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  • Ph.D. Student Position - biochemistry and structural biology

Ph.D. Student Position - biochemistry and structural biology

Laboratory of Bioinformatics and Protein Engineering



Laboratory of Bioinformatics and Protein Engineering at the International Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology (IIMCB), Warsaw, headed by Prof. Janusz M. Bujnicki, offers a position for a Ph.D. student motivated to develop a career in an interdisciplinary and international team.

Deadline for applications is March 15th, 2019. Preferred job starting date is April 15th, 2019.

Project description: Ribonucleic acid (RNA) molecules play pivotal roles in living organisms. Their functions are often modulated by interactions with other molecules. Examples of RNA molecules regulated by small chemical molecules include riboswitches in bacteria and regulatory elements in viruses. The goal of this project is to study the mechanism of action of such RNAs, solve their 3D structures, and understand how the interactions with small molecule ligands influence their function. Ultimately, we will identify small chemical molecules that can block the function of regulatory RNAs and can serve as a starting point for the development of antibacterial and antiviral drugs. As a Ph.D. student, you will be involved in RNA expression and purification, structural analyses (including biochemical probing, X-ray crystallography and structure analyses in solution), and analyzing RNA-ligand interactions with various biochemical and biophysical techniques. This project involves extensive collaboration with theoreticians, in particular with molecular modelers and experts in bioinformatics and cheminformatics.

The funding for the initial stage of the Ph.D. project is provided by a grant entitled “Modeling of dynamic interactions between RNA and small molecules and its practical applications“ carried out within the TEAM program of the Foundation for Polish Science, co-financed from the European Union under the European Regional Development Fund. The research project is expected to be continued and funded by the host laboratory for four years (the full cycle of Ph.D. studies).

The institution: International Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology in Warsaw www.iimcb.gov.pl is one of the top-ranked (A+) Polish research institutes, which provides a stimulating and interdisciplinary research environment. Research topics at IIMCB cover the wide area of molecular, cellular, and structural biology. The Institute is equipped with state-of-the-art technology, has excellent core facilities and supportive administration. IIMCB benefits from numerous generous funding schemes for basic research through grants from international and national sources. The institute is located in a large biomedical campus that offers access to equipment and various possibilities of training and collaboration. The working language of the institute is English.

The team and Ph.D. studies: The host research team http://genesilico.pl is highly interdisciplinary and highly international. We combine theoretical and experimental approaches for studying the structures and mechanisms of action of biological macromolecules, in particular RNA. Our Ph.D. students are enrolled in Ph.D. schools on the campus, in particular at the collaborating institutes of the Polish Academy of Sciences. Ph.D. students have an opportunity to participate in a hands-on training program, covering in particular molecular biology, biochemistry, and biophysics of proteins and nucleic acids, experimental structural biology, and bioinformatics. Ph.D. studies involve full-time research project covering the areas mentioned above, combined with training in soft skills (e.g., presenting scientific results, writing publications and grant applications, managing projects). 

We offer:
• Full-time Ph.D. scholarship funded from the TEAM grant until 30/09/2020, with a possible extension up to 4 years (full Ph.D. project).
• 3500 PLN of full stipend cost per month
• Position with 100% focus on research (no teaching obligations)
• Scientific mentoring, including the supervision of an individual Thesis Advisory Committee
• Participation in courses, scientific training, support from peers
• Benefits including reduced-rate for an individual medical care package and membership in the MultiSport program
• Technical, administrative, and organizational support from professional English-speaking personnel

• M.Sc. in molecular biology, biochemistry, biophysics, or related discipline
• Eligibility for Ph.D. studies in Poland under the supervision of prof. Bujnicki
• Documented experience in biochemistry of nucleic acids and/or proteins
• Proactive approach to achieving objectives, good interpersonal skills, collaborative attitude.
• Very good written and oral communication in English

Candidates with a background in areas such as biochemistry, biophysics, biological chemistry, structural biology, etc. are particularly encouraged to apply. Priority will be given to candidates with expertise most relevant to the project and to the profile of the laboratory, who are familiar with our work and who can convincingly explain why their expertise is a good fit for our requirements.

The Ph.D. student will be selected from candidates in an open competition, according to the procedure complying with the rules of the European Charter for Researchers and the Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers as a part of HR Excellence in Research strategy https://www.iimcb.gov.pl/en/institute/hr-excellence

How to apply:
Apply now (before the deadline of March 15th, 2019) to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
• In the subject include "PhDstudent_RNAbiochemistry" and your first and last name.
• Your application must be submitted in English and should contain: 1) a CV, 2) a cover letter including a short description of your key achievements and explicit responses to the following questions: What are your scientific interests and how do they relate to requirements of the position offered? What are your key strengths? What do you know about our laboratory and why do you want to work with us?, 3) contacts to at least two potential referees, including your M.Sc. supervisor. At this stage, please do not attach copies of diplomas etc.
• Please include the following statement in your application: “I hereby agree to the processing of my personal data, included in the application documents by the International Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology in Warsaw, 4 Księcia Trojdena Street, 02-109 Warsaw, for the purpose of carrying out the current recruitment process.” Your personal data will be processed for the purpose of the recruitment procedure by the International Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology in Warsaw.
Full information is available under the link https://www.iimcb.gov.pl/pl/information-clause
• The competition may be extended or repeated until a suitable candidate who fulfills all requirements is found.