Project Research Scientist - Drug Discovery

In the Crick's Tate E |Research Group.

Key information

Job reference
Competitive with benefits, subject to skills and experience
Application close date
06 October 2021, 22:59 BST
Hours per week
36 (full time)
Posted 10 September 2021

Contact term:

  • This is a full-time, fixed term (24 months) position on Crick terms and conditions of employment, with the opportunity for extension to 36 months subject to progress and funding.



The post holder will lead high-throughput screening and hit validation studies to discover the first potent and selective protein S-acyltransferase (PAT) ligands. This is a collaborative project based in the Tate group at the Francis Crick Institute, in close collaboration with scientists in the Downward and Merck Sharp & Dohme labs, supported by the Crick Science Technology Platforms (STPs). The role may continue beyond 24 months, subject to progress in the project and funding.


The family of 23 human ‘zDHHC’ protein S-acyltransferases regulates the function of hundreds of proteins through the transfer of long-chain acyl groups to specific cysteine residues. Despite their emerging importance as drug targets, potent and selective ligands have yet to be reported for these enzymes. You will collaborate with experienced chemical biologists and medicinal chemists and scientists at Merck/MSD to screen large compound libraries and identify and validate new zDHHC ligands, greatly enabling biology and drug discovery research for this novel target class. You will optimise and apply a cascade of established and newly developed high-throughput assays, with the support of expert teams specialised in protein production, automation and chemistry, in order to achieve your goals.

The role would suit an experienced drug discovery scientist or chemical biologist with a track record of successfully developing, optimising and delivering high-throughput screens and hit validation studies, using novel or established assay technologies. Applications from scientists currently or previously employed in industry (biotech, pharma, etc.) are welcomed.


These include but are not limited to:

  • To develop and deliver new high-throughput screens against the zDHHCs
  • To execute secondary assay cascades to identify optimal hit series
  • To take initiative in the planning and execution of research, and in the development of collaborations with other groups at Crick, Imperial, and external collaborators
  • To make regular internal reports, and prepare material for presentation in oral and poster formats
  • To maintain accurate and complete records of all findings
  • To present findings to colleagues and at conferences
  • To write reports for submission to research sponsors
  • To draft publications and prepare them for submission to refereed journals
  • To contribute to writing research grant bids and patent applications
  • To provide guidance to staff and students
  • To supervise practical work and advise students on techniques
  • To take responsibility for organising resources and effective decision making in support of research
  • To attend relevant workshops and conferences as necessary
  • To direct the work of small research teams, including undergraduate and postgraduate students
  • To identify and develop suitable techniques for the collection and analysis of data
  • To conduct data analysis
  • To ensure the validity and reliability of data at all times


The Francis Crick Institute (the Crick) is a registered charity whose purpose is to conduct biomedical research into all aspects of human health and disease. Dedicated to research excellence, the institute will be a world-leading centre of biomedical research and innovation. The Crick is located in a new, purpose-built research centre in central London (next to St Pancras International), housing some 1,250 researchers and 250 support staff.


The post holder should embody and demonstrate our core Crick values: Bold, Imaginative, Open, Dynamic and Collegial, in addition to the following:


  • Holds (or will hold) a PhD degree (or significant post-Masters relevant experience) in biochemistry, drug discovery, chemical biology, or a closely related area
  • Strong track record of productivity in relevant research, for example as evidenced by key contributions to successful screening campaigns, ideally leading to patents and/or papers published in leading scientific journals
  • Experience working in a collaborative, multidisciplinary research environment
  • Ability to initiate and execute productive projects with a high degree of independence at the (bio)chemistry/biology interface
  • A clear ambition to advance bioscience and drug discovery research through discovery of new pharmacological/chemical biology tools


  • Postdoctoral (or equivalent) experience in assay development/delivery for novel targets
  • Experience in supporting hit validation and hit optimisation
  • Experience in design of chemical probes supporting assay development
  • Experience in effective use of software tools relevant to drug discovery
  • Experience in chemoinformatic hit analysis and data mining
  • Experience in (co)writing grant applications
  • Strong communication skills, particularly at the chemistry/biology interface
  • Experience in safe, productive supervision of research students and other junior scientists

For any questions, please contact us on or Edward Tate (

Please note: all offers of employment are subject to successful security screening and eligibility to work in the United Kingdom.