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Research Assistant/Associate (Fixed Term)

Department of Pharmacology, Central Cambridge








28 July 2017

Closing date

3 September 2017

Applications are invited for a full-time postdoctoral research associate or research assistant. The successful candidate will work on a BBSRC-funded project called "Transport mechanism of the major facilitator superfamily multidrug transporter LmrP" in the research group led by Dr Hendrik van Veen.

The introduction of antibiotics was a turning point in the history of medicine and has saved countless lives. Unfortunately, the use of these wonder drugs is accompanied by the emergence of resistant pathogenic bacteria, which are difficult to eradicate. One of the major antibiotic resistance mechanisms is based on the active extrusion of antibiotics from cells by antibiotic efflux pumps. Ongoing studies on drug efflux pumps have revealed many intriguing structural, functional and biochemical features. However, a gap remains in our knowledge regarding the transport mechanisms and broad specificity for structurally unrelated antibiotics. In this project, we will focus on a well-known antibiotic efflux pump, termed LmrP, from the Gram-positive bacterium Lactococcus lactis. As an antibiotic/proton antiporter, LmrP contains pockets in which antibiotics and protons can bind. We will test the hypothesis that the surface properties in these pockets change from attracting water to repelling water at different stages of the transport reaction so that antibiotics can bind while protons are released, and vice versa. Several biochemical and biophysical approaches will be used to measure surface properties of the pockets while LmrP is kept in a state where the pockets are exposed to the interior or exterior of the cell. This research will increase our understanding of the mechanisms by which LmrP and other antibiotic efflux pumps work. The results will allow us in the future to generate new antibiotics that block or bypass the efflux activity of these membrane transporters.

Regarding the key criteria for appointment, the successful applicant will be a highly motivated, enthusiastic individual, capable of thinking and working independently, with experience in the expression, purification and reconstitution of membrane proteins, as well as the biochemical and functional analyses of these proteins. The successful applicant will also have outstanding presentation and writing skills. Candidates should have or shortly expect to obtain a PhD in a related subject.

The Department holds an Athena SWAN bronze award, demonstrating a commitment to provide equal opportunities and to advance the representation of women in science subjects. We welcome applications from all qualified candidates irrespective of gender but, as women are currently under-represented at this level in our department, we strongly encourage applications from female candidates. Appointment will be based on merit alone.

To apply online for this vacancy, please click on the 'Apply' button below. This will route you to the University's Web Recruitment System, where you will need to register an account (if you have not already) and log in before completing the online application form.

Applications from agencies will not be considered. If you have any questions about this vacancy or the application process, please contact Amparo Saez (

The funds for this post are available up 3 years with effect from 1st October 2017 or as soon as possible thereafter (negotiable)

Please quote reference PL12925 on your application and in any correspondence about this vacancy.

The University values diversity and is committed to equality of opportunity.

The University has a responsibility to ensure that all employees are eligible to live and work in the UK.

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