Postdoctoral Position in AI-Accelerated Oligonucleotide Drug Design


Application deadline

February 10, 2022

Postdoctoral Position in AI-Accelerated Oligonucleotide Drug Design

This postdoctoral researcher position aims to improve the design of Oligonucleotide-based drugs using computational chemistry, biophysical simulation and AI methods. It is placed at the department of Computer Science and Engineering (CSE) at Chalmers/GU and is one of two postdoctoral positions in a joint project with Pharmacology at GU. The project is funded in a collaboration between the two largest research programs in Sweden, the Wallenberg AI, Autonomous Systems and Software Program (WASP) and the SciLifeLab and Wallenberg National Program for Data-Driven Life Science (DDLS), with the ultimate goal of solving ground-breaking research questions across disciplines.

Information about project
The two postdoctoral researchers will closely collaborate and will be jointly supervised by both PIs, Alexander Schliep (CSE, University of Gothenburg | Chalmers, and Pär Matsson (Pharmacology, University of Gothenburg,, and spend time in both labs. Close ties to the OligoNova Hub at the University of Gothenburg (part of SciLifeLab’s Drug Discovery and Development platform) and the considerable research activities at AstraZeneca R&D Gothenburg, provide a vibrant research environment in the exciting new area of computational design of oligonucleotide therapeutics. The PIs have extensive expertise in machine learning, AI for drug design, predicting oligonucleotide hybridization energies, as well as modeling and simulation of cellular pharmacology, measuring cellular drug disposition, and quantification of binding kinetics and –energetics of small-molecule and oligonucleotide therapeutics. Additionally, the project involves collaboration with Rula Zain’s research group (Karolinska Institutet) to identify clinically relevant target genes in rare diseases and evaluate predicted oligonucleotide candidates in in vitro and in vivo models. Consequently, the postdoctoral position will position candidates uniquely to develop independent research programs and pursue distinguished careers in academia or industry.

Wallenberg AI, Autonomous Systems and Software Program (WASP) is Sweden’s largest individual research program ever, a major national initiative for strategically motivated basic research, education and faculty recruitment. The program addresses research on artificial intelligence and autonomous systems acting in collaboration with humans, adapting to their environment through sensors, information and knowledge, and forming intelligent systems-of- systems. The vision of WASP is excellent research and competence in artificial intelligence, autonomous systems and software for the benefit of Swedish industry. Read more: https://wasp-

The SciLifeLab and Wallenberg National Program for Data-Driven Life Science (DDLS) is a 12-year initiative that focuses on data-driven research, within fields essential for improving the people ́s lives, detecting and treating diseases, protecting biodiversity and creating sustainability. The programme will train the next generation of life scientists and create a strong computational and data science base. The program aims to strengthen national collaborations between universities, bridge the research communities of life sciences and data sciences, and create partnerships with industry, healthcare and other national and international actors. Read more:

Major responsibilities
The postdoctoral researcher will develop and apply machine learning and bioinformatics methods to study the impact of chemical modification on the binding of therapeutic oligonucleotides to target nucleotide sequences and to cellular proteins. The development will be closely coordinated with complementary work on the molecular simulation and/or computational chemistry side.

Contract terms
Full-time temporary employment. The employment is limited (temporary) for 24 months.

Applicants must have a quantitative background with a doctorate, PhD or equivalent degree, in bioinformatics, computer science, mathematics, biophysics, biology or chemistry, with prior machine learning experience demonstrated through published research results. The degree should generally not be older than three years.

Excellent collaborative skills and oral as well as written proficiency in English are mandatory. Experience of studying nucleotide–nucleotide and/or nucleotide–protein interactions using bioinformatics or machine learning methods is highly meriting. The working language is English. Knowledge of Swedish is not a prerequisite for consideration.

The position requires sound verbal and written communication skills in English. Swedish is not a requirement.

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Read more about working at Chalmers and our benefits for employees. Chalmers offers Swedish courses.

Chalmers aims to actively improve our gender balance. We work broadly with equality projects, for example the GENIE Initiative on gender equality for excellence. Equality and diversity are substantial foundations in all activities at Chalmers.

Last updated: 2022-01-11

Content Responsible: David Gotthold(