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Synthetic Biology Postdoctoral Fellow (Genetically Encoded Material Synthesis)

Job Description

Berkeley Lab’s Joint Genome Institute (JGI) is looking for a talented Synthetic Biology Postdoctoral Fellow to join the Yoshikuni Group and develop biological 3D fabrication platforms for synthesis of complex and potentially valuable genetically encoded composite materials (GECO).


For the present study, we selected hydroxyapatite (HAP) GECOs as models. These GECOs are produced by many organisms (they make up bones and teeth, and outer shells of some marine organisms). However, their biosynthesis processes remain poorly understood. Therefore, successful delivery of the 3D fabrication platform could also provide:


Strategies to identify, characterize, and catalog genes and pathways controlling transport, modification, and synthesis of these GECOs

Testbeds to study and improve our knowledge of assembly mechanisms of these GEM formation


Additionally, the resulting GECOs should provide new opportunities for downstream applications (e.g., lightweight strong materials which can potentially replace plastics and alloys). Furthermore, the knowledge obtained through this project will be directly applicable to making other types of GECOs.


What You Will Do:

  • Metabolic engineering and fermentation of HAP production.
  • Identify, characterize, and catalog genes and pathways controlling transport, modification, and synthesis or these GECOs.
  • Study mechanisms and develop a means to control size, shape, and phase of HAP-based GECOs.
  • Characterization of HAP-based GECOs.


What is Required:

  • A recent Ph.D. in Biochemistry, Chemical Engineering, Bioengineering, or a related field.
  • Experience with molecular biology techniques (molecular cloning, DNA/RNA extraction, PCR, gel electrophoresis).
  • Experience with biochemical characterization of enzymes (protein purification, specific activity, steady state kinetics).
  • Experience with sequence based enzyme analysis (e.g., BLAST, pfam search, Multiple Sequence Alignment, tree construction, visualization).
  • Strong oral and written communication skills including the ability to efficiently organize technical information for publication and presentation.
  • Effective interpersonal skills including the ability to interact with a diverse technical and scientific staff within a collaborative interdisciplinary team environment.


For full consideration, please apply by August 15, 2022 with the following application materials:

  • Cover Letter - Describe your interest in this position and the relevance of your background.
  • Curriculum Vitae (CV) or Resume.



  • This is a full time, exempt from overtime pay (monthly paid), 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 of paid postdoctoral experience. 
  • This position is represented by a union for collective bargaining purposes with predetermined postdoctoral step rates dependent on years of experience post-degree.
  • Salary is commensurate with experience.
  • 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.
  • This position will be performed on site at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, 1 Cyclotron Road, Berkeley, CA.


Learn About Us:


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.


Berkeley Lab’s Postdoc Program is committed to providing Postdoctoral Researchers and Visiting scholars with a positive and impactful experience to jump-start their career through premium research and career development, networking opportunities, mentoring programs, and a strong community.  For more information, please visit our Berkeley Lab Postdoc Resources site and our Berkeley Lab Postdoc Association site.


Based on University of California Policy - SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) Vaccination Program and U.S Federal Government requirements, Berkeley Lab requires that all members of our community obtain the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as they are eligible. As a condition of employment at Berkeley Lab, all Covered Individuals must Participate in the COVID-19 Vaccination Program by providing proof of Full Vaccination or submitting a request for Exception or Deferral. Visit covid.lbl.gov for more information.


Berkeley Lab is committed to Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accountability (IDEA) and strives to continue building community with these shared values and commitments.


Berkeley Lab is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Employer. We heartily welcome applications from women, minorities, veterans, and all who would contribute to the Lab’s mission of leading scientific discovery, inclusion, and professionalism. In support of our diverse global community, all qualified applicants will be considered for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, age, or protected veteran status.


Equal Opportunity and IDEA Information Links:

Know your rights, click here for the supplement: "Equal Employment Opportunity is the Law" and the Pay Transparency Nondiscrimination Provision under 41 CFR 60-1.4.

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