Postdoctoral Position at Rutgers University
A postdoctoral position is available at the Department of Plant Biology at Rutgers University in the laboratory of Dr. Nilgun E. Tumer for an NIH funded collaborative project with the Institute for Quantitative Biomedicine to identify small molecule and peptide inhibitors against Shiga toxin 2 (Stx2). Shiga toxin (Stx) producing E. coli (STEC) and Shigella are foodborne pathogens that cause diarrheal disease in millions of people around the world. They remain a major challenge for food safety and public health because there are no specific therapeutics or vaccines against infection by bacteria producing Shiga toxins.
Stxs depurinate the sarcin/ricin loop of the large rRNA and inhibit translation. E. coli strains producing Stx2 are associated with more severe disease than strains producing Shiga toxin 1 (Stx1). We showed that the A1 subunit of Stx2 has higher affinity for ribosomes and higher catalytic activity than the A1 subunit Stx1 (Basu, D. et al., 2016, Infect. Immun. 84:149-161) and identified the residues critical for ribosome binding (Basu, D. et al., 2016, Infect. Immun. 84:3290-3301). Our goal is to develop inhibitors that disrupt the activity of Stx2 by inhibiting its interaction with the ribosome. We have used surface plasmon resonance-based fragment screening to identify fragments that bind to Stx2.
The successful candidate will perform protein _expression_ and purification using bacterial systems and will perform X-ray crystallography of inhibitors bound Stx2 to help optimize them into more potent leads. Phage display will also be used to identify peptides that bind to Stx2. The Stx2 inhibitory activity of these peptides will be investigated in cell-free and cell-based assays.
The ideal candidate should have a Ph.D. in Structural Biology and Biochemistry and experience in protein _expression_, purification and characterization, and crystallization, and X-ray crystallographic structure determination and refinement, and be interested in developing skills in phage display and learning cryo-Electron Microcopy, which will be carried out in collaboration with the Institute for Quantitative Biomedicine at Rutgers.
Interested applicants should apply online through the ROCS system of Rutgers University and in addition send their CV and three letters of reference to Dr. Nilgun E. Tumer (email@example.com) and Dr. Xiao-Ping Li (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Information on Dr. Tumer’s research can be found at: https://plantbiology.rutgers.edu/faculty/tumer/Nilgun_Tumer.html
Contact: Nilgun Tumer, Department of Plant Biology, SEBS, Rutgers University, Foran Hall, 59 Dudley Road, New Brunswick, NJ 08901-8520. Tel: 848-932-6359.
Dr. Nilgun Tumer
Director, SEBS Core Facility
Department of Plant Biology
SEBS, Rutgers University
59 Dudley Road
New Brunswick, NJ 08901-8520
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