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Postdoctoral Position - Determining protein structures and understanding genotype-phenotype relationships using deep mutagenesis

Postdoctoral Position - Determining protein structures and understanding genotype-phenotype relationships using deep mutagenesis

The Institute

The Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG) is an international biomedical research institute of excellence, based in Barcelona, Spain, with more than 400 scientists from 44 countries. The CRG shares principles of an interdisciplinary, motivated and creative scientific team that is supported by high-end and innovative technologies and a flexible and efficient administration.

In November 2013, the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG) received the 'HR Excellence in Research' logo from the European Commission. This is a recognition of the Institute's commitment to developing an HR Strategy for Researchers, designed to bring the practices and procedures in line with the principles of the European Charter for Researchers and the Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers (Charter and Code).

Please, check out our Recruitment Policy

The role

Postdoctoral position in the Genetics Systems lab at CRG to develop and apply general experimental methods to use deep mutational scanning to determine the in vivo structures of macromolecules and to understand how mutations combine to cause phenotypes and disease. 

About the team/ lab/ department

The Genetic Systems labs works on fundamental questions in genetics and epigenetics using different systems and approaches, including model organisms and human genetic data, choosing the system and approach for the question at hand. Recent questions we have addressed include understanding mutational processes in cancer genomes, noise, inter- and trans-generational epigenetics, genetic interactions and genetic prediction. This creates an interdisciplinary and collaborative environment with many members of the lab using both experimental and computational approaches. All lab members lead their own projects. 

The Genetic Systems lab is part of the CRG Systems Biology Programme, which is a unique centre of excellence in Europe for quantitative biology.  The CRG and the other institutes of the PRBB including EMBL Barcelona provide an ideal ecosystem for this programme, being very strong in genomics, mechanistic and quantitative biology.

Work in the lab is funded by the European Research Council (ERC), Bettencourt Schueller Foundation, the Catalan and Spanish governments, and substantial core funding from the CRG. 12 recent alumni from the lab are now principal investigators in some of the very best institutes (Cambridge, Oxford, MRC/Imperial, Leuven, FMI Basel, IMBA Vienna, ENS Lyon, IIT India, CNIO Madrid, and IRB, IBEC and IJC Barcelona).

We recently initiated a new research direction that uses systematic (‘deep’) mutagenesis to quantify, understand, and predict how diverse mutations interact non-additively within and between molecules to affect phenotypes at multiple scales. We have applied this approach to individual exons (Cell 2019) and genes (Nature 2018), protein interactions (Elife 2018), regulatory interactions (Biorxiv 2019), gene networks (Biorxiv 2019) and prion-like domains (Biorxiv 2019). 

Very excitingly, we have also demonstrated that quantifying the specific genetic interactions between mutations in deep mutagenesis experiments provides sufficient information to determine the 3D structures of proteins (Nature Genetics 2019).  Our next objective is to develop simple general methods that can be used by many labs to determine in vivo protein and RNA structures.  We also want to apply these methods to systematically determine new structures and to solve fundamental problems.  These include, but are not limited to, the in vivo conformations of prions and other ‘unstructured’ proteins involved in phase separation and aggregation, and how mutations in proteins involved in neurodegeneration cause toxicity.

Whom would we like to hire?

Professional experience

Must Have

  • You have an excellent publication record
  • You are interested in bioinformatics and statistics

Desirable but not required

  • You have experience with deep mutational scanning, directed/experimental evolution, protein engineering, synthetic biology or genomics would be an advantage
  • You have combined ‘wet’ and ‘dry’ experience is an advantage but is not essential because the lab is mixed experimental and computational. 

Education and training

  • You hold a PhD in molecular biology or related discipline


  • You are fluent in English


  • The ideal candidate will be passionate about understanding biology, highly motivated, organized and hard-working with a ‘can do’ attitude.
  • You have excellent communication skills
  • You are a creative thinking individual

The Offer

  • Contract duration: 1 year with possibility of extension
  • Estimated annual gross salary: Salary is commensurate with qualifications and consistent with our pay scales.
  • Target start date: January, 2020

We provide a highly stimulating environment with state-of-the-art infrastructures, and unique professional career development opportunities.

We offer and promote a diverse and inclusive environment and welcomes applicants regardless of age, disability, gender, nationality, race, religion or sexual orientation.

The CRG is committed to reconcile a work and family life of its employees and are offering extended vacation period and the possibility to benefit from flexible working hours.

Application Procedure
All applications must include:

  1. A motivation letter addressed to Dr Ben Lehner
  2. A complete CV including contact details.
  3. Contact details of two referees.

All applications must be addressed to Dr. Ben Lehner and be submitted online on the CRG Career site - http://www.crg.eu/en/content/careers/job-opportunities

Selection Process

  • Pre-selection: The pre-selection process will be based on qualifications and expertise reflected on the candidates CVS. It will be merit-based.
  • Interview: Preselected candidates will be interviewed by the Hiring Manager of the position and a selection panel if required.
  • Offer Letter: Once the successful candidate is identified the Human Resources department will send a Job Offer, specifying the start day, salary, working conditions, among other important details.

Deadline: Please submit your application by 13th Decemberr, 2019

BFU2017-89488  (AEI/FEDER, UE)

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