University of Cambridge

Department of Biochemistry

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A postdoctoral position is available for 24 months from 15 January 2020 to work at Cambridge University in the Biochemistry Department (with Florian Hollfelder – The project is a close collaboration with the groups of Christine Orengo/UCL ( and Rob Finn/EBI (

The project will take advantage of the vast amount of metagenomic sequencing data available to identify enzymes with new functions, by classifying proteins into evolutionary and functional families. These predictions are then experimentally tested and mechanistically investigated. Alternatively, metagenomic libraries will be screened at ultrahigh-throughput in microfluidic droplets for desired functions and the classification framework will be refined based on the hits obtained from such functional screening. Finally directed evolution will be performed to improve activities of interest.

Applicants should thus have a first (or upper second) class degree in (bio)chemistry or a related, relevant subject, followed by a PhD. Familiarity with molecular and chemical biology techniques and specific skills in assay development, enzyme kinetics, DNA library generation, organic synthesis, high-throughput screening, mechanistic enzymology and microfluidics are advantages. An interest in interdisciplinary collaboration on structural biology and bioinformatics is crucial.

Fixed-term: The funds for this post are available for 24 months in the first instance.

Click the ‘Apply’ button below to register an account with our recruitment system (if you have not already) and apply online.

Applications should contain a description of research interests (e.g. as part of the cover letter), a detailed CV (with exam marks and all relevant practical experience) and a list of publications. Please also include the names and email addresses of at least two referees who are familiar with your research work.

Please quote reference PH19945 on your application and in any correspondence about this vacancy.

The University actively supports equality, diversity and inclusion and encourages applications from all sections of society.

The University has a responsibility to ensure that all employees are eligible to live and work in the UK.

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About Department of Biochemistry, University of Cambridge

The Department of Biochemistry is a member of the School of the Biological Sciences and one of the largest departments in the University of Cambridge. The Department is especially strong in research with investigators of international standing in a wide range of disciplines including structural biology, molecular enzymology, cell signalling and control of gene expression, molecular microbiology, plant molecular biology and bioenergy, cancer and cardiovascular biology. We also have a strong cohort of independent research fellows with funding from the Wellcome Trust, British Heart Foundation, BBSRC and MRC. The Department houses multiple core facilities funded by Wellcome Trust, BBSRC and MRC to support modern biomolecular research, including 800MHz NMR, state-of-the-art X-ray crystallography, protein chemistry, mass spectrometry, metabolomics and advanced services for protein and nucleic acid sequencing. In collaboration with the Department of Genetics we have also established the Cambridge Systems Biology Centre, which hosts genomics, proteomics and associated bioinformatics. We also participate in the Wellcome Trust-MRC Cambridge Stem Cell Institute , the Cambridge Cancer Centre and other major research initiatives.