Postdoctoral Fellow: Enhancing PARP Inhibitor Activity


Competitive Salary, Bonus & Benefits

Are you keen to explore new approaches to target the DNA damage response (DDR) for cancer therapy, including ways to overcome PARP inhibitor resistance? Help advance our research into a newly identified DDR target that is the topic of an exciting drug discovery programme!

About AstraZeneca:

AstraZeneca is a global, science-led, patient-centred biopharmaceutical company that focuses on the discovery, development and commercialization of prescription medicines for some of the world’s most serious disease. But we’re more than a global leading pharmaceutical company. At AstraZeneca, we’re dedicated to being a Great Place to Work where you are empowered to push the boundaries of science and fuel your entrepreneurial spirit. There’s no better place to make a difference to medicine, patients and society.

About the Postdoc Programme:

Bring your expertise, apply your knowledge, follow the science and make a difference.

AstraZeneca’s Postdoc Programme is for self-motivated individuals looking to tackle exciting, high impact projects in a collaborative, engaging and innovative environment. You’ll work with peers and professionals from a diverse group of backgrounds, and a world class academic mentor specifically aligned to your project. We’ll help you develop valuable networks which support your research and future career development.

AstraZeneca Postdocs are respected as specialists and encouraged to speak up. They lead ground-breaking drug discovery and development research projects. Our vibrant, multi-disciplinary scientific teams empower and support our Postdocs, and we encourage them to share their research at conferences, publish papers, achieve their goals and make a difference to our patients.

You’ll learn from industry leaders working on innovative research across our organization. Our Postdoc Training Programme will support you to develop transferrable skills from influencing others to shape the agenda, to data analysis.

Are you ready to explore this exciting next step in your research career?

About the Opportunity:

The DNA Damage Response (DDR) is one of the scientific platforms we are focusing on to improve the clinical paradigm in oncology. Our understanding of the role the DDR plays in cancer is enabling us to push our research further to target a broad range of cancers including difficult to treat or aggressive cancers. Most cancers have a greater dependency on the DDR, due to the loss of one or more DDR capabilities during the development of cancer. By understanding and identifying these dependencies, we can use precision medicine approaches and targeted DDR inhibitors to maximise DNA damage and selectively kill cancer cells. This provides a truly targeted approach to cancer treatment with the potential to improve patient outcomes across multiple tumour types. An example of this are the inhibitors of PARP, which exploit the genetic vulnerabilities caused by mutations in the main repair pathway dealing with DNA double-strand break through homologous recombination repair (HRR), such as those in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes.

AstraZeneca has been a pioneer in this area of drug discovery and development, bringing Lynparza, the first DDR-based targeted therapy, to market. This leading PARP inhibitor has been approved for the treatment of BRCA mutant and/or HRR-deficient ovarian, breast, prostate and pancreatic cancers. We have built on this success and developed an industry-leading portfolio of inhibitors against additional DDR targets. We have six currently in different stages of clinical development, and have generated inhibitors of additional targets in the drug discovery phase. Ultimately, we believe with an armamentarium of DDR inhibitors covering different aspects of the DNA damage response, we will be able to exploit different DDR dependencies across a broad range of tumour types to help treat cancer patients.

In this role you will acquire an understanding of the significance of providing mechanistic insights into DDR targeted therapy and learn its importance to both drug discovery and future clinical development. Working collaboratively with other members of the in vitro and in vivo DDR biology team, you will be responsible for designing and conducting in vitro experiments utilising various molecular biology and genome editing methods. You will analyse, interpret and present your data to AstraZeneca colleagues, and share your research at external conferences. We anticipate this research will lead to one or more high quality publication.

Qualification, Skills & Experience


  • A PhD (or equivalent) in molecular and cell biology
  • Experience in molecular biology methods and in vitro genetic manipulation techniques
  • Good knowledge of cancer biology and the utility of DNA damage response inhibitors
  • Ability to independently design and implement incisive experiments, and interpret results
  • A strong scientific track-record, as evidenced by published or accepted papers in well recognized peer-reviewed journals, oral and/or poster presentations at scientific meetings.
  • Passionate about translating science into benefits for cancer patients
  • Strong communication skills
  • Ability to see opportunities, learn, and apply that learning to drive innovation
  • Good networking, collaboration and teamworking skills


  • Experience in a range of in vitro biochemical, cell biology and pharmacology-related skills that can be applied to DDR and oncology research. Examples of these are growth inhibition/toxicity assays, immunoblotting, high-content biology and foci or live-cell imaging, cell cycle analysis, flow cytometry, comet and/or genotoxicity assays, CRISPR cell line models, DNA repair efficiency reporter assays, DNA combing and PARP trapping assays.
  • Experience of using in vivo mouse models

This is a 3-year programme. 2 years will be a Fixed Term Contract, with a 1-year extension which will be merit based.

Ready for an exciting, rewarding challenge? Apply today!

Advert Opens: 26th October, 2021

Advert Closes: 5th December, 2021

If you require any reasonable adjustments or accommodations during your application or interview process, please let us know.

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