[Closes 18 July 2017] OpenPlant PDRA: synthetic biology of riboswitches for plant and algal biotechnology

Prof. Alison Smith is recruiting for an OpenPlant postdoc position generating novel regulatory elements based on riboswitches for plant and algal biotechnology.

Applications are invited for a position in Prof. Alison Smith's lab as part of the Cambridge OpenPlant Synthetic Biology CentreOpenPlant is a joint initiative between the University of Cambridge, John Innes Centre, TSL and the Earlham Institute, funded by BBSRC and EPSRC, which promotes interdisciplinary exchange, open technologies and responsible innovation for sustainable agriculture and conservation.

This position is aimed a. Riboswitches are sequences within the mRNA that respond to metabolites or other small molecules to alter production of the encoded protein, and offer flexible and tuneable elements to control transgene expression.

You will join the multidisciplinary team in central Cambridge at the Department of Plant Sciences, where the group focuses on a range of algal molecular biology and biotechnology projects. The principal tasks will be:

  1. To identify riboswitches from diverse organisms that have already been characterised and shown to regulate transgene expression in their native hosts. These RNA sensors will be used in the generation of new expression platforms that allow metabolite-inducible expression of transgenes. To meet this objective the design, construction and testing of the different elements of these expression platforms will follow synthetic biology principled approaches.
  2. To test the responsiveness of the different riboswitchesfor the control of transgene expression in different photosynthetic eukaryotic organisms (including microalgae and plants).

Experience in recombinant DNA techniques is essential. Knowledge of systems or synthetic biology is highly desirable, as is familiarity with microbiology, metabolic engineering, and/or metabolism. The successful candidate should have the capacity to communicate effectively, work as part of a team, and take a lead role in the design and execution of the research programme as required. In addition, the postholder will be expected to be involved in supporting junior scientists in the laboratory. You should hold a PhD in a relevant subject.

Where the successful applicant does not yet have a PhD, they will normally be under-appointed as a Research Assistant in a Research Associate post (on the understanding that they will be appointed as a Research Associate upon successful completion of their PhD).

  • Salary: £25,298-£29,301 or £30,175-£38,183
  • Fixed-term: The funds for this post are available until 2 September 2019 in the first instance.
  • Closing date: 18 July 2017

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