Research Assistant for Protein Degrading Technology: Ireland

A 1 year research assistant position funded by Enterprise Ireland through the Commercialisation Fund programme is available to develop a powerful protein degradation technology. The projected programme will put into development a powerful platform protease technology that will reduce contamination risk for the healthcare/hospital/clinical sector with an aim to spinout. The technology has been developed and championed by the leading Prion expert in Ireland (Dr. Hilary McMahon) and it degrades the most difficult to degrade protein, the prion, under mild conditions. The prion is the agent that causes the fatal disorder variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD), which originated from Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) contaminated products. We now have asymptomatic vCJD carriers. At least 1 in 2000 persons are vCJD carriers, we do not know who they are, and they have the potential to transmit the infectious disease agent through hospital procedures via contaminated surgical equipment, including endoscopes, used in hospital procedures. The prion sticks like glue to surgical equipment, and it cannot be removed by standard cleaning practises used in hospitals. This leads to a persistent CJD contamination transmission risk in the hospital sector which can be overcome with this technology.

This disruptive technology is based on a rare microbial protease technology, and it will be evolved during this current phase of the work programme. The work merges microbial enzyme production with the destruction of the infectious risk of the neurological Prion.

Principal Duties and Responsibilities

  • Conduct a programme of research under the supervision of the principle investigator. The project has a particular focus on recombinant enzyme production through fermentation. Cell culture and biochemical work will also be part of the project;
  • The successful applicant will engage in result output delivery related to the project under the supervision of your Principal Investigator;
  • Carry out administrative work associated with your programme of research;
  • Engage in the wider research and scholarly activities of your research group;
  • Under take any other duties as assigned by the Principal Investigator or nominee.

Selection criteria

Selection criteria outline the qualifications, skills, knowledge and/or experience that the successful candidate would need to demonstrate for successful discharge of the responsibilities of the post.

Applications will be assessed on the basis of how well candidates satisfy these criteria.


  • The applicant must hold a primary B.Sc honours degree and it is highly desirable that the applicant possesses a PhD. The applicant must have molecular experience;
  • Excellent Communication Skills (Oral, Written, Presentation etc.);
  • Excellent Organisational and Administrative skills including a proven ability to work to deadlines;
  • An understanding of the operational requirements for a successful research project.


  • PhD in Biochemistry, Molecular biology or Microbiology;
  • Have demonstrated commitment to research and publications;
  • Evidence of research activity (publications, conference presentations, awards) and future scholarly output (working papers and ability to outline a research project);
  • Experience in setting own research agenda.
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