Postdoctoral Fellow - Functional modulation of RNA structure
Job Type: Full time
R-181136: Postdoctoral Fellow - Functional modulation of RNA structure
Location: The Discovery Centre, Cambridge Biomedical Campus, Cambridge, UK
Competitive Salary, Bonus & Benefits Package
Do you have expertise in, and passion for, RNA biology, with a focus on RNA structure and its role in regulating cellular processes? Would you like to apply your expertise to enable the development of a novel generation of RNA-targeted life changing medicines? Then join the Functional Genomics department at AstraZeneca and unlock the power of what science can do.
AstraZeneca is a global, science-led, patient-centred biopharmaceutical company focusing on discovering, developing, and commercialising prescription medicines for some of the world’s most serious diseases. But we’re more than a global leading pharmaceutical company. At AstraZeneca, we're dedicated to being a Great Place to Work and empowering employees to push the boundaries of science and fuel their entrepreneurial spirit.
About our Postdoc Programme
Bring your expertise, apply your knowledge, follow the science, and make a difference. AstraZeneca’s Postdoc Programme is for self-motivated individuals looking to deliver exciting projects in an encouraging, engaging, and innovative environment. You'll work with multidisciplinary scientific teams from a diverse set of backgrounds and a world-class academic mentor specifically aligned to your project. Our postdocs are respected as specialists, encouraged to speak up, and supported to share their research at conferences, publish papers, achieve their goals.
Make a more meaningful impact in your career, with greater ownership and accountability to make a contribution whilst making a difference to the lives of our patients!
This is a 3-year programme.
About the Opportunity
The purpose of this position is to provide early-career researchers with an opportunity to further develop their expertise and skills in the field of machine learning, specifically at the intersection of generative models and molecules. Postdocs play a crucial role in advancing scientific knowledge and driving innovation in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries.
You will join our department of Functional Genomics within Discovery Sciences. The Functional Genomics department supports the discovery of novel drug target hypotheses harnessing the power of functional genomics screening and validation. The department is responsible for the identification and validation of novel targets to support AstraZeneca’s clinical pipeline through use of ground-breaking technologies and approaches. You will join an extraordinary team with a track record of delivering portfolio impact.
Our successful Postdoc will establish NGS-based experimental protocols for the analysis of RNA structures in living cells. Furthermore, the postdoc will set up NGS data analysis pipelines for the identification of therapeutically-relevant RNA structures.
Over the past few years, RNA structure has emerged as a key regulator of basically any biological process, and its deregulation is pivotal for disease onset. This position sits at the interface between wet lab and computational biology. By utilising (and developing) innovative methods for RNA structure interrogation in living cells, combined with computational data analysis, the candidate will identify and functionally characterize regulatory RNA structure elements within key disease regulator, amenable for the development of innovative RNA-targeted therapeutic strategies.
This project has the potential to establish an industry leading technological platform that can be applied for multiple diseases belonging to different therapeutic areas, having therefore the possibility to impact the life of patients across the world.
You will report to Alessandro Bonetti (Principal Scientist). Dr Bonetti has longstanding experience in the field of chromatin and RNA biology. He has developed multiple technologies aimed at elucidating the function of coding and non-coding transcripts. He is actively involved in several international collaborations with academic partners and currently leads several projects focused at RNA therapeutics in AstraZeneca.
Our Postdoc will also benefit from academic supervision from Dr Danny Incarnato, one of the world leading authorities in RNA structure determination. Dr Incarnato has pioneered several pioneering methods for the study of RNA structures in living cells. His expertise in RNA structure elucidation will enhance our focus on RNA biology and therapeutics combined with disease specific domain knowledge.
What You’ll Do
As a Postdoctoral Fellow, you will be expected to develop and lead their own project in addition to actively contributing to other projects in AstraZeneca. The ability to effectively communicate and work in a team is crucial.
You’ll be encouraged to present your work to the postdoc and wider AZ communities, including departmental meetings, project teams and R&D symposiums. In addition to working with diverse teams within AstraZeneca our Postdoc will lead our collaboration with Dr Danny Incarnato (University of Groningen), a recognised world leader in RNA structure determination, and will provide regular mentoring and scientific discussions.
Qualification, Skills & Experience
- PhD degree, or equivalent in molecular or structural biology, or biochemistry, or related specialism
- Basic molecular biology techniques (i.e., PCR, RT-qPCR, western blotting, RNA extraction and quality control, reverse transcription, molecular cloning, bacteria transformation and plasmid isolation, etc.)
- Basic mammalian cell culture (i.e., cell passaging, cell counting, cell freezing, transfection, etc.)
- Strong collaborative skills and commitment to teamwork along with ability to work independently
- Track record of writing papers as demonstrated by publications and pre-prints
- Experience working with RNA (i.e., in vitro transcription, denaturing PAGE, various RNA biochemistry techniques, enzymatic and/or chemical probing-based analysis of RNA structure etc.)
- Experience with NGS and library preparation (i.e., RNA-seq, small RNA-seq, etc.)
- Ability to work on Linux/UNIX-based environments
- Ability to write scripts in Bash/Python/Perl/R or similar language
Reasons to Apply
You will work in an industry-leading group with a strong publication track record and be supported by a leading academic supervisor.
As a respected specialist, we will empower you to take appropriate risks, lead the project and “run with it”, along with providing you will all the support you need.
AstraZeneca has an active Postdoc community participating in regular scientific and social activities.
The unique positioning of this postdoc within a pharmaceutical company such as AZ, means that you will be able to access large datasets which are not available in the public domain. Moreover, you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that methods and techniques you develop will not only be published but will also be used within AZ after the postdoc position concludes, in real-life projects - and that ultimately the work you do will directly impact patients’ lives!
As a key member of a research group and taking a leading role on a Postdoctoral project, we expect regular attendance - a minimum of 3 days per week on the AstraZeneca campus. For laboratory-based scientists, this may be higher.
Given the unique positioning of our Postdoctoral researchers, you may have an additional opportunity to spend some time with an external academic mentor. In this instance, you may be required to spend some of your time working alongside them at their facility as driven by the research project. Your flexibility to meet the needs of the research and the scope of the project is required, and we also look to support you with flexibility in accordance with our standard work policies.
If your passion is science and you want to be part of a team that makes a bigger impact on patients’ lives, then there’s no better place to be.
This advert will be running from Monday, 23rd October 2023 and, we welcome your application as soon as possible, but ahead of the scheduled closing date of Sunday, 14th January 2024. In the event, that we identify suitable candidates ahead of the scheduled closing date, we reserve the right to withdraw the vacancy earlier than published.
Find Out More
AstraZeneca - Our Technologies: https://www.astrazeneca.com/r-d/our-technologies/functional-genomics.html
AZ’s Postdoc Programme: https://careers.astrazeneca.com/postdocs-astrazeneca
Life at AstraZeneca: https://careers.astrazeneca.com/life-at-astrazeneca
This is what we’re made of: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pmFx_jr2eFo&t=2s
AstraZeneca embraces diversity and equality of opportunity. We are committed to building an inclusive and diverse team representing all backgrounds, with as wide a range of perspectives as possible, and harnessing industry-leading skills. We believe that the more inclusive we are, the better our work will be. We welcome and consider applications to join our team from all qualified candidates, regardless of their characteristics. We follow all applicable laws and regulations on non-discrimination in employment (and recruitment), as well as work authorisation and employment eligibility verification requirements.
AstraZeneca embraces diversity and equality of opportunity. We are committed to building an inclusive and diverse team representing all backgrounds, with as wide a range of perspectives as possible, and harnessing industry-leading skills. We believe that the more inclusive we are, the better our work will be. We welcome and consider applications to join our team from all qualified candidates, regardless of their characteristics. We comply with all applicable laws and regulations on non-discrimination in employment (and recruitment), as well as work authorization and employment eligibility verification requirements.