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Research Associate
Oxford Road, Manchester

Job reference: LSX-05359

Location: Oxford Road, Manchester

Closing date (DD/MM/YYYY): 02/11/2014

Salary: £30,434 to 32,277 per annum

Employment type: Fixed Term

Faculty/Organisation: Life Sciences

Division: Molecular Systems

Hours per week: Full time

Contract Duration: until 31 July 2015

School / Directorate: ZZ Do not use School of Life Sciences

The protein structure prediction problem remains arguably the most important unsolved problem in computational biology. It is the question of how to predict the three-dimensional conformation of a polypeptide chain from its amino acid sequence alone. Currently, the state-of-the-art methods for protein structure prediction are based on fragment assembly, and use heuristic optimization techniques to sample the energy landscape associated with this problem.  However, the prediction accuracy of existing techniques decreases for larger proteins, and effective sampling continues to present a major bottleneck.  In this project we will develop novel search methods to improve the exploration of the energy landscapes associated with fragment assembly methods.

More specifically, this project will focus on the adaptation of techniques for constrained global optimization in the context of fragment assembly. The work will build upon recent insight regarding the search performance of the fragment assembly technique Rosetta, including our recent development of a toolkit that supports the analysis of its search trajectories. Essential skills for the post include extensive and up-to-date theoretical and practical knowledge in constrained (nonlinear) global optimization techniques as well as substantial programming experience.

Start date: from 1st November 2014, 9 month contract.  During this time we will seek additional funding to extend the length of the project.

Informal Enquiries

Informal enquiries can be made to Simon Lovell.

Tel: 0161 275 5748


The School of Molecular Systems is committed to promoting equality and diversity, including the Athena SWAN charter for promoting women’s careers in STEMM subjects (science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine) in higher education. The School received a Silver Award in 2009 for their commitment to the representation of women in the workplace and we particularly welcome applications from women for this post. Appointment will always be made on merit. For further information, please visit

Further Particulars


The closing date for this job has now passed.