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Research Assistant (Structural Biology And Biophysics)

The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research - Melbourne, VIC

Health, Medical & Pharmaceutical
Source: uWorkin


An excellent opportunity exists for an experienced Research Assistant to join a new drug discovery team within the WEHI Inflammation and ACRF Chemical Biology Divisions.

About the position

The role will form part of a new multidisciplinary team of five scientists working in an exciting new drug discovery collaboration between the WEHI and a global pharmaceutical company. The team will be based in the Silke lab (Inflammation Division) and Lucet lab (ACRF Chemical Biology Division) at WEHI in Parkville. Our mission is to discover and develop novel small molecule protein degraders, with the ultimate goal of developing new therapeutics to treat cancer and other human diseases with significant unmet need.

The successful applicant will assist in: production of high-quality recombinant proteins across collaboration projects; preparation and crystallisation of protein complexes structural studies; development and implementation of innovative biophysical assays to assess small molecule/protein interactions or protein enzymatic activity; structural studies of protein/ligand complexes (primarily using X-ray Crystallography, amongst other structural methods). The applicant may also periodically assist with maintenance of mammalian cells in culture or running in vitro cell-based assays (under guidance).

The ideal candidate will have experience in multiple aspects of protein biochemistry including cloning, recombinant protein expression and purification. Some experience in assay development or interaction studies using biophysical methods (e.g. SPR, ITC, BLI, TR-FRET, FP assays) and/or mammalian cell culture in PC2 (Physical Containment category 2) facilities would be preferred, but are not essential. Knowledge of drug discovery or mass spectrometry‑based proteomics would be advantageous but is not essential.

Key responsibilities
Cloning and purification of high-quality recombinant proteins and preparation of protein complexes, in order to enable evaluation of binding of compounds to target proteins or E3 ligase components.
Work closely with the Team Leader (Dr Michael Roy) to assist in the development, execution and optimisation assays to evaluate binding of bifunctional degrader molecules to target proteins or E3 ligase components (using a variety of biochemical/biophysical approaches), as well as to undertake structural studies (primarily using X-ray Crystallography) in order to drive understanding of in vitro structure-activity relationships and guide compound optimisation.
As required, assist in the culturing of mammalian cell lines or in running in vitro cell‑based assays, alongside the Research Officer position (Cellular Chemical Biology and Proteomics).
Monitor and maintain accurate records of stocks and reagents, including constructs, protein stocks and lab consumables, in accordance with relevant protocols.
Liaise closely with other project team members to foster team science across the collaboration and enable breakthroughs.
Diligently record research findings using Electronic Lab Notebooks in a timely, clear and comprehensive manner
Regularly present findings to the collaboration team

The position will report to the WEHI Team Leader Dr Michael Roy (ACRF Chemical Biology Division) and Prof John Silke (Inflammation Division) and work closely with the rest of the project team, as well as industry collaborators.

Selection Criteria


A relevant Bachelor’s Degree (with Honours / Masters) qualification or equivalent
Demonstrated high level skills in molecular biology and biochemistry - including construct design, cloning, recombinant protein expression, purification (using AKTA systems) and characterisation (including SDS-PAGE, Western Blot). In addition to bacterial expression, experience in insect cell expression would be an advantage.
Demonstrated ability and potential for excellence and productivity in research.
Outstanding organisational skills and a high attention to detail.
Excellent interpersonal, communication and presentation skills.
Ability to execute experiments accurately and with high competence and to analyse, summarise and effectively communicate research data.
Demonstrated ability to and to problem-solve within a team environment.


Knowledge or prior experience in undertaking assays to study protein/ligand interactions or protein enzymatic activity.
Experience in mammalian cell culture in PC2 (Physical Containment category 2) facilities would be advantageous.

Advantageous (but not essential) - any of the following:
Knowledge of drug-discovery
Knowledge of protein structure determination (in particular using X-ray crystallography)
Experience in mass spectrometry-based proteomics
Terms of appointment

This position is available for 1 year in a full-time capacity in the first instance, with the possibility to extend up to 3 years. Salary is HEW 5 ($70,971 - $81,520) or HEW 6 ($82,321- $89,108), depending on experience. Up to 17% superannuation and very attractive salary packaging options are available.

General enquiries can be directed to Dr Michael Roy (roy@wehi.edu.au) or Prof John Silke (silke@wehi.edu.au)

A position description is available

How to apply

Please email your application including cover letter, CV and a letter addressing the key selection criteria in pdf format to jobapplications@wehi.edu.au, quoting reference WEHI/ANMRJS290121 in the subject line.

Application closing date: 26 February 2021

Note: Applications may begin to be considered as they are received

At the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute we strive to ensure our staff and students enjoy a great working environment. We value diversity and gender equity in our work force and promote flexible working arrangements for staff to balance working requirements and personal needs. We have implemented a number of gender equity initiatives to support female laboratory heads.

Melbourne, VIC

Health, Medical & Pharmaceutical


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