Postdoctoral research fellowship (2 years) on Chemo-optogenetics

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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
Genetic perturbations by gain or loss of gene function through overexpression, knock-out or knock-down approaches is powerful for biological studies. However, traditional genetic approaches are chronic (hours to days). Consequently, the phenotype may not be detected due to adaptation and the dynamics of phenotypic change cannot be followed.

Chemical genetic approaches using small molecules are acute, reversible, conditional and tunable and have been very useful to dissect the complexity of biological regulatory networks. However, many of these compounds have additional off-target effects that may confound elucidation of biological systems in certain contexts. Canonical optogenetic systems using photoreceptors suffer from inherent limitations in tunability, dynamic range and maneuverability.

Our laboratory has developed the first bioorthogonal and reversible chemically induced dimerization (CID) system (SLF’-TMP system) for controlling protein function by small molecules in live cells. A photoactivatable CID (pCID) system using photo-caged dimerizer, NovcTMP-Cl, has been established in the lab, which enables “Molecular Activity Painting (MAP)” of signaling molecules and their activity at micrometer-scale at the plasma membrane. Using photoactivatable dual-chemically induced dimerization (pdCID) system, we developed a Multi-directional Activity Control (MAC) approach to spatiotemporally control cellular signaling and intracellular cargo transport. This project will further develop novel chemo-optogenetic systems based on acute, tunable and photoswitchable chemically induced dimerization (psCID), which enables the activity to be switched on and off by light with high spatial and temporal resolution in live cells and organisms. The fellowship holder will focus on protein/peptide synthesis, cell imaging and organic synthesis.

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 synthetic chemistry, chemical 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 protein/peptide chemistry, organic synthesis, and/or cell imaging 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 2.1.6-550-18, 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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