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Research Specialist- Shoichet Laboratory

Recruitment Period

Open date: June 11th, 2018
Last review date: Tuesday, Jun 26, 2018 at 11:59pm (Pacific Time)
Applications received after this date will be reviewed by the search committee if the position has not yet been filled.
Final date: Wednesday, Dec 11, 2019 at 11:59pm (Pacific Time)
Applications will continue to be accepted until this date, but those received after the review date will only be considered if the position has not yet been filled.


Research Specialist
Shoichet Laboratory
University of California, San Francisco
Search JPF01999

The Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry seeks candidates for a Specialist position in the Shoichet laboratory. This position will be hired at the Junior, Assistant Associate, or Full Specialist level dependent upon the applicant’s experience. The Shoichet lab seeks to bring chemical reagents to biology, combining computation and experiment. In a protein-centric approach, molecular docking, the lab discovers new ligands that complement protein structures. Using a ligand-centric approach, the lab also discovers new targets for known drugs and reagents. A focus for both is the discovery of reagents to modulate G-Protein Coupled Receptors (GPCRs).

This is a research position involving novel ligand discovery for orphan and therapeutic GPCRs, using computational docking and structure-based design. Against crystal structures and homology models of target receptors, a library of over 250 million make-on-demand molecules will be docked for physical fit. High ranking molecules will be sourced and tested experimentally. Active molecules emerging from the screen will be optimized for improved receptor fit, and the resulting molecules synthesized and again, tested for activity. It is anticipated that the researcher would also be involved in new methods development for molecular docking, improving our ability to find the active molecules from the hundreds-of-millions of inactives in the library.

Applicant is expected to be able to work independently and possess the ability to troubleshoot experiments when they don’t work. In addition, the applicant must possess the ability to analyze their data and clearly communicate their research techniques and results in written and oral formats suitable for publication. Specific activities associated with the position include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Prosecution of large library molecular docking screens
  • Comparative modeling of protein-ligand complexes
  • Modeling based on crystallographic electron density
  • Detailed modeling of ligand-protein interactions
  • Structure-based design of novel ligands
  • Development of new computational methods for scoring and sampling in docking
  • Programming in fortran and related scripting languages.

Required Qualifications

  • Specialist appointed at the Junior rank must possess a bachelor’s degree (or equivalent) or at least four years of research experience.
  • Specialists appointed at the Assistant or Associate rank must have a minimum of a master’s degree (or equivalent) in life sciences field or at least five years of research experience
  • Specialists appointed at the Full rank must possess a terminal degree (or equivalent degree) in life sciences field or at least ten years of research experience
  • Detailed experience with ligand discovery
  • Knowledge of theory and experience with practice of large library docking screens
  • Excellent organizational skills
  • Excellent written and verbal presentation skills
  • Applicants must possess the required qualifications by the time of the appointment.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Programming skills in fortran
  • Experience with methods development for molecular docking
  • Experience with structure-based inhibitor design
  • PhD (or equivalent degree) in Medicinal Chemistry, Chemical Biology (or related field)
  • Postdoctoral experience in Medicinal Chemistry, Chemical Biology (or related field)

Salary and rank will be commensurate with the applicant’s experience and training.

UCSF seeks candidates whose experience, teaching, research, or community service has prepared them to contribute to our commitment of diversity and excellence.

The University of California is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, age or protected veteran status.

Applicants must submit a cover letter and a curriculum vitae. Please apply online and submit these documents along with the contact information for two references to:

Job location

San Francisco, CA


Document requirements
  • Curriculum Vitae - Your most recently updated C.V.

  • Cover Letter

  • Statement of Research (Optional)

  • Statement of Teaching (Optional)

  • Statement of Contributions to Diversity (Optional)

  • Misc / Additional (Optional)

Reference requirements
  • 2 required (contact information only)