Plan (ICDP).

vi) Two reference letters.

vii) Any additional documents to support the application.

viii) Ethical questionnaire (HE ethics checklist + research ethics commitment) link will be provided at the “For applicants” page, here: https://www.ambercofund.eu/for-applicants

In addition, the application will require:

  1. ix) Any candidate can apply for maximum of 3 positions. You must apply for each individual position. A list with order of preference of positions should be sent to the AMBER management. amber@linxs.se The template can be downloaded from the “For applicants” page, here: https://www.ambercofund.eu/for-applicants
  2. x) A pre-recorded video presentation (questionnaire-guided, via online video tool, about 10min). Upon successful completion of the rest of the application procedure eligible candidates will be sent a link.

The Faculty of Medicine is a part of Lund University, and is responsible for education and research within medicine and healthcare. Our academic programs are closely linked with the healthcare system and are firmly anchored in the faculty’s strong research tradition. Our research spans a broad field within experimental preclinical research, near-patient clinical research and health sciences research. The Faculty of Medicine, with its 1,800 employees and 2,700 students in Lund and Malmö, is a knowledge-intensive meeting place for students, teachers and researchers from all over the world.

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