Postdoctoral Research Assistant, University of Dundee

Postdoctoral Research Assistant, University of Dundee

Postdoctoral position to use Drosophila genetics to study O-GlcNAc signalling pathways linked to development and neurodegeneration in the laboratory of Professor Daan van Aalten FRSE.

Applications are invited for a postdoctoral position to work in the multidisciplinary laboratory of Daan van Aalten to elucidate fundamental mechanisms of the O-GlcNAc posttranslational modification in development and neurodegeneration. This position is funded by a prestigious 5-year Investigator Award from the Wellcome Trust. The van Aalten lab has a major interest in how O-GlcNAcylation controls protein function. We have discovered a key role of this modification in IL1 signalling (EMBO J. 2012) and Drosophila development (Open Biol. 2015), as well as understanding the modifying enzymes involved (e.g. Nat.Struct.Mol.Biol 2015) and developing potent inhibitors (e.g. Chemistry & Biology 2010). We are now using CRISPR/Cas9 and pharmacological approaches in Drosophila and in vivo models to study the mechanisms of how O-GlcNAc controls patterning of the early embryo and the nervous system, including models of neurodegeneration and recently discovered human mutations in the O-GlcNAc processing enzymes leading to neurodevelopmental disorders. The successful applicant will have access to state-of-the-art technologies in , , genome editing, , and transgenic in vivo models/Drosophila models to uncover new fundamental knowledge on these key molecules.

You will use CRISPR/Cas9 in Drosophila (several novel lines already available) to study the role of the O-GlcNAc modification in development and neurodegenerative/metabolic disease.

This position is available for two years in the first instance. Starting date is flexible but before January 2017.

Candidate requirements:


  • A background in working with Drosophila as a model of animal development.
  • PhD with an outstanding track record and at least one first authored publication in an internationally recognised peer-reviewed journal.
  • Capable of working in a team, but able to generate ideas, plan and work independently.
  • A desire to interact with, and learn from, scientists beyond your own discipline/culture.
  • Excellent communication skills and proficiency in English, in particular in writing scientific publications.


  • Experience with fly models of neurodegeneration/metabolic disease.
  • A background in biochemistry, biology, signal transduction and or pharmacology would be preferable.
  • Familiarity with protein glycosylation and related developmental disorders.
  • Experience with CRISPR/Cas9.

For informal enquiries please contact Daan van Aalten (

For details on the van Aalten lab please visit our website

The van Aalten lab is based in the MRC Protein Phosphorylation and Ubiquitylation Unit (MRC-PPU), one of the world’s most renowned centres for research on post-translational modifications ( and is an exciting and collaborative research environment, equipped to the highest international standards.

The MRC-PPU is in a beautiful location overlooking the estuary of the River Tay and embedded within the School of Life Sciences at the University of Dundee.

This is one of the premier Life Sciences research centres in the world and was recently assessed as the top University for Life Sciences research in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF).

This post is not valid after Tuesday May 31st, 2016

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