Job description and selection criteria
Senior Research Scientist in Synthetic biology and single cell biology
Synthetic biology and single cell biology
Environment and Biotechnology
Professor Wei Huang
A competitive remuneration package will apply
Fixed-term (3 years), with the possibility of extension.
20 April, 2020
Application closing date
31 March, 2020
The group is focused on single cell biotechnology and synthetic biology. In OSCAR, single cell biotechnology will be applied to the discovery of novel genes from natural environment and to personalised medicine. Synthetic biology will be applied to medical therapy and bioremediation. Please see above published papers for the background technology.
The vision of single cell Raman biotechnology is that single cell Raman spectra can be regarded as novel phenotype of individual cells, reflecting the physiological state and function of cells. The vision of synthetic biology is that cells are designable from scratch using novel SimCells, which inherits machinery of cells with designed and simplified genomes. SimCells are basically reprogrammable cells without GMO issues.
The main job duties of this post-holder will include: 1) overseeing synthetic biology and systems biology research and supporting single cell biotechnology; 2) developing mathematic models to simulate the performance of gene expression; 3) designing gene circuits for SimCells and predict the performance, 4) applying SimCells to medical diagnosis and therapy and environmental bioremediation.
The research will include two topics: 1) SimCell design using synthetic biology approach for environmental bioremediation, medical diagnosis and therapy. 2) Application of single cell biotechnology to stem cells, cancer cells and bacterial pathogens. The research will work closely with Prof Ian Thompson, Prof Ron Roy, Prof Zhanfeng Cui and Prof Hua Ye in OSCAR, as well as Chinese partners.
- Oversee both synthetic biology and single cell biology research in OSCAR and coordinate with Oxford team.
- Carry out microbiology, molecular biology, cell biology research, including gene manipulations, molecular cloning, protein expression and purification, and analysis of cell physiology.
- Apply synthetic biology principles and systems biology to SimCell design including genetic circuit and pathway design.
- Carry out bioinformatics analysis.
- Characterise SimCells and identify the limiting factors to SimCells functions.
- Perform ultrasound gene transfer technology, including gene delivery to microbial community.
- Support the project team in integrating activities across the partner organisations, including liaison between research teams and carry out administrative roles as required.
- Prepare summary technical and progress review reports for project steering meetings, including preparation and delivery of oral presentations at such meetings.
- Prepare papers for journals, presentations and other research outputs either in-house or at national/international conferences or seminars, to disseminate research findings.
- Contribute to the maintenance of the project web pages for the consortium.
- Provide help to other researchers in the same or related field of research, as requested by the project PI.
- Read academic papers, journals and textbooks and attend conferences to keep up-to-date with new developments in the field
- Undertake other duties to be assigned by the project team, as required.
- Adapt existing and develop new scientific techniques and experimental protocols
- Test hypotheses and analyse scientific data from a variety of sources, reviewing and refining working hypotheses as appropriate
- Use specialist scientific equipment in a laboratory environment
- Coordinate OSCAR activity with PI and Oxford research team, in particular the synthetic biology team lead by Professors Ian Thompson, Ron Roy, Zhanfeng Cui and Hua Ye.
- Manage own academic research and administrative activities. This involves small scale project management, to co-ordinate multiple aspects of work to meet deadlines.
- Contribute ideas for new research projects.
- Develop ideas for generating research income, and present detailed research proposals to senior researchers.
- Collaborate in the preparation of scientific reports and journal articles and occasionally present papers and posters.
- Act as a source of information and advice to other members of the group on scientific protocols and experimental techniques.
- Represent the research group at external meetings/seminars, either with other members of the group and collaborative industrial partners.
- Carry out collaborative projects with colleagues in partner institutions, and research groups and in particular with industry.
- The post may have the opportunity to teach or undertake ad-hoc paid teaching (this includes lecturing, demonstrating, small-group teaching, tutoring of undergraduates and graduate students and supervision of Masters projects in collaboration with principal investigators). Permission must be sought in advance for each opportunity and the total must not exceed 4 hours a week.
- Strong background on molecular microbiology or biochemistry or cell biology.
- Good background on synthetic biology and systems biology.
- Hold a relevant PhD/DPhil (or be near completion), together with relevant experience
- Possess sufficient specialist knowledge in the discipline to work within established research programmes and help train/supervise junior members of the lab.
- Ability to manage own academic research and associated activities
- Previous experience of contributing to publications/presentations
- Ability to contribute ideas for new research projects and research income generation
- Excellent communication skills, including the ability to write for publication, present research proposals and results, and represent the research group at meetings
- Experience and good record on synthetic biology and systems biology.
- Experience on single cell biology.
- Familiar with bioinformatics and gene/protein data analysis.
- Experience of independently managing a discrete area of a research project
- Experience of actively collaborating in the development of research articles for publication
- Xu, J., Zhu, D., Ibrahim, A.D., Allen, C.R., Gibson, C.M. Fowler, P.W., Song, Y. Huang, W.E. (2017) Raman-DIP (Deuterium Isotope Probing) reveals microbial metabolism at the single-cell level. Analytical Chemistry 89:13305-13312.
- Rampley, C.P.N., Davison, P.A., Qian, P., Preston, G.M., Hunter, C.N., Thompson, P.I., Wu, L.J., Huang, W.E. (2017) Development of SimCells as a novel chassis for functional biosensors. Scientific Reports 7: 7261.
- Song, Y., Kaster, A., Vollmers, J., Song, Y., Davison, P.A., Frentrup, M., Preston, G.M., Thompson, I.P., Murrell, J.C., Yin, H., Hunter, C.N., Huang, W.E. (2017) Single cell genomics based on Raman sorting reveals novel carotenoid-containing bacteria in the Red Sea. Microbial Biotechnology. 10:125-137. (Top 1% paper in Web Science)
- Berry, D., Mader, E., Woebken, D., Wang, Y., Zhu, D., Lee, T.K. Palatinszky, M., Schintlmeister, A., Schmid, M., Shterzer, N., Mizrahi, I., Rauch, I., Decker, T., Bocklitzg, T., Popp, J., Gibson, C.M., Fowler, P.W., Huang, W.E., Wagner, M. (2015) Tracking heavy water (D2O) incorporation for identifying and sorting active microbial cells. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 112:E194-203. (Top 1% paper in Web Science)
- Li et al., (2012) Rapid resonance Raman microspectroscopy to probe carbon dioxide fixation by single cells in microbial communities. ISME Journal 6:875-885.
- Song, Y.Z., Hahn, T., Thompson, I.P., Mason, T.J., Preston, G.M., Li, G.H. Paniwnyk, L. and Huang, W.E.*. (2007) Ultrasound-mediated DNA transfer for bacteria. Nucleic Acids Research 35: e129.
- Yizhi Song, Guanghe Li, Steven F. Thornton, Ian P. Thompson, Steven A. Banwart, David N. Lerner and Huang, W.E.* (2009) Optimization of Bacterial Whole Cell Bioreporters for Toxicity Assay of Environmental Samples. Environmental Science & Technology 43: 7931-7938.
- Huang, W.E., Wang, H., Zheng, H.J., Huang, L.F., Singer, A.C., Thompson, I., and Whiteley, A.S. (2005) Chromosomally located gene fusions constructed in Acinetobacter sp. ADP1 for the detection of salicylate. Environmental Microbiology 7: 1339-1348.
- Huang, W.E.*, Griffiths, R.I., Thompson, I.P., Bailey, M.J., and Whiteley, A.S. (2004) Raman microscopic analysis of single microbial cells. Analytical Chemistry 76: 4452-4458.
- Alkane production - Biodiesel Synthesis by Bacteria, WO2013/128184.
About OSCAR (Oxford Suzhou Centre for Advanced Research)
OSCAR, the first overseas research centre of the University of Oxford, is working closely with the Suzhou Industrial Park and both academic and industrial collaborators in China to progress a range of exciting societal and economic development opportunities.
As a multidisciplinary research, innovation and technology centre, OSCAR focuses on research challenges and technologies that both complement the Centre’s location in Suzhou Industrial Park and capitalise on current Oxford research strengths. Research will initially be focused around the areas of biomedical engineering, biomedicine, advanced functional materials, electronic / optoelectronic / photonic devices, environmental technology, energy, mathematical and computational applications in finance and in health, and other related science and engineering disciplines.
The Centre is positioned in Suzhou Dushu Lake Science and Education Innovation District (SEID), a district in southern SIP with a high concentration of science, education and innovation activity. SEID is the prototype of higher education internationalization in China which hosts 32 local and foreign universities and institutions. The Centre, housed in a nine-storey building with a gross space of 20,000m2, offers flexible access to facilities for multi-functional activities such as labs, seminars, workshops, training, public events, and administration, etc.
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Oxford Suzhou Centre for Advanced Research