2 young researcher/ESR Positions in the Marie Skłodowska Curie ITN “Allostery in Drug Discovery - ALLODD”

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    Biomedical Research Foundation of the Academy of Athens (BRFAA)
    Biological sciences
    First Stage Researcher (R1)
    Recognised Researcher (R2)
    Established Researcher (R3)
    Leading Researcher (R4)
    28/02/2022 23:59 - Europe/Brussels
    France › BERLIN, Germany, STRASBOURG


Do you want to participate in a training programme in and beyond the fields of physical chemistry of biological systems, theoretical and computational chemistry, biological chemistry, biochemistry, targeted drug delivery/discovery and medicinal chemistry?

2 Early Stage Researcher (ESR) positions are available within the EU-funded Marie Skłodowska Curie Innovative Training Network on Allostery in Drug Discovery (ALLODD) under Grant Agreement No. 956314. The ALLODD project is a collaboration between 13 academic and industrial organizations with 14 ESR/PhD students in total. The aim of ALLODD is to train a new generation of scientists to exploit the concept of allostery in drug design, using a whole array of computational and experimental technologies to identify and characterize allosteric modulators of protein function that will be applied to therapeutically relevant systems.



ESR6: Structural elucidation of allosteric mechanisms in G-protein coupled receptors or other membrane proteins by structural biology methods

Host Organisation: Charité – Universitaetsmedizin Berlin (Charité), Germany.

Application: Applicants should apply by email to patrick.scheerer">mailto:patrick.scheerer@charite.de">patrick.scheerer@charite.de, indicating Reference: ALLODD_ESR6.


1) Large-scale expression and purification of specific GPCRs (Rhodopsin, MC4R, un-named specific GPCR targets) or other membrane proteins,

2) Biophysical characterization of allosteric modulator binding to the selected GPCRs targets using Microscale Thermophoresis (MST) or Nano differential scanning fluorimetry (nanoDSF) technologies and Microscale fluorescent thermal stability (CPM) assays or additional cell signaling assays (e.g. nanoBRET),

3) Structural characterization of the selected receptor-ligand complexes (allosteric ions, modulators, peptides) using protein X-ray crystallography or cryo-EM).

Enrolment in Doctoral degree(s): No.

ESR11: Rational design of positive and negative allosteric modulators of pLGICs

Host Organisation: Universite de Strasbourg (Unistra), France.

Application: Applications including a cover letter, a CV, and one or two reference letters should be sent to:

Marco Cecchini, HDR 

Laboratoire d’Ingenierie des Fonctions Moléculaires

UMR7177, 4, rue Blaise Pascal, 67000 Strasbourg


Nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) play a central role in the intercellular communication in the brain and the nervous system and are involved in fundamental processes such as attention, learning, and memory. 1) They are oligomeric protein assemblies that convert a chemical signal into an ion flux through the postsynaptic membrane and their pharmacological modulation is currently developed for the treatment of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, schizophrenia and depression. 2) Very recently, we proposed a straightforward extension of the popular Monod-Wyman-Changeux (MWC) model for the allosteric transitions of synaptic receptors and found that pharmacological attributes such as potency, efficacy and selectivity of the modulatory ligands can be expressed in terms of the ligand-binding affinity for the active, resting and desensitized states of the receptor. 3) In addition, thanks to the recent improvements in the structural determination of synaptic receptors at high resolution, a number of high-resolution structures of nAChRs in different physiological states and in complex with modulatory ligands (i.e. agonists, antagonists and positive and negative allosteric modulators) have been deposited. 4) Both the recent theoretical and structural advances on the allosteric regulation of synaptic receptors open to a novel paradigm for the identification of neuroactive compounds by modeling and simulations, which we referred to as computational neuropharmacology. 5) In this context, the establishment of accurate and efficient numerical methods for the calculation of conformation-based ligand-binding affinities is essential.

Objectives: In light of the above, the goals of the project are: (1) Demonstrate that accurate ligand-binding affinity predictions in nAChRs can be obtained using Molecular Dynamics simulations. (2) Provide a proof of principle that potency, efficacy, and selectivity of known nAChR modulators can be accessed from ligand-binding free energy calculations. (3) Implement strategies for the design of neuroactive compounds with a controlled pharmacological profile in the context of virtual screening.

Responsibilities: The successful candidate will be in charge of implementing protocols for rigorous binding free energy calculations using Gromacs. Given the size, complexity and flexibility of the molecular systems under investigation, enhanced sampling approaches will be considered. The opportunity to rely on relative binding free energy calculations based on single-topology or dual-topology setups will be explored.

Remarks: The position is available from February 2022 at the earliest. The salary is 4380 €/month or 4880 € /month (before taxes), depending if the ESR has family. Only highly motivated candidates and on focus with the project will be considered. Experience with free energy calculations is considered as an asset.

Enrolment in Doctoral degree(s): The ESR will be enrolled in the Ph.D. program of University of Strasbourg (Unistra).


  1.  Master’s degree in physics, physical chemistry, or theoretical/computational chemistry.

  2.  Experience in modeling and simulations of proteins.

  3.  Interest in the theoretical understanding of protein-ligand binding.

  4.  Proficiency in English oral and written.




We provide a structured 3-year cutting-edge Research/PhD training programme in and beyond the fields of physical chemistry of biological systems, theoretical and computational chemistry, biological chemistry, biochemistry, targeted drug delivery/discovery and medicinal chemistry.

The earliest starting date will be 1 November 2021. The latest will be 1 September 2022.

We are looking for highly motivated and talented researchers at the beginning of their career who are interested in the aforementioned scientific fields based on the specific requirements noted below in each position. Excellent command of spoken and written English, communication skills as well as team spirit are essential.

We offer:

  • Excellent research environments with highly competent and motivated researchers

  • Cross sectoral opportunities

  • Good working conditions

  • High standard facilities and offices

  • Access to research and transferable skills training

  • International training and coaching sessions with personalized career development plans, secondments and mentoring.

The successful candidate:

  • will be funded for 36 months with a competitive salary in accordance with the MSCA regulation for Early Stage Researchers, including living allowance, mobility allowance and a family allowance (if married)

  • will perform secondments defined in his/her personalized career development programme.


Eligibility criteria

The following eligibility rules apply for participation in a Marie Skłodowska Curie Innovative Training Network:

1) Research experience: Applicants for the ESR PhD positions should be in the first 4 years (full-time equivalent) of their research career and not yet have been awarded a doctorate. This 4-year period is measured from the date of obtaining the degree which would formally entitle to embark on a doctorate.

2) Mobility requirement: Applicants should not have resided or performed their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the country of the host institution for more than 12 months in the 3-year period immediately prior to the start date of the PhD research.

In addition, local regulations of the host countries may apply.


Advanced Information

Type of job

PhD Studentship



Chemistry, Biophysics, Biochemistry, Biology


Required qualification

More Information

Offer Requirements



Work location(s)
1 position(s) available at
Biomedical Research Foundation of the Academy of Athens (BRFAA)

EURAXESS offer ID: 730892
Posting organisation offer ID: 752124


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