Postdoctoral Researcher - Plant Synthetic Biology

Salary range:

£30,750 - £37,750

Post No.


Job Type:

Postdoctoral Researcher

Contract length:

36 months


Engineering Biology

Opening date:

22 February 2017

Closing date:

03 April 2017

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We have an opportunity for an outstanding post-doctoral scientist within the Patron Group at the Earlham Institute (EI) to work on a collaborative project with the O'Connor group at the John Innes Centre (JIC). The candidate must have a comprehensive understanding of methods used in heterologous gene expression, a good understanding of plant secondary metabolism and laboratory skills in molecular biology and biochemistry.

The project aims to improve heterologous plant production chassis and to contribute to our understanding of how the rich endogenous metabolism of plants detoxifies foreign molecules. Specifically, the post holder will use RNA-guided Cas9 and virus-induced gene silencing to introduce mutations and downregulate endogenous genes predicted to interfere with or prevent heterologous expression of proteins and metabolites. This will pave the way for more effective plant production chassis for efficient production of proteins and small molecules, including vaccines and human therapies.

The Patron Group is taking a synthetic biology approach to study the function of DNA sequences and to develop molecular tools and genome engineering technologies for photosynthetic organisms. We aim to engineer photosynthetic organisms for the biosynthesis of materials and therapeutics and to improve plants for increased production and nutritive value. We are also interested in the societal impacts of synthetic biology, particularly in the complex intellectual property and licensing issues that surround genetic sequences and natural products. We believe in open and responsible innovation and are engaged with efforts to extend this ethos to bioresources and bioengineering.

The O'Connor group is developing approaches to elucidate and engineer specialised plant metabolism to understand the fundamental chemical, biological and evolutionary processes that underlie the biosynthesis of these complex molecules. Additionally, we develop platforms that allow fast and inexpensive production of these compounds as well as platforms to produce unnatural variants of these products.

The successful applicant will have a PhD in Molecular Biology, Biochemistry, Biological Chemistry, Plant Biology, Synthetic Biology, or a related subject. Experience in molecular cloning, genotyping and expression analyses are all essential, and experience with LC- and GC-based mass spectrometry metabolomics are desirable.

From the Patron Group.