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Postdoc Scientist - Computer-Aided Drug Design and Artificial Intelligence


Slough, Berkshire, United Kingdom

Job Function:  Research & Early Development
Job ID:  63950

At UCB everything we do starts with a simple question: “How will this make a difference to the lives of people living with severe diseases?” We do that by connecting with patients and their families around the world living with the physical and social burdens of severe disease of the immune system and the central nervous system. Those connections offer new perspectives, drive innovation, and offer the hope of a new generation of therapies that will help to transform lives.


Role Overview

We are seeking an exceptional candidate to join our Computer-Aided Drug Design (CADD) team within Global Chemistry for an industrial post-doctoral position in small molecule design and simulation. The project will apply cutting-edge, computational structure-based design techniques, combined with artificial intelligence methods, to propose and prioritise novel chemical entities, to address the next generation of therapeutic targets in small molecule drug discovery. The project is in collaboration with Professor Jonathan Essex at Southampton University and builds on our research in drug space, molecular analysis and simulations (ref Rings in Drugs J. Med. Chem., 2014, 57 (14), pp 5845–5859; Combining Molecular Scaffolds from FDA Approved Drugs: Application to Drug Discovery J. Med. Chem., 2017, 60 (5), pp 1638–1647)


The work will map biologically relevant chemical space on an industrial scale, incorporating both the physics of interactions and dynamic behaviour. It will be applied to live drug discovery projects against challenging targets, in the therapeutic areas of inflammation, neurology and bone, to suggest novel chemical matter to impact the lead generation and optimisation phases of drug discovery. This position will be based at our UK research site in Slough and will last for 3 years, but can include time at Southampton University.


The successful candidate will develop and apply novel methodology using artificial intelligence, structure-based design techniques and molecular simulation to design compounds for drug discovery projects. Some case-studies and methodology will be published in high-impact journals.


Primary Responsibilities

  • The candidate will be building on our platform for large scale structure-based computational methods and simulations. They will drive the direction of the project, which will include the introduction of novel technologies and contribute to the overall strategy.
  • The candidate will regularly present on the progress of the project at internal meetings and will be encouraged to attend relevant conferences.
  • The candidate will be embedded in the chemistry department of UCB and will benefit from engagement in normal UCB and departmental activities and trainings.
  • They will contribute to the maintenance of a safe and effective working environment by setting high personal standards and complying with all Company HSE codes of practice.
  • They will have exciting opportunities to create effective working relationships within the global chemistry and UCB matrix working environment via influencing and networking.


Essential Requirements

  • A PhD in molecular modelling or a related field is required with a significant publications track record.
  • Knowledge of structure-based design methodologies and/or ligand-based small molecule design.
  • Advanced programming in Python.
  • Experience in the application of AI methods in modelling complex data.
  • Knowledge of advanced molecular modelling programs for protein-ligand docking and /or molecular dynamics, examples of these packages are AMBER, GROMACS, GOLD and Glide.
  • Ability to communicate effectively in English, both verbally and in writing, and skilled in communicating scientific concepts through data visualization.


Desired Skills & Experience

  • Extensive experience in other programming languages such as C++, C or Java would be highly desireable.
  • Application of advanced statistics.
  • Appreciation of modern medicinal chemistry would be beneficial.


Interested individuals should apply online on UCB website and include the following items:

1. A cover letter outlining research interests and experience as well as career goals

2. Curriculum Vitae

3. Three referee names (or reference letters if possible)

4. Expected availability


We can offer you a competitive salary and benefits package.

Please ensure all applications are submitted by 4th August 2019


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