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Algal Synthetic Biology Postdoctoral Scholar
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, California
Date Posted 10/15/2020
Admin-Other Administrative Positions
Employment Type
Application Deadline Open until filled

Lawrence Berkeley National Lab’s ( LBNL ) Joint Genome Institute ( JGI ) Division has an opening to join the team to work on an Algal Synthetic project.

In this exciting role, you will construct a series of chassis strains containing landing pads for the efficient expression of proteins directly from the organism’s genome. We will validate the engineered strains by delivering non-native genes whose expression will enable the production of biopolymer precursors from intermediate metabolites of the shikimate pathway to the landing site. Specifically, we seek to develop algal strains capable of synthesizing elevated and modulated levels of shikimate-derived metabolites that represent valuable platform chemicals.

As primary producers, microalgae have the potential to transform the solar-based bioeconomy. These phototrophs can be grown robustly on non-arable land or in unconventional environments, and many species grow quickly, produce high levels of biofuel precursors, can be harvested year-round, and naturally synthesize desirable commodities whose co-production can offset costs. However, challenges still exist that impede the realization of cheap, sustainable algal bioproduction. Genome-scale engineering- enabled systems are needed to overcome such barriers.


What You Will Do:

  • Work closely with other project team members to design and assemble genetic components, integrate into algal genomes, assess the expression of heterogeneously expressed genes and analytical assessment of metabolite production:

    • Work in a multi-disciplinary with expertise in algal genomics, metabolic engineering, and metabolomics to build and assess developed strains.

    • Design and perform engineering (gene manipulation, genome editing) of microbial systems.

    • Develop and perform biochemical assays, ‘omic analyses.

    • Analyze, interpret, and communicate findings in regular group meetings and project team conference calls.

  • Keep precise and detailed laboratory notebooks, maintain and manage all resources (e.g. vectors, strains, digital data) generated throughout the project.

  • Communicate findings via publications and national meetings.


What Is Required:

  • Ph.D. degree in the relevant fields in Molecular Biology, Microbiology, Synthetic biology or similar. 

  • Detailed knowledge of genome engineering, DNA assembly and handling microbial cultures.

  • Motivation to work independently and as part of a team.

  • Ability to successfully work in a dynamic, inclusive, team environment. 

  • Strong written and oral communication skills as documented by seminars/presentations.


Additional Desired Qualifications:

  • Experience of high throughput assay development and laboratory automation systems (liquid handlers, robotic colony pickers etc.).

  • Experience in algal biology.

  • Experience in metabolomics.


The posting shall remain open until the position is filled.



  • This is a full time, 1 year, appointment with the possibility of renewal based upon satisfactory job performance, continuing availability of funds and ongoing operational needs. You must have less than 4 years paid postdoctoral experience. 

  • M-F, exempt (monthly paid) from overtime pay.

  • This position is represented by a union for collective bargaining purposes.

  • This position may be subject to a background check. Any convictions will be evaluated to determine if they directly relate to the responsibilities and requirements of the position. Having a conviction history will not automatically disqualify an applicant from being considered for employment.

  • Work will be primarily performed at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, 1 Cyclotron Road, Berkeley, CA.


Learn About Us:

JGI & Berkeley Lab: A View to Fuel Innovative Science in the Public Interest

They say it’s all about location and Berkeley Lab has it all: a view above the San Francisco Bay, cool breezes, and world-class multidisciplinary science within a diverse and respectful research ecosystem of 5,000 people. Nearly 90 years ago, Ernest Orlando Lawrence, the inventor of the cyclotron, brought physicists, biologists, engineers and mathematicians together in Berkeley above the University of California campus to tackle the most urgent scientific challenges. Today, after garnering 13 Nobel Prizes, Berkeley Lab has sustained and grown that tradition of open, interdisciplinary team science, exemplified by how the U.S. Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute (JGI) addresses the most pressing energy and environmental challenges using integrative genome science approaches. JGI takes up residence in the new, state-of-the-art Integrative Genomics Building (IGB) along with the U.S. Department of Energy Systems Biology Knowledgebase (KBase) to expand the frontiers of energy and environmental science in partnership with the worldwide community of researchers. Will you join us and be a critical part of our next ground-breaking discoveries?

Berkeley Lab (LBNL) addresses the world’s most urgent scientific challenges by advancing sustainable energy, protecting human health, creating new materials, and revealing the origin and fate of the universe. Founded in 1931, Berkeley Lab’s scientific expertise has been recognized with 13 Nobel prizes. The University of California manages Berkeley Lab for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science.

Working at Berkeley Lab has many rewards including a competitive compensation program, excellent health and welfare programs, a retirement program that is second to none, and outstanding development opportunities.  To view information about the many rewards that are offered at Berkeley Lab- Click Here .

Equal Employment Opportunity: Berkeley Lab is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, age, or protected veteran status. Berkeley Lab is in compliance with the Pay Transparency Nondiscrimination Provision under 41 CFR 60-1.4.  Click here to view the poster and supplement: "Equal Employment Opportunity is the Law.

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory encourages applications from women, minorities, veterans, and other underrepresented groups presently considering scientific research careers.

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