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Postdoctoral position in advanced crystallography to study radical SAM enzymes H/F

Vacancy details

General information


The French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) is a key player in research, development and innovation in four main areas :
• defence and security,
• nuclear energy (fission and fusion),
• technological research for industry,
• fundamental research in the physical sciences and life sciences.

Drawing on its widely acknowledged expertise, and thanks to its 16000 technicians, engineers, researchers and staff, the CEA actively participates in collaborative projects with a large number of academic and industrial partners.

The CEA is established in ten centers spread throughout France



Division description

CEA's Fundamental Research Division (DRF) is active in the fields of physics, chemistry, biology and health, materials sciences, climate sciences and the environment. Within this department, the IRIG institute, conducts research in biology, health, nanosciences, cryotechnologies and new technologies for energy and the environment. Physicists, chemists, biologists, physicians, computer scientists and mathematicians participate jointly in this fundamental research and the applications that result from it, giving the institute a remarkable capacity to respond to major societal challenges.

Description de l'unité

The IBS is an internationally recognized research center in the field of integrated structural biology. Our institute explores the structure and dynamics of proteins and other biological macromolecules to understand how they function at the atomic level and in a cellular environment.
Biological phenomena - such as host cell defenses against infection, membrane transport, molecular mechanisms of cancer, adaptation of molecules to extreme environments, DNA repair, epigenetic regulation and programmed cell death - are highly complex. To understand these and other fundamental cellular processes, we aim to obtain an accurate description of the biological molecules involved by studying their structure, dynamics and interactions with molecular partners and by elucidating the relationship between their structure and function.
Current challenges in structural biology include the structure determination of large macromolecular assemblies and the understanding of protein dynamics within such assemblies or in a cellular environment. Such challenges require a multidisciplinary approach at the interface of biology, physics and chemistry, as well as powerful instruments and methods of analysis spanning different resolution scales, available at the institute or nearby. Establishing multidisciplinary collaborative networks is also critical for the success of our research.

Position description


Biology, biophysics and biochemistry


Fixed-term contract

Job title

Postdoctoral position in advanced crystallography to study radical SAM enzymes H/F

Socio-professional category


Contract duration (months)


Job description

The Metalloproteins Unit of the Institut de Biologie Structurale, that joins the collaborative research efforts between the University Grenoble Alps (UGA), the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), and the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) in Grenoble, France, is actively seeking a postdoctoral researcher. This position aims at the structural characterization of reactive intermediates in the time course of radical SAM enzymes, involved in the assembly of the [FeFe]-hydrogenase active site. The research will be primarily performed at IBS in close collaborations with the SyMMES/CAMPE group led by Serge Gambarelli and the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility ID29 beamline led by Daniele de Sanctis. These three laboratories are located within the same scientific campus in Grenoble, France, and have a longstanding tradition of collaborations in their respective fields of study.


The main objective of this project is to capture and characterize the different reaction intermediates of these enzymes. This study will combine structural analyses using time-resolved serial crystallography) with studies using electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy and theoretical calculations to reconstruct the catalytic mechanism and analyze the role of the protein matrix in controlling these reactions. The long-term goal of this study is to enhance our understanding of these radical SAM proteins to enable biotechnological applications.


The postdoctoral researcher will be responsible for the production of protein samples using already established reproducible protocols in the laboratory, to prepare microcrystals for structural studies through serial crystallography. They will also oversee the development of a sample holder for anaerobic work to prevent damage caused by oxygen to both metal cofactors and radical intermediates. Finally, they will be in charge of coupling photosensitizers to the protein to synchronize the radical reaction in crystals, enabling the measurement of diffraction data at different time points and capturing the sought-after intermediates.

Applicant Profile


The ideal candidate will possess a Ph.D. in structural biology, complemented by a robust foundation in chemistry and a keen understanding of enzyme mechanisms. Previous hands-on experience in wet-lab environments and a demonstrated interest in pursuing experimental advancements are essential qualifications. Proficiency in state-of-the-art protein X-ray crystallography software and techniques is highly desirable. Skills in X-ray diffraction data analysis and serial crystallography would be an additional asset.

We seek a motivated and open-minded researcher with strong communication skills, who thrives in a collaborative, multidisciplinary team. Prior knowledge of the French research system would be a valuable asset for increased autonomy in the role.


Position Summary

Funding for this position has been awarded by the French National Research Agency (ANR) as a part of a broader French project. The position can start anytime between March 2024 and October 2024. The initial contract will run for 24 months with a possible 1-year extension.



To apply, please provide a detailed resume, a summary of your past research activity, a letter to describe how you would fit to the requested profile, the transcripts of your academic records and Ph.D. degree and two reference letters to Yvain Nicolet ( (+33 4 57 42 86 03))


In accordance with the commitments made by the CEA in favor of the integration of people with disabilities, this job is open to all.

Position location



Job location

France, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, Isère (38)



Candidate criteria


English (Bilingual)


Position start date