Postdoctoral Fellowship in Enzyme Assay Development

06 Oct 2020
06 Oct 2020

A postdoctoral fellowship is being offered in ORGANIC CHEMISTRY/ENZYMOLOGY in the Department of Chemistry at University of Cape Town (UCT). The fellow will be working closely with scientists from the Scientific Computing Lab (GlycoBiomedical Science) and the Division of Cell Biology (Cancer Biology) leading assay validation and development in the Glycoenzyme Assay Lab. The fellowship will be under the supervision of Associate Prof Anwar Jardine.

The project will focus on bioluminescence and fluorescence assay technology of modified versions of the Firefly Photinus pyralis luciferase natural substrate, D-luciferin. Modified D-luciferin is transformed by Photinus pyralis luciferase, emitted light is red-shifted in wavelength which is known to increase the depth of tissue visualisation. This enables biomedical research scientists to non-invasively watch tumours shrink upon treatment in mouse xenograft models. Patent pending: Publication Number WO/2019/021202. The ultimate purpose of the project is to constitute and beta-test enzyme assay kits to validate their market need.
Period: 6 months, full time, renewable to one-year contingent on satisfactory progress.

Value of the Fellowship:

R230 000 / yr


  • Applicants must be South African citizens or Permanent residents or have a valid South African study permit.
  • The successful applicant must have achieved a PhD degree in Organic Chemistry/Biochemistry/Chemical Biology or a related field within the past 5 years - and have not yet held any permanent professional posts.
  • The candidate should have experience in the following, with a proven track record: i) Organic synthetic skills; and ii) Enzymology with a focus on multi-well plate assay development.
  • Experience in the following will be an advantage: i) Experience using a variety of enzyme-assay kits ii) whole cell fluorescence and bioluminescence imaging.
  • The candidate should be independent and self-motivated as he/she will be expected to play a leading role within the project. He/She will be required to drive and conclude the work independently, to take initiative and discuss/develop assay kit proto-type ideas including writing well-formulated technical reports and articles.
  • The successful applicant must be prepared to comply with the University's approved policies, procedures and practices for the postdoctoral sector.

Application Process:

A letter of application (stating areas of expertise, research interests and experience), a CV (no more than two pages), a list of publications, copies of academic transcripts as well as names/contact details of two academics who have taught, supervised or worked alongside the applicant should be provided as a single pdf file. The application, addressed to Associate Professor Anwar Jardine, Department of Chemistry, should be sent to Joanne Polzin by 30 October 2020. Eligible and complete applications will be considered by a sub-committee.  Short-listed candidates will be invited to present a seminar (online) to the research panel on prior research experience and outlining their short-term career development plan which will be followed by an interview. The successful applicant should ideally be available to commence with the Fellowship as soon as possible depending on UCT lockdown status for postgraduate research activity. In exceptional cases, the start date can be negotiated.


Closing Date for Applications:

30 October 2020.

The University of Cape Town reserves the right to disqualify ineligible, incomplete and/or inappropriate applications and the right to change the conditions of award or to make no awards at all.

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