Mura Lab

at the University of Virginia

People ≫ Openings

NEW (March 2016):
Undergraduate-level Position: Computational & Experimental Studies of Laminin Systems. Note that funding is guaranteed for one year for this joint position between the Lampe (ChE) and Mura (Chem) labs.
Postdoctoral Position: Crystallographic & Biophysical Studies of Protein⋅⋅⋅RNA Complexes

A postdoctoral position is available, effective immediately, in the Mura Lab at the University of Virginia. As described on this website, our lab employs experimental and computational approaches to decipher the structures, functions, and evolution of RNA– and DNA–based protein assemblies, many of which act as molecular machines. We specifically seek a deeper understanding of ribonucleoprotein (RNP) assemblies built upon scaffolds of ‘Sm’ proteins — What these protein•RNA complexes look like at atomic resolution (structure), their assembly pathways and dynamical behavior (function), and the interrelationships between Sm and Sm-like systems (evolution). Accordingly, the research program is highly interdisciplinary and relies heavily on methodologies from experimental structural biology (crystallography), computational biology (simulation– and informatics–based), and traditional wet-lab biochemistry (e.g., RNA–binding assays).

Candidates for this position can be at either an advanced or early post-doctoral stage, or may be in the final stages of completing the PhD. The ideal candidate will have had extensive training and expertise in macromolecular crystallography; applicants with substantial experience in closely related fields of experimental structural biology/molecular biophysics (electron crystallography, fiber diffraction, cryo-EM, NMR) also may be considered. Priority will be given to applicants with a strong background in macromolecular crystallography, as demonstrated by publications and in a possible interview. The successful candidate will be able to work independently, using diffraction-based methods and associated biochemical/biophysical methodologies for sample preparation and characterization (over-expression, chromatography, light-scattering, mass spectrometry). Applicants should be able to pursue all stages of the cloningexpressionpurificationcrystallizationstructure determination pipeline, including the ability to effectively troubleshoot purification and crystalliation experiments, collect and process synchrotron X-ray diffraction data, employ various phasing methods (anomalous scattering, molecular replacement), build and refine models, etc.

In addition to exhibiting strong written and oral communication skills, the postdoctoral scientist will be expected to take on a leadership role in assisting with supervision of the research activities of undergraduate and graduate students in the laboratory. The two projects that will be the initial focus of the postdoctoral scholar's efforts are already established, and this position will also permit many opportunities to develop independent lines of research, apply for funding opportunities, and develop professionally towards an independent career.

To apply, please (i) provide a letter of interest and a full CV and (ii) arrange for three reference letters to be sent directly to Cameron Mura. (All materials can be sent via email.) Please note the following:

  • The cover letter must describe the nature of your interest in this position, and should highlight your relevant skills, past achievements, and future goals (scientifically and professionally). The letter must also contain information on your citizenship/U.S. visa status. (While the position is funded for one year, preference will be given to candidates who are eligible to apply in the future for U.S. federal research grants.)
  • The reference letter from your PhD supervisor should explicitly address (e.g., using concrete examples) your ability to work independently.
The position is available immediately, and the postdoctoral scholar should plan to begin by 01-Oct-2012.