Careers at UMass Amherst

Post Doctoral Research Associate - Skouta Lab

Apply now Job no: 506300
Work type: Post Doc (Amherst Only)
Location: UMass Amherst
Department: Biology
Union: Post Doc
Categories: Postdoctoral Research Associate

About UMass Amherst

UMass Amherst, the Commonwealth's flagship campus, is a nationally ranked public research university offering a full range of undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. The University sits on nearly 1,450-acres in the scenic Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts, and offers a rich cultural environment in a bucolic setting close to major urban centers. In addition, the University is part of the Five Colleges (including Amherst College, Hampshire College, Mount Holyoke College, and Smith College), which adds to the intellectual energy of the region.


Job Summary

The Skouta group ( is seeking a highly motivated 12 months post-doc with chemical biology and pharmaceutical chemistry expertise to join the laboratory. The Skouta group research covers chemical biology, chemistry, protein chemistry, computer modeling, biological assays and in vitro studies. The major interest of the lab is the development of small molecule inducers of ferroptosis cell death with well-defined target(s) for cancer therapeutics. Ferroptosis is a recently emerged novel cell death that may complement the known programmed cell death.

The successful candidate will be involved in the screening of small molecules in vitro, the design and synthesis of small molecule drug candidates with well-defined mode of action for the development of better therapeutic treatments. The successful candidate will also be working in a collaborative project with UMass-Medical School at Worcester.

The candidate needs be to proficient in cell culture of cancer cells and drug screening in addition to designing synthetic routes and solving challenging problems in multi-step synthesis of the hit compounds. The candidate also needs to have pharmaceutical chemistry  knowledge including but not limited to ligand-receptor interactions and structure-based drug design, SAR exploration, parallel and library synthesis, biological tests including cell line assay studies, etc. The appointee is expected to establish some independence in research design and execution, and to publish his/her work as appropriate in collaboration with the principal investigator.


Essential Functions

  • Drug screening against a panel of cancer cells.
  • Develop an elegant synthetic pathway of the desired scaffold to create a set of analogs with high purity for biology testing.
  • Structure activity relationship study an invitro testing of biologically active compounds with better drug-like properties.
  • ADME/PK/toxicity testing.
  • Dissecting the compounds programmed cell death pathways (apoptosis, autophagy and ferroptosis) using pharmacological agents.


Other Functions

  • Work collaboratively and effectively to promote teamwork, diversity, equality and inclusiveness. 
  • Work in partnership with colleagues within the CNS community and across the campus to support the Dean’s strategic priorities.
  • Perform other duties as assigned in support of the mission and goals of the College of Natural Sciences.


Minimum Qualifications (Knowledge, Skills, Abilities, Education, Experience, Certifications, Licensure)

  • The successful candidate must have a Ph.D in pharmaceutical sciences, chemical biology, chemistry, or a related field.
  • PhD time lab experience in pharmaceutical sciences, chemical biology or chemistry is required.
  • Previous work with drug evaluating small molecules against a panel of cell lines.
  • Previous work with drug inducing programmed cell death pathways (apoptosis, autophagy and ferroptosis).
  • Previous work with drug design and creation of novel molecules.
  • Experience with mentoring students and collaborative work with other groups.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills.
  • Needs be to proficient in pharmaceutical chemistry  including designing synthetic routes and solving challenging problems in multi-step synthesis.
  • Needs be to proficient in cell culture and drug testing.


Physical Demands/Working Conditions

Manual dexterity and laboratory skills consistent with the research being performed.


Additional Details

  • Direct supervision by the P.I. (Rachid Skouta).
  • May help mentor students.
  • Will establish some independence in research design and execution, and to publish his/her work as appropriate in collaboration with the principal investigator.


Work Schedule

Monday – Friday, 8:30am-5:00pm.


Salary Information

Salary will commensurate with qualifications and experience and is consistent with bargaining unit contract.


Special Instructions to Applicants

To apply, please submit a cover letter, resume, a summary of research accomplishments, and contact information for three professional references. Apply by September 15, 2020 in order to ensure priority consideration. Search may remain open until a suitable candidate pool has been identified.

As part of a commitment to their own multicultural community, CNS seeks an individual with a demonstrated commitment to diversity and one who will understand and embrace university initiatives and aspirations.

UMass Amherst is committed to a policy of equal opportunity without regard to race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, age, sexual orientation, national origin, ancestry, disability, military status, or genetic information in employment, admission to and participation in academic programs, activities, and services, and the selection of vendors who provide services or products to the University.  To fulfill that policy, UMass Amherst is further committed to a program of affirmative action to eliminate or mitigate artificial barriers and to increase opportunities for the recruitment and advancement of qualified minorities, women, persons with disabilities, and covered veterans.  It is the policy of the UMass Amherst to comply with the applicable federal and state statutes, rules, and regulations concerning equal opportunity and affirmative action.

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