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Postdoctoral Research Associate in Synthetic Carbohydrate Chemistry

Based at
University of York - Heslington Campus
Hours of work
Full or part-time (see job details)
Contract status
Fixed term
32,817 - 40,322 a year (pro-rated for part-time working)
Posted Date
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Job Reference

Role Description


Applications are invited for a Postdoctoral Research Associate to join the group of Dr Lianne Willems ( in the Department of Chemistry. The Willems group has a particular interest in the study of glycans and carbohydrate-active enzymes in relation to human disease. Supported by the Department’s research strengths in Chemical and Structural Biology, you will be involved in cutting-edge research in the field of chemical glycobiology. The goal of this project is to synthesise new chemical tools that can be applied to characterise the function of a set of enzymes involved in glycan biosynthesis, aiming to gain novel insights into the roles these proteins play in disease pathology.

The Department of Chemistry is one of the UK's leading Chemistry departments and is renowned internationally for our research. We strive to provide a working environment which allows all staff and students to contribute fully, to flourish, and to excel. We have been recognised consistently for our family-friendly policies and are proud of our Athena SWAN Gold Award.


You will conduct research to design and develop synthetic strategies for novel carbohydrate derivatives that can be used to probe and inhibit glycosyltransferase function in vitro and in cell-based assays. You will also contribute to the biochemical characterisation of the synthesised compounds. Working both individually and collaboratively as part of multidisciplinary teams, the position offers the opportunity to advance your knowledge and skills in a variety of chemical biology approaches. You will provide guidance and support to other lab members and contribute to the dissemination of research data through publications, presentations and outreach activities. The role will also involve some organisational and administrative activities connected to the research project and, where appropriate, assisting with the development of new research projects and proposals.

The post is funded either full-time for up to 30 months or part-time options are available (for example up to 50 months at 0.6 FTE).

Skills, Experience & Qualifications needed

  • A first degree in Chemistry and a PhD in Organic/Synthetic Chemistry or equivalent experience
  • Knowledge, experience and skills in synthetic organic chemistry, including appropriate techniques and methodologies for the multistep synthesis and characterisation of small molecule organic compounds
  • Knowledge of chemical and/or chemoenzymatic carbohydrate synthesis.
  • Highly developed communication skills, both orally and in writing, and experience with the writing of journal publications
  • Experience/competency to carry out both individual and collaborative research projects, working as part of a team or independently using own initiative; including the ability to develop research objectives and to plan and prioritise own work
  • Highly motivated and professional work ethic, with commitment to high quality research and personal development, a collaborative ethos and a willingness to proactively support colleagues and students
  • Enthusiasm for the specific subject matter of the project

Interview date: 27 January 2020

For informal enquiries: please contact Dr Lianne Willems (

The Department of Chemistry values all employees for the qualities and skills they bring to the workplace and aims to be a diverse and egalitarian community in which all can thrive.

The University is committed to promoting a diverse and inclusive community  – a place where we can all be ourselves and succeed on merit. We offer a range of family friendly, inclusive employment policies, flexible working arrangements, staff engagement forums, campus facilities and services to support staff from different backgrounds.

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