Research Associate in Biochemistry

Job Description

(Yeast Replication)

Job description
Job summary
A position has become available in the laboratory of Professor Speck at Imperial College London ( to work on an exciting Wellcome Trust supported project.

This is an ideal opportunity for an enthusiastic and creative scientist to join a dynamic research team with excellent collaborators and facilities. The successful applicant will use cutting-edge biochemical approaches to work on a high profile project investigating novel mechanisms in eukaryotic DNA replication with therapeutic potential.

The project will address how key DNA replication factors function and how they are regulated, which is crucial to understand how cancer development is initiated and will serve as a stepping-stone for the development of novel replication inhibitors with potential as chemotherapeutic drugs. The successful candidate will take advantage of efficient and well-established reconstituted systems and in vivo approaches (Evrin et al PNAS 2009, Fernandez-Cid et al Mol Cell 2013, Sun et al NSMB 2013, Samel et al G&D 2014, Sun et al G&D 2014, Chang et al 2015 Elife) and (Noguchi et al PNAS 2017) to address how the replicative helicase becomes loaded onto DNA. It is the ideal time point to start with this project, as a recent high resolution structure of the replicative helicase in complex with its loader by the Speck lab (Yuan et al NSMB 2017) has provided key insights into the process. However, this structure has also suggested many novel mechanisms for the role of Cdt1 in MCM2-7 ring opening/closing and induction of ATP-hydrolysis.

Duties and responsibilities
The successful candidate will take advantage of the new knowledge and explore these novel mechanisms in vitro, in vivo and through structural approaches. The research will involve design of constructs, expression and purification of proteins & protein complexes using bacteria and yeast. The purified factors will be used in established biochemical assays, structural analysis in collaboration with other group members and analysis of protein dynamics by FRET assays. The applicant will be working as part of a team, and will have ample opportunity to drive the project’s direction in a creative way.

The successful candidate will enjoy intensive interactions with group members specialised in cryo-EM, biochemistry or in vivo approaches generating a collaborative and highly productive atmosphere, with substantial opportunities for advanced training. The lab is very well equipped for biochemistry and structural EM work and has direct access to a staffed local cryo-EM facility and the Titan Krios as founding member of the LonCEN consortium.

By joining the group, the candidate will not only participate in high profile research projects, but will also be directly mentored by Professor Speck in grant writing, networking and publishing. Indeed, the scientific framework and the support by Professor Speck means that the candidate will be well placed for a successful transition into independence.

Essential requirements
The candidate should have a PhD in Biochemistry or neighbouring disciplines, or equivalent experience, a strong publication record and extensive expertise in protein biochemistry. Some background in the areas of biochemical assays, nucleic acid-protein interactions, molecular machines, structure determination & modelling, or the broader area of genome stability would be desirable

Further information
The latest expected start date is early/middle 2018.

For informal inquiries or questions please contact Professor Christian Speck directly at (

Should you have queries about applying for the role, please contact:
Michelle Buckman –

About Imperial College London
Imperial College London is the UK’s only university focussed entirely on science, engineering, medicine and business and we are consistently rated in the top 10 universities in the world.

You will find our main London campus in South Kensington, with our hospital campuses located nearby in West and North London. We also have Silwood Park in Berkshire and state-of-the-art facilities in development at our major new campus in White City.

We work in a multidisciplinary and diverse community for education, research, translation and commercialisation, harnessing science and innovation to tackle the big global challenges our complex world faces.

It’s our mission to achieve enduring excellence in all that we do for the benefit of society – and we are looking for the most talented people to help us get there.

Additional information
Please note that job descriptions cannot be exhaustive and the post-holder may be required to undertake other duties, which are broadly in line with the above key responsibilities.

All Imperial employees are expected to follow the 7 principles of Imperial Expectations:

Champion a positive approach to change and opportunity
Communicate regularly and effectively within, and across, teams
Consider the thoughts and expectations of others
Deliver positive outcomes
Encourage inclusive participation and eliminate discrimination
Develop and grow skills and expertise
Work in a planned and managed way
In addition to the above, employees are required to observe and comply with all College policies and regulations.

Imperial College is committed to equality of opportunity, to eliminating discrimination and to creating an inclusive working environment. We are an Athena SWAN Silver award winner, a Stonewall Diversity Champion, a Disability Confident Employer and work in partnership with GIRES to promote respect for trans people.