Research Associate

Job summary

A Postdoctoral Research Associate position is available in the Chemical Glycobiology Laboratory hosted by the Department of Chemistry at Imperial College London and located at the Francis Crick Institute, one of the world’s leading biomedical research institutes (https://www.crick.ac.uk/research/labs/ben-schumann). The Chemical Biology Lab led by Dr Ben Schumann is performing research at the interface between chemistry and state-of-the-art...

Job listing information

  • Reference NAT00601
  • Date posted 13 November 2019
  • Closing date 13 December 2019

Job description

Job summary

A Postdoctoral Research Associate position is available in the Chemical Glycobiology Laboratory hosted by the Department of Chemistry at Imperial College London and located at the Francis Crick Institute, one of the world’s leading biomedical research institutes (https://www.crick.ac.uk/research/labs/ben-schumann).

The Chemical Biology Lab led by Dr Ben Schumann is performing research at the interface between chemistry and state-of-the-art biology. Our integration in a network of world-class biomedical research at the Francis Crick Institute is a unique opportunity to approach problems at the forefront of biology. Our association with Imperial College London enables frequent exchange with pre-eminent chemists and chemical biologists. The post is fully core-funded, including access to outstanding Science Technology Platforms at the Francis Crick Institute with state-of-the-art equipment in all areas of chemical and biological research.

We are aspiring to close the gap between glycan chemistry and modern biology by developing novel “precision tools” to understand the role of glycans in biological processes in unprecedented detail. To this end, we combine techniques of chemical synthesis, biorthogonal ligation, protein engineering, molecular and cell biology including CRISPR-based genome engineering, imaging and structural biology. As an example, we engineer enzymes involved in the formation of glycoconjugates and use them in combination with chemically modified substrates to unravel how specific glycan subsets modulate biological processes. These studies are essential to develop new disease biomarkers and glycan-based therapies.

We are looking for an outstanding candidate to design and generate novel glycosyltransferase-substrate pairs. Expertise in organic chemistry, particularly in the synthesis of unsaturated carbon-based reagents and materials, as well as proficiency in the physicochemical design of optimal interaction partners, are essential. Highly motivated candidates are encouraged to apply. A strong interest in interdisciplinary, glycan-based research is expected and should be reflected in the application.

Duties and responsibilities


  • To lead, conduct and record research at the forefront of modern chemical glycobiology

  • To contribute to other projects, internal and external, on a collaborative basis

  • To draft and submit publications to refereed journals

  • To actively engage in promoting the lab’s research

  • To actively learn new skills and integrate them in the lab’s research

  • To champion a motivating, collaborative work environment

  • To co-supervise PhD, Masters and undergraduate students

Essential requirements


  • A PhD or relevant equivalent in synthetic organic chemistry with a strong physical organic background

  • Extensive experience of rational synthetic experimental design

  • Proficiency in the physical-organic chemistry of unsaturated carbon-based reagents

  • A proven publication track record (where publications are under preparation, please provide a concise research summary of not more than two pages including references). Please indicate own contributions.

  • Strong theoretical background and interest in glycobiology.

  • Eagerness to learn new techniques in a multidisciplinary team.

Further information

Candidates who have not yet been officially awarded their PhD will be appointed as Research Assistant within the salary range £35,477 - £38,566 per annum.

The Department of Chemistry proudly holds an Athena SWAN Gold Award and strives to provide a working environment where all our staff feel fully supported to flourish and excel. The Department of Chemistry is committed to promoting the wide range of Family Friendly policies and associated initiatives offered by the College.

For informal enquiries about this position please contact Dr Ben Schumann at: ben.schumann@crick.ac.uk

For any technical queries during the application process please contact: recruitment@imperial.ac.uk

Imperial College is committed to equality of opportunity, to eliminating discrimination and to creating an inclusive working environment. We are an Athena SWAN Silver award winner, a Stonewall Diversity Champion, a Disability Confident Employer and work in partnership with GIRES to promote respect for trans people.

The College is a proud signatory to the San-Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA), which means that in hiring and promotion decisions, we evaluate applicants on the quality of their work, not the journal impact factor where it is published. For more information, see https://www.imperial.ac.uk/research-and-innovation/about-imperial-research/research-evaluation/

The College believes that the use of animals in research is vital to improve human and animal health and welfare. Animals may only be used in research programmes where their use is shown to be necessary for developing new treatments and making medical advances. Imperial is committed to ensuring that, in cases where this research is deemed essential, all animals in the College’s care are treated with full respect, and that all staff involved with this work show due consideration at every level. http://www.imperial.ac.uk/research-and-innovation/about-imperial-research/research-integrity/animal-research

About Imperial College London

Imperial College London is the UK’s only university focussed entirely on science, engineering, medicine and business and we are consistently rated in the top 10 universities in the world.

You will find our main London campus in South Kensington, with our hospital campuses located nearby in West and North London. We also have Silwood Park in Berkshire and state-of-the-art facilities in development at our major new campus in White City.

We work in a multidisciplinary and diverse community for education, research, translation and commercialisation, harnessing science and innovation to tackle the big global challenges our complex world faces.

It’s our mission to achieve enduring excellence in all that we do for the benefit of society – and we are looking for the most talented people to help us get there.

Additional information

Please note that job descriptions cannot be exhaustive and the post-holder may be required to undertake other duties, which are broadly in line with the above key responsibilities.

All Imperial employees are expected to follow the 7 principles of Imperial Expectations: 

  • Champion a positive approach to change and opportunity
  • Communicate regularly and effectively within, and across, teams
  • Consider the thoughts and expectations of others
  • Deliver positive outcomes
  • Encourage inclusive participation and eliminate discrimination
  • Develop and grow skills and expertise
  • Work in a planned and managed way 

In addition to the above, employees are required to observe and comply with all College policies and regulations.

Imperial College is committed to equality of opportunity, to eliminating discrimination and to creating an inclusive working environment. We are an Athena SWAN Silver award winner, a Stonewall Diversity Champion, a Disability Confident Employer and work in partnership with GIRES to promote respect for trans people.