Research Associate/Fellow - Synthetic Biologist/Molecular Biologist, UK

The Synthetic Biology Research Centre (SBRC) at the University of Nottingham is seeking a creative and motivated metabolic engineering scientist and/or synthetic biologist to work on developing gas-fermenting microbial chassis for sustainable bioproduction of chemicals and fuels.

SBRC Nottingham, established by BBSRC/EPSRC with more than £14 million funding, is working at the frontiers of UK academic and industrial research with the aim to accelerate the application of Engineering and Synthetic Biology technologies to directly capture carbon by exploiting the ability of autotrophic bacteria to fix C1-gases (carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide or methane) and convert them into platform chemicals such as hydrocarbons (e.g. ethylene and isoprene), carboxylic acids (e.g. 3-hydroxypropionic acid) and others. The gas-fermenting aerobic and anaerobic bacterial chassis are being used as primary engineering platforms.

SBRC Nottingham seek a candidate to work on chassis that are anaerobic acetogens, such as Clostridium autoethanogenum, Eubacterium limosum or Acetobacterium woodii. You should hold a PhD (pending or awarded) in a discipline relevant to microbial strain engineering or synthetic biology. Past experience in metabolic engineering or/and synthetic biology of microbial species is essential. A knowledge of advanced genome editing, high-throughput -omics techniques and/or metabolic pathway analysis would be desirable.

Main responsibilities:

  • To plan and conduct research using recognised approaches, methodologies and techniques within synthetic biology and metabolic engineering to support the development of SBRC objectives and proposals for own and/or collaborative research area;
  • To perform the metabolic chassis engineering, develop and used advanced genetic engineering, as well as high-throughput experimentation;
  • To ensure all research undertaken conforms to Responsible Research Innovation (RRI) practices as defined by the SBRC Core Management team;
  • To analyse and illuminate data, interpret reports, evaluate and criticise texts and bring new insights to research area;
  • To contribute to writing up research findings for publication in leading journals;
  • To assist with the preparation of proposals and applications to both external and/or internal bodies for funding, contractual or accreditation purposes;
  • To contribute to the preparation of internal and external written reports and presentations to the sponsors;
  • To build internal and/or external contacts to develop knowledge and understanding, forming relationships for future collaborations;
  • To provide guidance as required to support staff and students, where appropriate in own area of expertise;
  • To collaborate with academic colleagues on areas of shared interest for example, course development, collaborative or joint research projects;
  • To plan and manage own research activity and resolve problems, if required, in meeting own/team research objectives and deadlines in collaboration with others;
  • To utilise and contribute to organising research resources and facilities, laboratories and workshops as appropriate;
  • To play an active role in outreach activities designed to promote public engagement in the science being undertaken within the SBRC;
  • Where appropriate, to make a contribution to teaching, for example through laboratory demonstrations, lectures to postgraduate workshops and delivery of Level 1 modules to the SBRC DTC and/or BBSRC DTP;
  • Any other duties as assigned by the SBRC Director.

Knowledge, Skills, Qualifications & Experience


  • PhD or equivalent (pending or awarded) in a discipline relevant to Synthetic Biology or Metabolic Engineering.



  • Strong background and expertise in anaerobic microbial genetics and/or physiology;
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills, including the ability to communicate with clarity on complex information;
  • Evidence of sufficient breadth or depth of research methodologies and techniques to work in Synthetic Biology;
  • Developing research skills, with the ability to creatively apply relevant research approaches, models, techniques and methods;
  • Ability to contribute to method improvement;
  • Analytical ability to facilitate conceptual thinking, innovation and creativity;
  • Ability to build relationships and collaborate with others, internally and externally;


  • Knowledge of key concepts of:
    • metabolic networks and gene regulation;
    • genetic modification;
    • responsible research innovation (RRI).
  • Application and use of microbial fermentation;
  • Ability to assess and organise resource requirements and deploy effectively;
  • Ability to foster a research culture and commitment to learn in others;
  • High analytical ability to analyse and illuminate data, interpret reports, evaluate and criticise texts and bring new insights.



  • Experience of metabolic engineering through the use of bio-parts, in-silico design and analytical capabilities;
  • Research experience in the modification/exploitation of a microbial process or attribute for the purpose of strain engineering;
  • Ability to develop and apply new concepts;
  • Working in a similar research environment;


  • Interaction with computational/mathematical modellers and/or bioinformaticians;
  • Track record in academic publication;
  • Supervising or helping with the supervision of research students.

Informal enquiries may be addressed to Nigel P Minton. Email Please note that applications sent directly to this Email address will not be accepted

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