Postdoctoral Position: Nanobody-Enabled Studies on GPCR Transmembrane Signaling Complexes

Brussels VIB-VUB Center for Structural Biology

02 Jun 2017

Brussels

VIB-VUB Center for Structural Biology

Jan Steyaert Lab

Post-doctoral

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About the Steyaert lab

The Brussels based VIB-VUB Center for Structural Biology (CSB) is part of the VIB life sciences institute (VIB) and is embedded within the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB). We study the structure and dynamics of macromolecular complexes in health and disease to explain their mode of action. We integrate our structural biology work with genetic and cellular studies, aiming to bridge molecular and cellular resolution. We excel in translating our discoveries into biotechnological and medical applications.

The Steyaert labpioneered the use of Nanobodies in structural biology. By rigidifying flexible regions and obscuring aggregative surfaces, nanobody complexes warrant conformationally uniform samples that are key to protein structure determination by X-ray crystallography. The elucidation of the first GPCR structure in its active state using a conformationally selective Nanobody demonstrates the power of the Nanobody platform to generate diffracting quality crystals of the most challenging targets including membrane proteins, flexible proteins, aggregating proteins and protein-protein complexes.

Your Job

The Steyaertlab demonstrated that Nanobodies can be selected stabilize the ß2AR-Gs complex. One of these nanobodies that inhibits the GTP driven dissociation of ß2AR-Gs was instrumental for obtaining the high-resolution crystal structure of this complex, providing the first view of  transmembrane signaling by a GPCR (link to Nature paper). Building on these data, we aim at stabilizing other GPCR-transmembrane signaling complexes, making them amenable to innovative drug discovery approaches. This project runs in collaboration with spin-off company Confo Therapeutics.

Profile

Essential:

  • PhD in Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Bio-engineering or equivalent
  • Interested to work at the interface of fundamental research and technology development
  • Open minded, creative and cooperative
  • Proficiently in written and spoken English

Desirable but not required:

  • Experience in Structural biology or antibody engineering
  • Experience with Eukaryotic expression systems (HEK, Sf9)
  • Experienced in drug discovery/biophysical binding assays

We offer

  • A working climate where trust, (international) collaboration, and commitment are essential
  • A two-year contract (extendable) with a competitive salary and benefits
  • Access to state-of-the art tools and infrastructure
  • A stimulating and supportive international research environment
  • Regular interactions with our Industrial partners