IMP Postdoc Paul Murphy joins the ESPRIT Programme
The Austrian Science Fund’s (FWF) ESPRIT Programme awards three years of funding and career support to highly qualified postdoctoral researchers in Austria. Paul Murphy, postdoc in the lab of Tim Clausen, was now accepted into the programme.
Paul Murphy joined the IMP in 2020 after an unusual career path. A trained horticulturalist and landscaper from Ireland, Murphy started his studies in molecular biology in Nijmegen, the Netherlands, at the age of 26, finishing off with a project at the University of Dundee in Scotland with chemical biologist Satpal Virdee. He stayed in Dundee and pursued his doctoral studies in chemical biology and biochemistry with Ron Hay.
“Towards the end of my PhD, I had no specific plan for the future. But then I received a brochure from the IMP and found out about Tim’s exciting work on the ubiquitin system. I contacted him and he invited me for a postdoc interview,” Murphy says.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that is passed between enzymes to end up on undesirable proteins as a degradation label. The proteins that carry this label are chopped up in peptides and recycled. Paul Murphy and his colleagues in the lab of Tim Clausen investigate the structure and functions of large enzymes that transfer ubiquitin – E3 ubiquitin ligases – and collaborate with cell biologists to understand the link between faulty ligases and cellular defects.
“The ESPRIT Programme will give me the financial and career support that I’ll need for the next three years. It’s a huge relief to have that kind of security,” Murphy says. “I can’t wait to run my experiments on our newly acquired Krios G4 and to apply my knowledge in cryo-Electron Microscopy to bring my project to fruition. I feel very lucky with this timing.”