Postdoctoral Research Fellow
“Superbugs…these are our babies…now they have body piercings and anger” - House, TV Show
According to the World Health Organisation antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest threats to global health, food security, and development today. The prevalent use of modern antibiotics over the last century has led to a bacterial arms race with increasingly potent infections proving more difficult to treat as each year passes. As the efficacy of our current armoury of antibiotics wanes, hospital stays lengthen, medical costs rise and without urgent action we will soon enter a post-antibiotic world where common infections will kill once again. While there are some new antibiotics in development, none of them are expected to be effective against the most dangerous forms of antibiotic-resistant bacteria of the future.
Is there a possible response that could safeguard humanity? Professor Alfonso Jaramillo thinks so and his lab at the University of Warwick is working hard to provide such a solution. It is a multidisciplinary lab that develops novel automated methodologies for design optimisation using computers, viruses or living cells for use in Phage Therapy. The ambition is the eventual development of synthetic phages, powerful antimicrobials which if their work proves successful will herald a new age in the fight against bacterium. Progress of the lab since 2013 has been steady with the foundations already laid of new technologies (computational and experimental) for the engineering of biomolecules. The key current focus is on the creation of automated algorithms that enable directed evolution in support of the difficult design phase of Synthetic Biology, by developing a general methodology for the de novo engineering of synthetic RNA parts and circuits it is hoped they will work robustly as targeted in a given cellular context.
The goal of the lab is to achieve proof of concept within the next 3 years. By working at the interface of molecular biology, combinatorial optimisation, microfluidics, directed evolution and 3D printing it is hoped that reaching this goal will accelerate more synthetic biology research globally thus enhancing our ability to combat diseases of the future.
This is where you come in, as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow we need your expertise to help build the lab’s research capability. You will form part of a high profile international team with labs in Warwick and ISSB in France. Your contribution to the lab’s body of knowledge in support of the goal of reaching proof of concept will have a direct impact on one of the most urgent health threats facing humanity.
If the vision and ambition of what we are trying to achieve has caught your attention here is what the immediate task is all about.
Creative Problem Solving - Breaking new ground, solving problems that don’t yet exist, crafting and designing new experiments, developing a disruptive methodology to create new molecules and phages different to anything currently known.
Research Output - Writing high quality publications in support of the research activity. The project provides an excellent training opportunity at the interface between synthetic systems and biology which is key to modern biotechnology research. It is intended that the successful applicant will, through their work in the post, gain considerable new technical and analytical experience in a key area. They will also gain transferable skills in science communication, research planning and administration.
Project Management - Playing a key role in organising a cooperative, distributed project, enabling effective interaction.
We are looking for a self-motivated and highly talented Postdoctoral Researcher who is looking to make a real impact and positive contribution to humanity with their career. Designing and engineering phages is very different from isolating and studying them, as such we need a creative outlook and daringness to explore the new - so mavericks apply here. In terms of previous experience, we ideally would like to find a PhD with working knowledge of bacteriophages and phage engineering. However, as a multidisciplinary project we would also welcome applications from PhDs with an emphasis in Synthetic Biology, Biophysics, Biomolecular Science and Engineering, Biochemistry, Bacteriology and or related research experience. A strong track record with first class publications is a must.
Our unique offer is bound to our mission, this truly is a fantastic chance to join a world class research project, grow your own skills, develop your career and save humanity at the same time.
Interested candidates should apply through:
Deadline: August 31st, 2017.