Job advertisement – RESEARCHER (f/m/d)

DC 7: Novel non-ß-lactam derived inhibitors against L, D-transpeptidases

Project description

The main goal of this project is to develop inhibitors of L, D-transpeptidases. First, screening of various libraries of compounds that are either already available to the project partners or are commercially available will be performed. Active compounds, either of fragment-size or bigger, obtained from the screening or available from the literature will be used as starting point for further development. They will be used as queries for ligand-based virtual screening of libraries of commercially available compounds. Screenings will be performed using different approaches, e.g. shape similarity using ROCS software (OpenEye), 2D fingerprint similarity using Open Babel and 2D or 3D similarity using the Clique algorithm with LiSiCA software (Insilab). In parallel, structure-based virtual screening will be performed, where more accurate and computationally intensive docking and scoring functions will be used in the Glide software (Schrödinger). Pharmacophoric models will also be created by LigandScout (Inte:Ligand). Virtual libraries will be docked to the active sites of the target enzymes and pharmacophores, taking into the account also the covalent binding where applicable, and the compounds with the best sum of scores will be selected for biological evaluation. 
Compounds obtained from screenings described above will be re-synthesised and used as starting points for further development and optimization. The goal of this hit-to-lead optimization will be to synthesise new lead compounds with improved properties. Medicinal chemistry efforts will include techniques such as hit evolution (optimization of the original hit by design and synthesis of focused libraries of analogues around a given scaffold with different substitution patterns) to improve potency, selectivity and bioavailability. Based on the co-crystal structures or docking positions, the favourable substituents will be introduced into the parent molecule to improve the binding affinity to the corresponding target enzyme.

Candidate profile

- Desirable skills/knowledge experiences in synthetic organic chemistry, medicinal chemistry and basic biochemistry/enzymology. The candidate should have advanced computer skills (operating systems Windows and Linux) and knowledge of programming in Python.

Local eligibility criteria

- Master’s degree in pharmacy, organic chemistry, or a related discipline.

Job description

- Conduct doctoral research training.
- Conduct scientific and research work as part of an international project.
- Organise, coordinate, plan and monitor the work involved in research activities (within the context of a research group).
- Connect research activities with other research institutions.
- Conduct other work assignments designated by the direct superior Prof. Dr. Stanislav Gobec.


To be confirmed

The doctoral candidate will have two secondments, two months each.

Working conditions and benefits

The doctoral candidate will work in a state-of-the-art medicinal chemistry laboratory with laboratories for synthetic organic chemistry, biochemical evaluation of compounds and computers with software for molecular modelling and rational drug design.

The doctoral candidate will have flexible working hours and the opportunity to participate in organized activities (healthy working environment events…)

Host institution: University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Pharmacy, Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry (Ljubljana, Slovenia)
Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Stanislav Gobec
Planned starting date: 1.10.2023
Duration: three years, full-time

How to apply

Application documents

Complete applications must be written in English and include:

- A Curriculum Vitae (CV)
- A letter of motivation
- Diploma and transcript of records of any obtained degrees
- Contact details of two referees

Application deadline: 1.5.2023
Selection process: 20.5.2023
Contact person:
Prof. Dr. Stanislav Gobec (stanislav.gobec@ffa.uni-lj.si) – Project Lead
Milena Petek (milena.petek@ffa.uni-lj.si) – HR 

What we offer

employment within the BREAKthrough project HORIZON TMA MSCA: Doctoral Network action, aimed at training the next generation of scientists with expertise in the field of antimicrobial resistance. Doctoral student will benefit from the following:

- An extensive network-wide doctoral training programme offering courses in science and technology, business and general, transferable skills;
- The opportunity to work in a multidisciplinary team within a pan-Europe consortium of research institutions and SME/industry partners, composed of experts in microbiology, pharmacology, and chemistry;
- Intersectoral and/or international experience: through 2-3 secondments to partner organisations, the candidate will gain valuable work experience in a non-academic and international environment;
- A competitive salary including mobility and family allowances.

With the broad range of skills and experience they gain in the BREAKthrough doctoral training programme, our doctoral students will significantly broaden their career prospects and enhance their employability, whether they choose a career in academia or industry. 

Monthly allowances:

Living allowance: €2.832 (gross salary)
Mobility allowance: €600 
Family allowance, if applicable: €660

*The gross salary is adjusted by country correction coefficient, depending on the country where the host institution is located. The exact net salary is dependent on local tax and social and health insurance regulations and will be confirmed upon appointment.

Eligibility criteria

To be considered for a DC position under the BREAKthrough project, applicants must meet the following criteria.
- Have not yet completed (or successfully defended) a PhD. 
- You have not resided or carried out your main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the country of the recruiting institution for more than 12 months in the 36 months immediately before your starting date. Compulsory national service, short stays such as vacations, and time spent as part of a procedure for obtaining refugee status are not taken into account.
- You must be proficient in English (specific requirements may apply depending on the position).
- You can be of any nationality.
- You must fulfil the local requirements of the recruiting institutions listed in the individual project descriptions.