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Research Associate in chemical biology of polysaccharide degrading enzymes

Based at
University of York - Heslington Campus
Hours of work
Full-time (flexibility available)
Contract status
Fixed term
33,309 - 40,927 per year
Posted Date
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Job Reference

Role Description


Applications are invited for a postdoctoral researcher to work on the activity-based proteomics and structural enzymology of plant polysaccharide-degrading enzyme systems. The work is funded by an ERC-Synergy grant to York, Barcelona and Leiden.  You will be supervised by Professor Gideon Davies and will work in the ERC-Synergy team in the York Structural Biology Laboratory, within Chemistry.

The Department of Chemistry is one of the largest and most successful departments at York and we are renowned internationally for our research. As a department, we strive to provide a working environment that allows all staff and students to contribute fully, to flourish, and to excel. We are proud of our Athena SWAN Gold Award.

You will conduct research into activity-based probes, and other chemical biology methods, applied to polysaccharide degrading / modifying enzymes.  The goal is to apply activity-based proteomics methods, in collaboration with Leiden and Barcelona, to identify key enzyme systems involved in polysaccharide degradation both fundamentally and for potential biotechnological exploitation.


To conduct research into the application of activity-based probes to the detection and analysis of carbohydrate-active enzymes involved in plant biomass degradation including:

  • Identification of biosamples of interest for the demonstration of novel activity-based probes
  • Genomic analysis of biological samples in support of proteomic analysis
  • Activity-based protein profiling of fungal and bacterial proteomes       
  • High-purity enzyme production using both bacterial and fungal expression systems
  • Enzyme kinetics and determination of substrate specificity
  • Ligand-bound structure solution by X-ray crystallography: crystallisation, data collection, refinement, deposition
  • Keep up-to-date with scientific literature, commitment to personal development of skills and knowledge
  • Work closely with international collaborators
  • Develop and initiate collaborative working internally and externally, build contacts, participate in networks, identify opportunities for collaboration and funding, attend and contribute to relevant meetings 
  • Provide guidance to other staff and students, coordinate the work of small research teams

Skills, Experience & Qualification needed

  • A first degree in Chemistry, Biochemistry or related area and a PhD in Biochemistry or related area
  • Knowledge of carbohydrate active enzymes, including structures and mechanisms
  • Knowledge and experience of enzyme kinetics, including inhibition methods and of both bacterial and fungal enzyme production methods
  • Knowledge of work in the Davies Research group (from wider reading) and an understanding of the work of Carme Rovira in Barcelona and Hermen Overkleeft in Leiden
  • Skill in culturing diverse microorganisms with aseptic technique
  • Skill in enzymology of carbohydrate active enzymes, in particular polysaccharide degrading enzyme specificity and kinetic analysis
  • Well-developed analytical skills, experience of undertaking high quality research in the areas of carbohydrate active enzymes
  • Proven ability to write up research work for publication, make presentations and participate in public engagement events
  • Highly developed communication skills to engage effectively
  • Experience of developing research objectives and proposals to conduct independent and collaborative research projects
  • Ability to use initiative, plan and prioritise to meet deadlines
  • Positive attitude and willingness to work proactively
  • Commitment to and understanding of equality, diversity and inclusion issues

Interview date: 8th December 2021

For informal enquiries: please contact Prof Gideon Davies on

The University strives to be diverse and inclusive  – a place where we can ALL be ourselves.

We particularly encourage applications from people who identify as Black, Asian or from a Minority Ethnic background, who are underrepresented at the University. 

We offer family friendly, flexible working arrangements, with forums and inclusive facilities to support our staff. #EqualityatYork

Athena Gold 2017 




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