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Research Fellow at University of Warwick

We are looking for a Postdoctoral Research Fellow (PDRA) to join our interdisciplinary team on an exciting collaborative project between the Soyer (UK) and Wenying (US) research groups and funded by the BBSRC and the NSF and will be looking to strengthen the team with another post to be hired next year. These two PDRAs will be responsible for establishing quantitative methods for measuring cellular microenvironment and metabolic excretions, and using the resulting data to develop a biophysical model of cellular metabolism. The two positions will be overlapped in this 4-year project, allowing transfer of skills and expertise. Both PDRAs will have a working understanding of systems and synthetic biology approaches, and should ideally have experience both in modelling and experimental methods.
Microbial communities are ubiquitous, and are critical players in mediating host health and disease and in the cycling of elements in ecosystems. Metabolic interactions between species impact community function and stability. However, the emergence and evolution of metabolic interactions is poorly understood. In this project, we will take advantage of tractable synthetic yeast communities and mathematical modeling to experimentally and theoretically study the origin and evolution of metabolic interactions. 

We will undertake a fully integrated, collaborative approach that combines the expertise of US and UK groups on metabolic modelling, synthetic biology, and microbial ecology and evolution. More particularly, we will develop mathematical models of cell metabolism and metabolic overflows. We will parameterize and validate these models against experimental data from natural and engineered interactions among yeast cells. We will then embed the tested model within an in silico evolution framework to simulate evolution, and predict how initial community conditions (e.g. nutrient environment, genotypes, and initial species interactions) will affect the evolution of new metabolic interactions. 

Candidates should have a working understanding of systems and synthetic biology approaches and expertise with both modelling and experimental study of microbial systems and cell metabolism. Experience in mathematical modelling is required, as well as experience or working understanding of experimental methods to be used in this project (e.g. targeted metabolomics, fluorescence microscopy, population dynamics tracking within chemostats, and laboratory evolution). 

If you have not yet been awarded your PhD but are near submission or have recently submitted your PhD, any offers of employment will be made as Research Assistant on level 5 of the University grade structure (£29,515). Upon successful award of your PhD and evidence of this fact, you will be promoted to Research Fellow on the first point of level 6 of the University grade structure (£30,395 pa).
Job Description
JOB PURPOSE 

Undertake research in order to support the work of the department and develop and enhance its reputation, both internally and externally. Assist the Project Leader and, where appropriate, project collaborators in the successful execution of the project. 

DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES 

Research 

• Help establish a sound research base within the department in order to assist the development of research objectives and proposals for own or joint research. 
• Conduct individual and collaborative research projects. 
• To publish research outcomes in appropriate journals of international standing and to publish and disseminate the result of research to other reputable outlets. 
• Translate knowledge of advances in the subject area into research activity. 
• May contribute to preparing proposals and applications to external bodies, e.g. for funding and contractual purposes, to support a developing research agenda. 
• May present information on research progress and outcomes to bodies supervising research, e.g. steering groups. 
• May contribute to the preparation of papers for steering groups and other bodies. 
• Communicate complex information (orally and in writing) and material of a specialist or highly technical nature. 
• Continually update own knowledge and understanding in field or specialism. 

Teaching and Learning Support 

• Could be expected to contribute to the teaching and learning programmes in the department. 
• Assist in the supervision of student projects and the development of student research skills. 
• May be involved in the assessment of student knowledge and supervision of projects. 

Administration and Other Activities 

• May be required to attend departmental meetings and to participate (where necessary) in other committees and working groups within the department, the faculty and the University. 
• Ensure compliance with health and safety in all aspects of work. 
• Work within budget constraints. 

The duties and responsibilities outlined are not intended to be an exhaustive list but provide guidance on the main aspects of the job. You will be required to be flexible in your duties.
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The Synthetic Biology Strategic Research Initiative provides a hub for anyone interested in Synthetic Biology at the University of Cambridge, as well as commercial partners and external collaborators.