Research Associate in Chemical Biology of Polysaccharide Degrading Enzymes

University of York Department of Chemistry

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
Salary:33,309 - 50,296 per year
Posted Date:07/12/2021
Apply by:21/01/2022
Job Reference:10164

Role Description


Applications are invited for either a Research Fellow or 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 and is available for up to 36 months.  You will be supervised by Professor Gideon Davies and will work in the ERC-Synergy team in the York Structural Biology Laboratory, within Chemistry.

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.

Note this post is available at grade 6 or grade with the grade 7 position demanding a higher degree of experience and leadership. Please only apply for the position commensurate with your experience and make clear on your application which grade you are applying for. 

Key responsibilities

To conduct research into the application of activity-based probes to the detection and analysis of carbohydrate-active enzymes involved in plant biomass (starch, cellulose, xyloglucan, etc) degradation including:

  • High-purity enzyme production using both bacterial and fungal expression systems
  • Identification of biosamples of interest for the demonstration of novel activity-based probes
  • (Activity-based )Proteomic analysis of fungal and bacterial samples / enzyme enrichment and identification      
  • Genomic analysis of biological samples in support of proteomic analysis
  • Enzyme kinetics and determination of substrate specificity
  • Ligand-bound structure solution by X-ray crystallography: crystallisation, data collection & structure solution, refinement, deposition

Skills, Experience & Qualification needed

  • A first degree in Chemistry, Biochemistry or related area
  • A PhD in Biochemistry, Chemistry, Molecular biology, Microbiology or related area
  • Enthusiasm for carbohydrate-active enzymes, including structures and mechanisms
  • 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, analysis and preparation of samples for activity-based proteomics and also in protein crystallography, including ligand analysis
  • Well-developed analytical skills, experience of undertaking high quality research in the areas of carbohydrate active enzymes and proteomics

Interview date: TBC

For informal enquiries: please contact Prof Gideon Davies on

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.

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

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