Postdoctoral research fellowship (2 years) on mechanisms of autophagy

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Umeå University offers exciting research opportunities in an excellent environment. The Department of Chemistry is employing around 200 people. The Department is located within the cross-disciplinary Chemical Biological Centre (video) ( at Umeå University and provides excellent facilities and state-of-art equipment and platforms in a creative, inspiring, international and highly interactive environment. Facilities include Protein Expertise Platform, X-ray, Proteomics, NMR (850-400 MHz), Cryo-EM and Biochemical Imaging Centre (confocal, FLIM, spinning disk). The recent breakthrough researches from UmU include deciphering the molecular mechanisms of the bacterial CRISPR-Cas9 system and repurposing it into a tool for genome editing.

Project description
One of the main interests of the group is a system that has been evaluated at the molecular and cellular level with a range of chemical, molecular and cell biological techniques concerns mechanism of autophagy.

Autophagy is an evolutionarily conserved self-eating process mainly to eliminate or recycle dysfunctional cellular organelles or unused proteins. Autophagy plays an important role in physiology including development and ageing and has been associated with diverse human diseases, including cancer, neurodegeneration, cardiac hypertrophy, and pathogen infection. Autophagy modulation is implicated in the treatment of diseases such as neurodegeneration and cancer. Despite extensive work, the models of autophagosome formation and autophagy regulation are not yet well established.

Using a combination of cell biology, structural biology and chemical genetic approaches, we have elucidated fundamental mechanisms underlying autophagosome formation. Our laboratory has elaborated a novel mode of action for virulent bacteria (Legionella) against host autophagy using semisynthetic LC3 proteins. We have identified novel chemotypes for autophagy modulation and new cellular targets involved in new mechanism of autophagy regulation. This project will combine cell biological, biochemical, and novel chemical and chemo-optogenetic approaches to understand the mechanism of autophagic membrane morphogenesis. The fellowship holder will focus on cell imaging, western blotting, knock-out/down, analysis of cellular phenotypes, protein expression and purification, biochemical and structural characterization.

The project is funded by European Research Council (ERC) and Wallenberg Foundation. The project is interdisciplinary with strong collaborations across scientific disciplines. The fellowship is for 2-years tax-exempt with start as soon as possible. The stipend is 270000 SEK per year.

The required qualification is a doctoral degree or a foreign degree that is deemed equivalent, in cell biology, biochemistry, structural biology, or in another relevant field. Priority should be given to candidates who have completed their doctoral degree no more than three years before the closing date of the application, unless special circumstances exist.

Experiences in cell imaging, western blotting, siRNA, CRISPR-Cas, protein expression and purification, and/or X-ray crystallography are strong merits. Good research publications within these areas are strong merits. The successful candidate is expected to design and execute projects independently but also in close collaboration with other members of the team, independence and good ability to collaborate is therefore a requirement. Good command of written and spoken English is also a requirement.

Candidates should submit:

  • cover letter including research interests, qualifications and motivation for applying (max 2 pages),
  • CV including list of publications,
  • copies of degree certificates or equivalent,
  • names and contact details of at least two reference persons.

The application shall be written in English or Swedish. Your complete application, marked with reference number FS 2.1.6-549-18, should be sent electronically (in PDF format) to (with reference number on the subject line) no later than May 18, 2018. One copy of the application should also be sent to

For further information, please contact Professor Yaowen Wu, E-mail:

We look forward to receiving your application!

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