The Protein Chemistry laboratory of the National Centre for Scientific Research Demokritos in Athens, Greece, in collaboration with the Laboratory of Biochemistry of the Chemistry department of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, is looking for two Early Stage Researchers (<4 years research experience since receipt of undergraduate degree) to pursue a PhD degree in biochemistry in the context of the MSCA-ITN-2020 - Innovative Training Network CAPSTONE. The project focuses on the molecular and atomic level analysis of enzymes involved in the pathway of antigen processing and presentation and are important for regulating human immune responses to pathogens and cancer. Two full-time PhD projects are available: i) analysis of the molecular mechanism of function of aminopeptidases that generate antigenic peptides and of small-molecule modulators for these enzymes, and ii) analysis of the effects of small-molecule modulators of aminopeptidases on cellular antigen presentation and the immunopeptidome. The candidates should have a degree in biochemistry, chemistry, biology or similar and a master’s degree in biosciences. Prior research experience (<4 years) on protein biochemistry, cell culture and molecular biology techniques is highly desirable. Candidates should fulfill the mobility requirement for MSCA-grants (<12 months of residence in Greece during the last 3 years at the time of the deadline of the official call, expected around February 2021). Interested candidates should contact Dr. Efstratios Stratikos at stratos@rrp.demokritos.gr or estratikos@chem.uoa.gr.

Previous representative publications from the group:

Mechanism for antigenic peptide selection by ER aminopeptidase 1.Giastas P#, Mpakali A#, Papakyriakou A, Lelis A, Kokkala P, Neu M, Rowland P, Liddle J, Georgiadis D and Stratikos E*. PNAS 2019, December 16, 2019

Editing the immunopeptidome of melanoma cells using a potent inhibitor of Endoplasmic Reticulum aminopeptidase. (read paper here) Koumantou D, Barnea E, Martin-Esteban A, Maben A, Papakyriakou A, Mpakali A, Kokkala P, Pratsinis H, Georgiadis D, Stern LJ, Admon A and Stratikos E*. Cancer Immunol Immunother 2019, Jun 20.

Targeting the regulatory site of ER aminopeptidase 1 leads to the discovery of a natural product modulator of antigen presentation. (read here) Liddle J, Hutchinson JP, Kitchen S, Rowland P, Neu M, Cecconie T, Holmes DS, Jones EJ, Korczynska J, Koumantou D, Lea J, Nickels LA, Pemberton M, Phillipou A, Schneck JL, Sheehan H, Tinworth CP, Uings I, Wojno-Picon J, Young RJ, Stratikos E*. J Med Chem. 2020 Feb 28.

Crystal structure of Insulin Regulated Aminopeptidase with bound substrate analogue provides insight on antigenic epitope precursor recognition and processing.Mpakali A, Saridakis E, Harlos K, Zhao Y, Papakyriakou A, Kokkala P, Georgiadis D, Stratikos E*.J Immunol. 2015 Aug 10. pii: 1501103.

A rationally designed inhibitor targeting antigen-trimming aminopeptidases enhances antigen presentation and cytotoxic T-cell responses. Zervoudi E, Saridakis E, Birtley JR, Seregin S., Reeves E, Kokkala P, Aldhamen YA, Amalfitano A, Mavridis IM, James E, Georgiadis D* and Stratikos E*.Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, 2013 Dec 3;110(49):19890-5.