Human Resources

Postdoctoral Research Assistant in Oligonucleotide Synthesis - QMUL25985

Department: School of Engineering & Materials Science
Salary: £34,733 - £45,479 per annum (Grade 4)
Reference: QMUL25985
Location: Mile End
Date posted: 01-Sep-2021
Closing date: 30-Sep-2021

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About the Role

Applications are invited for a Postdoctoral Research Assistant to join a lively multidisciplinary research group under Prof. Andrew Livingston to investigate the membrane-assisted synthesis of oligonucleotides using the Nanostar Sieving, a new liquid-phase synthesis technique developed in the Livingston Group.

About You

The successful candidate will seek to develop the chemistry for iterative chain extension of oligonucleotides, using both P (III) and P (V) chemistry, purifying the growing oligos by organic solvent nano-filtration. This involves growing the oligonucleotides on a soluble hub molecule, to which 2 or more growing oligos are attached. In the first instance the new PDRA will synthesise hub molecules, monomers and oligonucleotides, with reactions and separations on 1-10 g scale. They will also be expected to participate in peptide, oligosaccharide and synthetic polymer programmes.  It is essential for the candidate to hold a PhD (or equivalent) in organic chemistry, or equivalent research, industrial or commercial experience.

The successful candidate will have a background in organic synthesis, preferably polymer synthesis, ideally oligonucleotide or peptide synthesis, and possess a thorough knowledge of protecting group strategies and functional group interconversions. Experience of bio-conjugation chemistry would also be useful. They will have a fluent understanding of chemical analytical techniques.

About the School

This post is within the School of Engineering and Materials Science, a large School with 70-80 academics and a similar number of postdoctoral research staff. There are around 1000 undergraduate and taught postgraduate students and 220 PhD students.  These are supported by an administrative and technical staff team of 45. The staff and student body are international in make-up.

About Queen Mary

At Queen Mary University of London, we believe that a diversity of ideas helps us achieve the previously unthinkable.

Throughout our history, we’ve fostered social justice and improved lives through academic excellence. And we continue to live and breathe this spirit today, not because it’s simply ‘the right thing to do’ but for what it helps us achieve and the intellectual brilliance it delivers.


We offer competitive salaries, access to a generous pension scheme, 30 days’ leave per annum (pro-rata for part-time/fixed-term), a season ticket loan scheme, staff networks and access to a comprehensive range of personal and professional development opportunities. In addition, we offer a range of work life balance and family friendly, inclusive employment policies, flexible working arrangements, and campus facilities including an on-site nursery at the Mile End campus.

The post is based at the Mile End Campus in London. It is full time, fixed term appointment for 1 year with the potential to be extended, with an expected start date of November 2021. The starting salary will be Grade 4/5, in the range of £34,733 - £45,479 per annum (pro-rata), inclusive of London Allowance.

Queen Mary’s commitment to our diverse and inclusive community is embedded in our appointments processes. Reasonable adjustments will be made at each stage of the recruitment process for any candidate with a disability. We are open to considering applications from candidates wishing to work flexibly.


Informal enquiries should be addressed to Professor Andrew Livingston at

To apply for the role, please click the ‘apply’ button below.

The closing date for applications is 30 September 2021.

Interviews are expected to be held shortly thereafter.


Valuing Diversity & Committed to Equality

Apply online