Research Associate (RA) in Chemical Synthetic Biology

Posting Closing Date: September 30, 2021

Expected Start Date: October 1, 2021

Job Description:

Newly established Tier 1 Canada Research Chair (CRC) in Chemical Synthetic Biology in the Department of Chemistry (see: has a mission of founding the Canadian Center for Chemical Synthetic Biology (CCCSB) to establish and foster world-class research excellence in Synthetic Biology in Canada. The established CRC aligns with the University’s strategic research plan that identifies High Performance Complex Biological Scaffolds, Structures and Processes as a targeted research area ( ). These new protein-based modules will be used in microbial cell factories, composite multi-enzyme cascades, energy storage, auto parts, water filters, bioelectronic computers and sensors, coatings, electromagnetic shielding, electronic circuit scaffolds including thin-film electronics, renewable energy sources for fine chemistry and pharmaceutical production or soil remediation, mining and fertilization and much more. In this context, we are searching for a highly motivated candidate with an outstanding interdisciplinary expertise (acquired during PhD and Postdoc work) and motivation to work at the interface between cell biology, molecular biology of proteins, ribosomally synthetized peptides (preferably for biomedical applications) and the expanded genetic code. Besides the proof of strong publication record in these research areas, the recommendations of prominent researches in the field of structural biology, expanded genetic code, and biochemistry (work in molecular biology of proteins in particular) are highly desirable. The position is limited to three years (beginning at October 1st, 2021), but could be extended by successful grant applications. Salary and will be commensurate with experience and qualifications.


Under the direction of the CRC the individual will conduct independent research to combine directional evolution, biosystem engineering, and extension of the genetic code to create new biomaterials based on complex biological scaffolds and architectures for various practical applications. First and foremost, the task is the development of recombinant proteins for bone surgery and wound healing followed by the development of biological nanodevices for materials science and various technologies. The work will be focused on coupling genetic-code expansion with artificial metabolism in the context of bio-contained bacterial cell factories. With this technology, the production of mussel bio-adhesives which are protein-based natural polymeric materials with the potential to revolutionize small-bone surgery and wound healing will be achieved. Task2: Planned work include the design of nanodevices that should allow the application of bioorthogonal chemistries to genetically encoded scaffolds (based on bacterial flagella, archaeal S-layers, viral particles and whole cells) by using inexpensive starting materials. This research is expected to be essential to provide innovative scientific and technological solutions to the problems that cannot be solved under current conventional methods (e.g., carbon-based nanotubes). Here, the expertise in recombinant DNA technology and bioorthogonal chemistries is crucial.


Successfully completed PhD in biochemistry, biocatalysis or a related field with excellent scientific performance in the above-mentioned research areas. Excellent knowledge and know-how in the most advanced methods of molecular cloning, library design and screening with industrially highly relevant enzymes (including their immobilization) and protein-based complexes (device assembly, such as multi-enzyme cascades or nanocarriers for efficient anti-cancer drug delivery) is desirable. In addition, analytical capabilities in screening, extraction and purification as well as structure elucidation of bio-based materials with medicinal properties are of particular importance. In addition, the experience in the metagenomic search for enzymes and bioactive compounds in exotic habitats (e.g. salt lakes) and archaeal species and their bioinformatics are very beneficial. Finally, interdisciplinary work and communication with various specialists in the fields of biocatalysis, enzyme engineering, biomaterials research, molecular biology and biomedicine, including the interest in academic exchange with students attending postgraduate courses, are important prerequisites.

How to Apply:

To apply, please send a CV, a publication list, a description of relevant experience (ideally all merged in a single PDF), and have three reference letters sent by email to Review of applications will begin April 19, 2021 and will continue until the position is filled.

The University of Manitoba is strongly committed to equity and diversity within its community and especially welcomes applications from women, racialized persons, Indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities, persons of all sexual and gender identities, and others who may contribute to the further diversification of ideas. All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however, Canadian citizens and permanent residents will be given priority. If you require accommodation supports during the recruitment process, please contact or 204-474-7195. Please note this contact information is for accommodation reasons only.

Application materials, including letters of reference, will be handled in accordance with the protection of privacy provision of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy (Manitoba). Please note that curriculum vitae may be provided to participating members of the search process.