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UNIVERSITY OF OTAGO
Te Whare Wananga o Otago
INFORMATION FOR CANDIDATES
for appointment as
Assistant Research Fellow
Assistant Research Fellow
Sir John Walsh Research Institute (SJWRI), School of Dentistry
Fungal infections can reduce agricultural productivity and threaten global food supply. The
fungistatic triazoles are among the most widely-used agrochemicals. Their lack of fungicidal activity
can lead to genetically-determined drug resistance involving the triazole target lanosterol 14
demethylase (Erg11p). We recently crystallized and structurally resolved Erg11p from the model
and have been funded to undertake a 2 year research project that will
use structural information to drive the discovery of novel inhibitors of the Erg11ps of fungal
pathogens of plants.
Specific objectives of the project will be to:
1. Aid drug discovery by probing the enzymatic mechanism of
Erg11p and the
homologous enzyme of plant fungal pathogens.
2. Improve pharmacophore design by resolving crystal structures of Erg11p from key plant
3. Develop whole cell and
screens to identify novel broad-spectrum inhibitors specific
for fungal Erg11ps.
4. Identify broad-spectrum non-triazole fungicides using structure-directed drug design.
To provide quality research and technical expertise to the research team investigating lanosterol 14
demethylase structure and function and identifying novel antifungals. To assist the project principal
investigator Dr Brian Monk achieve the objectives of the project.
To undertake research according to the stated goals of the project, and to maintain a clearly
written, well documented, and indexed laboratory notebook.
To attend laboratory meetings and present experimental results in these meetings, where
To prepare results for analysis and publication in journals or at conferences.
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To regularly report to Dr Monk, at a frequency to be negotiated, on the progress of the assigned
To ensure the laboratory facilities, research space and equipment required for the project are
To assist staff in the Molecular Biosciences Laboratory with the training of undergraduate
students, as necessary.
To undertake experiments in order to clone genes of interest, to purify membrane proteins for
structural and functional analysis and to use yeast strains to screen compound libraries for drug
To contribute to the general running of the Molecular Biosciences Laboratory and perform other
tasks as requested.
To keep appropriate records.
Overall responsibility to:
Head of The Sir John Walsh Research Institute, Professor
Directly responsible to:
Principal Investigator Dr Brian Monk, and project co-
Functional relationships with:
Staff of the Department of Oral Sciences, the SJWRI, the
School of Dentistry and other researchers and students in the
Molecular Biossciences Laboratory.
The appointee should have:
BSc Honours or a masters degree in biochemistry, molecular biology or microbiology or practical
laboratory experience in these disciplines.
High motivation towards undertaking quality research.
Good record keeping skills.
Good oral and written communication skills.
The ability to work as a member of a team.
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