The Department of Chemistry, in the Faculty of Mathematics and Science is currently seeking to recruit
TWO (2) POSTDOCTORAL RESEARCHERS, Synthetic Organic and Supramolecular Chemistry
The fixed-term positions are for a maximum of 26 months, starting June 1st, 2023 (or as soon as possible thereafter).
Project and task description
Catalysis is the core engine driving the chemical industry. The discovery and development of novel homogenous catalysts often requires designing and synthesizing the new catalyst molecules or ligands via multistep sequences. This approach requires significant resources and time, even when the design and optimization is carried out in a systematic manner. In Nature, the activity of catalysts – enzymes – is modulated by allosteric regulation.
The principles of allosteric regulation, such as induction of conformational changes in response to different external stimuli, are applied in the project COCOA. COCOA is a consortium project, funded by the Academy of Finland, where we mimic Nature by introducing responsive regulatory units to synthetic catalysts, sensors, and even enzyme activators. The regulatory subunits bind to anions and change their conformation in response to different anions (see, for example, https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.joc.9b01980). The purpose of the project is to use these anion-responsive systems in activation, optimization, and regulation of synthetic catalysts, receptors, and enzyme activators. The results of the project are expected to have widespread use in synthetic and supramolecular chemistry. The project is a consortium with the groups of Prof. Petri Pihko (coordinator), Prof. Kaisa Helttunen, and Prof. Gerrit Groenhof at the Department of Chemistry, University of Jyväskylä, and the group of Prof. Rik Wierenga at the University of Oulu.
The postdoctoral researchers will be supervised by either Prof. Pihko or Prof. Helttunen, and they would work towards the goals of COCOA in a collaborative manner. Depending on the background of the candidates, the work may also involve computational chemistry to assist in the conformational analysis and design, and this work will be supervised by Prof. Groenhof. The postdoctoral researchers will participate in the design and experimental implementation of the project, from the initial designs to the 2nd generation refined design, and to scaling up the synthesis. The postdoctoral researchers will synthesize and characterize the catalysts, and they will study anion binding and anion-responsive conformational changes in organic solvents and in water. Successful implementation of the research would also mean that the results can also be applied in other contexts, such catalyst design involving noncovalent interactions (see, for example, https://doi.org/10.1002/anie.201509302), redox catalysis, and even natural product synthesis (in collaboration with other researchers of the group).
Qualifications we are looking for
Postdoctoral researcher 1 (Pihko as the main supervisor)
The eligible candidate has or is about to obtain a PhD in the field of synthetic organic chemistry and demonstrates a documented track record of experience in chemical synthesis. Experience in any of the following fields: high-throughput screening, molecular design including catalyst design, total synthesis of natural products, or computational chemistry (especially conformational analysis and/or computational studies of reaction mechanisms), is considered an asset. The Department hosts state-of-the art infrastructure in X-ray crystallography, and the ability to utilize X-ray crystallography in synthesis, or experience in screening of crystallization methods, is also considered a bonus.
Postdoctoral researcher 2 (Helttunen as the main supervisor)
The eligible candidate has or is about to obtain a PhD in the field of synthetic organic chemistry or organic supramolecular chemistry and demonstrates a documented track record of experience in chemical synthesis, solution-state structure elucidation with NMR spectroscopy and/or analytical supramolecular chemistry (spectroscopic titration methods, ITC). Experience in any of the following fields: reaction kinetics, nanoscale imaging techniques (AFM, TEM, SEM), or computational chemistry (especially conformational analysis and/or computational studies of reaction mechanisms), is considered an asset. The Department hosts state-of-the art infrastructure in X-ray crystallography, and the ability to utilize X-ray crystallography in synthesis, or experience in screening of crystallization methods, is also considered a bonus.
The candidate is expected to be able to carry out research and communicate the experimental research results in writing and verbally to a multidisciplinary research environment including collaborators. Precise working methods, team player attitude, and the ability to act independently are prerequisites for a postdoctoral researcher. The duties, qualification requirements and language skills of a Postdoctoral Researcher are stipulated by the University of Jyväskylä Regulations and language skills guidelines. A good command of English is required and a proficiency to teach in English will be considered beneficial. The PhD degree required for the position must have been completed before starting the position.
What does the University of Jyväskylä offer as an employer?
At the University of Jyväskylä you are a recognized member of our community with a unique opportunity to influence international research. You get to participate in our international and multi-science community where the welfare of each individual is important. Finland has a high standard of living, with free schooling (also in English), affordable childcare, good family benefits, and healthcare. Jyväskylä is located in central Finland in the Finnish Lakeland, and has excellent opportunities for different nature, outdoor, and sports activities. The city of Jyväskylä is a major educational center and the city has a large student population. As such there is a vibrant cultural scene in the city. At Jyväskylä we offer a great and lively university campus area with opportunities to maintain an active and healthy lifestyle. To find useful information about the University of Jyväskylä, the City of Jyväskylä and living in Finland, see the University's International Staff Guide.
The annual salary range will be approximately 40,000 – 54,000 EUR (gross income, including holiday bonus), depending on the qualifications and experience of the candidate. A trial period of six months will be used when the positions are first filled.
How to apply
The application documents that should be included in pdf format:
Applicants are kindly asked to submit their applications using the online application form by April 12, 2023.
For further information, please contact Prof. Petri Pihko, email@example.com, phone +358 50 528 9132; website: https://jyu.fi/pihko and Prof. Kaisa Helttunen, firstname.lastname@example.org, +358 40 844 8272.
The main strength areas of the chemistry department are structural and synthetic chemistry, computational chemistry and spectroscopy, renewable natural resources and chemistry of living environment, and education in chemistry. Moreover, the department is a member of the Nanoscience Center of University of Jyväskylä, which promotes interdisciplinary research projects in nanoscience. The department has world-class laboratory infrastructure and large-scale computational resources.
The University of Jyväskylä is a human-centered environment of 2,500 experts and 14,500 students. Our goal is to create wisdom and wellbeing for all. JYU's naturally beautiful campus is located in the heart of the city of Jyväskylä. JYU is the third largest employer in Central Finland.