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[Closing Date TBC] Postdoctoral Research Fellow on engineering synthetic phage (Jaramillo Lab, Warwick University)

The goal of the Jaramillo lab is to achieve proof of concept for synthetic phages 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.

From Warwick University:

“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.

More information >> [PDF] 

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The Synthetic Biology Strategic Research Initiative provides a hub for anyone interested in Synthetic Biology at the University of Cambridge, including researchers, commercial partners and external collaborators. 

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