Job Opportunities

Job Opportunities

Industry funded 3.5 year PhD Studentship:


Identifying the medicinal basis of cannabinoid action using a simple model system

Cannabinoids comprise a group of natural products derived from cannabis that have a wide range of potential medicinal activities. These include the treatment of cancer, as anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective agents, and for the treatment of multiple sclerosis and pain. Although some cannabinoids have been shown to inhibit COX 1 and 2 proteins, and to function in mitochondria and in oxygen stress, the therapeutic action of these compounds remains generally unclear. Understanding the molecular mechanism of these compounds will strongly advance their use in medicine.

We have developed an innovative and rapid approach to identifying molecular mechanisms of therapeutic compounds and natural products using a simple non-animal model, the social amoeba Dictyostelium. In this model, we have identified genes controlling the effect of a widely used epilepsy treatment, valproic acid, and a range of naturally occurring flavonoids including naringenin. These studies have enabled us to highlight potential therapeutic roles for compounds and to develop improved treatments. The project outlined here will identify molecular targets for a series of cannabinoids in Dictyostelium and characterise how the compounds regulate cell function. This approach will enable the translation of discoveries to mammalian or human models. The project will provide advanced training in a multidisciplinary range of techniques, including cell and developmental biology, biochemistry, pharmacology, and pharmacogenetics. The student will also be trained scientific writing and oral presentation. The project will therefore lead to a better understanding of the mechanism(s) of action of cannabinoids in a therapeutic context.

The project will be based at Royal Holloway University of London, near London. Funding covers annual tax-free stipend and tuition fees at the UK/EU rate over 3.5 years. Applicants are expected to hold, or to be awarded a first class or a good upper second class BSc Degree or an equivalent qualification by October 2016, with knowledge of molecular and/or cellular biology or biochemistry. Masters graduates are particularly welcome to apply. To be eligible for this studentship, applicant must either be a UK citizen or a European Union national who has been resident in the UK for at least 3 years prior to starting the degree.

For further information, or to apply, please email Prof. Robin Williams or go to: Online application

Applications close on 04 March 2016, so please apply quickly.

Prof. Robin SB Williams

Professor of Molecular Cell Biology
Head of Centre for Biomedical Sciences
Royal Holloway
University of London
Egham, Surry
TW20 0EX, UK
Ph: + 44 (0) 1784 276162; Fax: + 44 (0) 1784 414224
Web page

Confidentiality Notice: This mail message, including any attachments, is for the sole use of the intended recipient(s) and may contain confidential and privileged information. The recipient is responsible to maintain the confidentiality of this information and to use the information only for authorized purposes.

Interested in our research? Please visit:
1. Bitter tastant responses in the amoeba Dictystelium correlate with rat and human taste assays
2. Seizure control by decanoic acid through direct AMPA receptor inhibition
3. New experimental therapies for status epilepticus in preclinical development.
4. An invitro model for synaptic loss in neurodegenerative disease suggests a neuroprotective role for valproic acid via ..
5. Epilepsy research methods update: Understanding the causes of epileptic seizures and identifying new treatments using ...
6. Seizure control by derivatives of medium chain Fatty acids associated with the ketogenic diet show novel branching-point ...
7. An ancestral non-proteolytic role for presenilin proteins in multicellular development of the social amoeba Dictyostelium ...
8. Seizure-induced reduction in PIP3 levels contributes to seizure-activity and is rescued by valproic acid
9. Naringenin inhibits the growth of Dictyostelium and MDCK-derived cysts in a polycystin-2 (TRPP2)-dependent manner
10. A novel human receptor involved in bitter tastant detection identified using the model organism Dictyostelium discoideum.
11. Seizure control by ketogenic diet-associated medium chain fatty acids
12. The antiepileptic drug valproic acid and other medium-chain fatty acids acutely reduce phosphoinositide levels independently ...

And our youtube video: Social amoebae for epilepsy research

(posted February 10, 2016)



Assistant Professor of Biology at the State University of New York at New Paltz: Evolutionary Cell Biologist


Duties: The Department of Biology at the State University of New York at New Paltz invites applications for a full-time tenure-track Assistant Professor with specialization in the area of evolutionary cell biology to begin in Fall 2016.

• The successful candidate’s primary teaching responsibilities will include a sophomore-level course on Evolution, an upper-division course in the candidate’s area of expertise, and they will contribute to the General Biology course sequence and teach other related courses as needed;
• The Department of Biology at SUNY New Paltz values research with undergraduates as a high impact practice in science education. The successful candidate is expected to establish an independent research program with a significant focus on including undergraduate research students in scholarly work;
• The successful candidate is also expected to advise students and engage in service to the department, the school, and the College.

Qualifications: Ph.D. in Biology or related field is required; exceptional ABD candidates with a firm completion date will be considered. Candidates with expertise in cell biology and the evolution of eukaryotic cells will be considered. Preference will be given to candidates with postdoctoral experience, and experience with confocal laser microscopy.

Contact Information: Electronic submissions required. To apply, please visit Evolutionary Cell Biologist position

Applicants will be required to submit a cover letter, curriculum vitae, representative publications (max file size 9MB, URL also accepted), separate statements of research interests and teaching philosophy, and three letters of recommendation. References provided will be sent a link to upload letters of recommendation.

Individuals with disabilities who need assistance with the application process should call: 845-257-3675.

Deadline: Applications accepted until the position is filled, priority given to those received by 1/15/16

Other important information about this vacancy:

The State University of New York at New Paltz is a highly selective, public college that is recognized regionally for the strength of its academic programs. It is located in the beautiful Hudson River Valley with easy access to New York City and other nearby recreational and cultural amenities.
All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to age, race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, or protected veteran status. Candidates who bring diverse cultural experience and who are especially qualified to mentor and advise all members of our diverse student population are especially encouraged to apply.
The State University of New York at New Paltz is an AA/EOE/ADA employer.
Please email: Aaron Haselton with any questions regarding this position.

Spencer M. Mass, MD

Developmental Biology Lab
Department of Biology
CSB 149
SUNY New Paltz
1 Hawk Drive
New Paltz, NY 12561

(posted January 20, 2016)



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