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Reference : UMR7021-PATRAS-001
Workplace : ILLKIRCH GRAFFENSTADEN
Date of publication : Tuesday, October 15, 2019
Type of Contract : FTC Scientist
Contract Period : 24 months
Expected date of employment : 1 January 2020
Proportion of work : Full time
Remuneration : From 2643 to 3047 € monthly gross salary depending on the experience
Desired level of education : PhD
Experience required : 1 to 4 years
From January 2020 and for 24 months, the recruited Post-Doctorate Researcher Assistant (PDRA) will join the team of Dr Patrice Rassam at the Faculty of Pharmacy that belongs to University of Strasbourg.
Her/His rigorous work and the willingness of this PDRA to build innovative projects will help developing new antibiotic strategies against Gram-negative bacteria, especially Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
These microorganisms represent a severe issue in hospitals, where multiresistant strains are a threat for weak patients like those with cystic fibrosis, a rare disease affecting mostly children. Indeed, current treatments become less and less efficient for these patients, generating significant side effects. Thus, it is now necessary to find alternative molecules to bypass resistance mechanisms developed by bacteria, in order to specifically eradicate these deadly strains.
The chosen candidate will deal with rational modification of existing antibiotics and chemical combination of these molecules with bacteriocins. Coupling synthetic compounds and protein vectors represents a Trojan Horse strategy that has already proven its efficiency in the import of fluorophores within these bacteria. Generating and testing a library of drug-protein chimera on a large panel of clinical strains, the PDRA will optimise the chemical design of these potential medicines.
The main task of the recruited PDRA will first consist in designing and synthetizing antibiotics analogues based on published work and commercial molecules, using liquid or solid phase chemistry. Once these molecules are produced, purified and characterised, the PDRA will couple them chemically to vector proteins that are available in the lab. Finally, the PDRA will test the efficiency of these molecules on several bacterial strains, growing in liquid cultures or on solid media.
Depending on her/his skills and her/his ability to learn new techniques, the hired PDRA will enjoy the opportunity to perform molecular biology in order to optimise the vector sequence of the bacteriocins, or biochemistry experiments in order to purify these proteins, or cell culture in order to address the toxicity of these molecules. The PDRA could also participate to the development of the microfluidic/microscopy setup in order to visualise in real time how bacterial biofilms behave when treated with antibiotics.
The PDRA should have a recognized experience in chemical synthesis or modification of biomolecules, ideally concerning analogues of amino acids and/or small antibiotics.
It is also required that the PDRA can easily handle coupling experiments between proteins and synthetic compounds, preferentially using click chemistry, NHS ester, or maleimide succinimidyl ester.
In addition, the recruited PDRA has to be open to develop her/his skills in microbiology, protein purification and cell culture. The multidisciplinary aspects of the project suggest that candidates with experience or at least interest in molecular cloning and fluorescence microscopy are more likely to get the position and to enjoy the job.
Finally, the PDRA might show integrity, willingness, organisation, self-sufficiency, and be able to write scientific reports or publications.
Dr Patrice Rassam is laureate of the ATIP-Avenir 2019 funding. The location of his team within the Faculty of Pharmacy and the University of Strasbourg (labelled University of Excellence), his position in the Laboratory of Bioimaging and Pathologies (CNRS-UMR 7021), the international collaborations he has built and his expertise in the field represent key factors to develop innovative antibiotic strategies in his group.
Working spaces and lab materials that are available will ease the mission of the PDRA in her/his projects. Indeed, the PDRA will get access to a chemistry lab, a cell culture room, a biochemistry room, a microscopy platform, her/his own bench for molecular biology works, and all other facilities to enjoy her/his everyday life in the lab (desk, computer, cafeteria, relaxation areas…).
The chosen PDRA will have the opportunity to work together with a master student for the first 6 months and eventually with a PhD student, in order to boost the current and future projects. Help will also be provided to her/him through the expertise and the support from staff members of the Laboratory of Bioimaging and Pathologies, especially concerning biochemistry and molecular biology issues.
Constraints and risks
Based on the innovative aspects of the project, it is compulsory that the recruited PDRA follows strict confidentiality rules, during and after her/his work in the lab.
The high potential of the project requires from the PDRA continuous motivation and ability to overcome experimental or technical issues, finding alternative options from her/his own and/or with the help of her/his colleagues.
Sometimes, the PDRA will probably work staggered hours, starting bacterial cultures early in the morning, or during the weekend, or acquiring data on the microscope in the evening. Thus, flexibility is needed in order to gain productivity on these tasks.
Before using lasers and clinical strains, the PDRA will be asked to perform specific trainings, managed by the team. Then, the PDRA must be extremely cautious and show a high level of responsibility on health and safety procedures.
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