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PDRA, Enzyme Kinetics

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The Rosalind Franklin Institute is a new national Research Centre, funded by the UK government through UK Research and Innovation, dedicated to bringing about transformative changes in life science through interdisciplinary research and technology. The Franklin is organised around complementary scientific themes: Structural Biology, Biological Mass Spectrometry, Correlated Imaging, Next Generation Chemistry & AI. Each theme will apply physical science technology and techniques to deliver an order of magnitude improvement in our ability to answer fundamental biological problems of interest both to the broader research community and industry.

This post is for a postdoctoral scientist within the Structural Biology theme, with scope for collaboration with other themes.

We are working on developing an enzyme system for time resolved crystallography using the X-ray free electron laser. We have already solved the structure of the native enzyme and in collaboration with Professor Nigel Richards at Cardiff, we are designing and making new photo active substrates. The enzyme catalyses carbon:carbon bond formation and our goal is to visualise key chemical steps during this process. This work has the potential to change our understanding of enzyme mechanics. The use of the photo active substrates allows turnover in the enzyme to be synchronised.

Your role is to develop kinetic assays (steady sate and single turnover) for the substrates and their analogues. Understanding timing of the reaction is key in preparing experiments using the free electron laser. You will also prepare the appropriate complexes of the enzyme and collect the time resolved data. This is a 4 years’ fixed-term contract, funded through BBSRC.


You will work closely with the Cardiff post holder in Professor Richards’ group. You will be expected to visit Cardiff to carry out experiments. You will be expected, in consulation with Naismith and Richards, to write up work for publication, convene meetings and set project priorities.

You will publish research articles in leading academic journals and present findings at national and international meetings/conferences.

Selection criteria


· A relevant PhD qualification or equivalent in chemistry, molecular biology or biochemistry or fast spectroscopy

· Demonstrable experience in enzyme kinetics and assays, including defining research questions and devising strategies to answer them

· Demonstrable experience in the development and use of assays to determine enzyme rates

· Commitment to science driven high quality research

· Ability to work collaboratively and as part of an interdisciplinaryPDRA team, both within the Franklin and with external partners, including in the design and coordination of experiments

·  Ability to work both independently and as part of a team

·  Strong organisational and communication skills.

·  Ability to adapt to changing priorities



· A first degree in biochemistry or structural biology or organic chemistry

· Experience in organic chemistry or structural methods

· Experience in fast molecular imaging technologies

· Knowledge of computational software such as PRISM, MATHEMATICA etc.

· Experience with general analytical techniques such as chromatography, NMR or electrophoresis etc.

· Knowledge of technology transfer


Area: Scientific

Location: Harwell

Type of Post: 4 years’ fixed term contract, full-time

Salary: £33,000 - £39,000

Closing Date: 09/02/2020

Ref No: 10054



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