Thursday, May 14, 2020

This is a weird position

The Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (BIOM) of the Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis, Indiana will be hiring a new Professor (tenure track) at the Assistant or Associate level who possesses expertise in Chemical Biology with application to chemical protein synthesis and peptide therapeutics. This appointment will conduct scientific research in the area(s) of peptide- and protein analogs, including analysis of structure-activity relationships and use of unnatural mutagenesis. These projects utilize synthetic and semi-synthetic methods. 
Basic Qualifications  
A Ph.D. or M.D. and at least 5 years of training/experience in peptide is required. Experience with the chemical synthesis of polypeptide greater than 30 residues and familiarity with native ligation chemistry are preferred. Publications on how biological peptides modulate the activity of peptides and proteins will be an added advantage...
This is a remarkably specific set of criteria - one wonders what will happen to the poor candidate who only has experience synthesizing polypeptides of 25-29 amino acid length...

(clearly an ad designed for a single person)


  1. I remember hearing a story about a tenure-track professor position being advertised in the local paper in hopes that no one other than the person they had already chosen would apply.

  2. From what I remember, 30 is a practical upper limit for traditional solid phase peptide synthesis. More than thirty requires other techniques if you want to actually get the correct peptide. Seems like a reasonable thing to ask for as a preferred criterion.

  3. I thought you could do 50ish on a peptide synthesizer before the error rate kills you. It seemed to me like lots of the peptides made by ligation (at least the ones in JACS, etc.) assembled segments bigger than 30 residues (without preassembly - the starting fragments themselves.

    Assuming you weren't looking for someone in particular (which is asking a lot), is there a good reason why a university would want such a particular skill set for a (potentially) tenured professor? Will this set of skills or their underlying meta-skills be useful for a professor?

  4. I work for a peptide synthesis CMO, and no, you can go beyond 30-mers on modern automated instruments. We have made 40-mers (e.g. amyloids) on microwave synthesizers, and even gone up to 80-mers with normal automated synthesizers (e.g. SymphonyX). Of course, then you have to spend more effort on fishing out your desired peptide from the crude mixture by HPLC. It is also a question of how much (quantity) you need at the end of synthesis - if you just need mg quantities of long peptides, doing it in one shot by automated synthesis is feasible.

  5. This is likely a position specific designed for a chosen candidate.

  6. That's why it's called a coffee parrot (


looks like Blogger doesn't work with anonymous comments from Chrome browsers at the moment - works in Microsoft Edge, or from Chrome with a Blogger account - sorry! CJ 3/21/20