Senior Laboratory Research Scientist - McTernan lab

In the Crick's Mcternan C |Research Group.

Applies an in-depth knowledge of research, technical or other scientific practices, methods and procedures gained through either experience and/or formal academic qualifications and applies this knowledge to provide a range of specialist activities. Senior Laboratory Research Scientist is the level at which careers in this functional family typically stabilise.

Key information

Job reference
£35,500 - £42,250, subject to skills and experience
Application close date
15 December 2021, 23:59 GMT
Hours per week
36 (full time)
Posted 23 November 2021

Please note that the role will close at midnight on 16th December 2021. Therefore, please apply for the position before midnight, so that your application can be considered.

This is a full-time fixed term (12 months, with potential for extension) position on Crick terms and conditions of employment. It is also available as an internal secondment.



This vacancy is for a fixed-term Senior Laboratory Research Scientist (SLRS) to help establish the Supramolecular Chemistry Laboratory led by Dr. Charlie McTernan. The ideal candidate will enjoy working in a new multidisciplinary lab at the interface of chemistry and biology. They will undertake research in either the use of artificial molecular machinery in membranes, or the design and synthesis of sequence specific metal-organic cages, working to apply supramolecular systems in biological settings. Alongside this, they will provide support with setting up a multidisciplinary lab working at the interface of chemistry and biology. The post holder will support the management of the laboratory and training of junior members in organic chemistry and the use of equipment. You can find out more about our work on our website. Applications are particularly welcome from candidates with a strong background in supramolecular, inorganic or organic chemistry, or peptide synthesis. The ideal candidate will have excellent organisational and interpersonal skills, along with a proven track record of aptitude in research.

Project summary

We are a synthetic chemistry group established in 2021, working in supramolecular and biological chemistry, and nanotechnology. We work in the Francis Crick Institute in London, and at the Department of Chemistry at King's College London. Our research looks at how we can apply Supramolecular Chemistry in Biological settings. The McTernan Group aims to apply recent breakthroughs in artificial molecular machines and metal-organic capsules in biologically relevant settings. Supramolecular Chemistry is the study of intermolecular, non-covalent interactions. These non-covalent interactions are critical to protein folding, DNA base pairing, and cellular signalling. Supramolecular Chemistry applies these same principles to create artificial systems capable of performing complex tasks. We work with rotaxanes, catenanes and capsules to synthesise functional architectures, creating de novo catalytic enzyme analogues, artificial cellular receptors, and generating targeted drug delivery vehicles. Find out more about our work on our website.

The successful candidate will join a growing team, working at the interface of Chemistry and Biology. Our team currently consists of two postdoctoral researchers, two PhD students, and two Masters students. The successful candidate will undertake independent research, with a project designed to suit their skills, ambitions, and experience. The post will also involve coordinating with Crick support staff and other groups to ensure the smooth running of the McTernan Group, and assisting with equipment maintenance and ordering. The post holder will help to train junior members of the team in organic chemistry and the use of automated column, fluorometer, HPLC and peptide synthesis equipment in the group (on which they will receive training!). Collaborations with other members of the group will be expected and encouraged, as will those with other Groups at the Crick and more widely.

Key publications

Erbas-Cakmak, S.; Leigh, D. A.; McTernan, C. T.; Nussbaumer, A. L. Artificial Molecular Machines. Chem. Rev. 115, 10081–10206 (2015).

McTernan, C. T.; De Bo, G., Leigh, D. A. A Track-Based Molecular Synthesizer that Builds a Single-Sequence Oligomer through Iterative Carbon-Carbon Bond Formation. Chem 6, 2964–2973 (2020).

McTernan, C .T.; Ronson, T. K.; Nitschke, J. R. Post-assembly Modification of Phosphine Cages Controls Host-Guest Behavior. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 141, 6837–6842 (2019).

Key responsibilities

These include but are not limited to:

  • Leading and developing specific research project(s) under guidance from the Group Leader 
  • Providing specialist advice and guidance, sharing knowledge and expertise for the benefit of others 
  • Providing significant contribution to the production of research papers for publication, presenting findings to group members and other internal audiences 
  • Presenting work externally at national and international meetings 
  • Authoring papers under guidance from the Group Leader 
  • Contributing to equipment maintenance and ordering of new equipment and consumables
  • Developing independence  
  • Improving established procedures and/or develop new procedures
  • Welcoming and training new lab members

Key experience and competencies

The post holder should embody and demonstrate our core Crick values: bold, imaginative, open, dynamic and collegial, in addition to the following:


  • PhD in Supramolecular, Organic, Inorganic or Peptide Chemistry (or in the final stages of PhD submission)
  • Expertise in organic synthesis
  • Track record of writing papers as evidenced by publications or submitted manuscripts in referred journals
  • Evidence of data presentation at scientific meetings
  • Experience of experimental design
  • Ability to work independently and within a group
  • Eager to learn new techniques


  • Experience in forming interlocked architectures
  • Experience in peptide chemistry
  • Experience in host-guest chemistry
  • Evidence of a creative and collaborative approach
  • Experience of using any of: Preparatory HPLC, Automated Column Machines, Peptide Synthesiser, Fluorometer, LED rigs, HRMS.

Please include in your application:

•         An up-to-date CV

•         A personal statement

•         Research summary (no more than 2 pages)