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Engineering Biology in Cambridge


Applications are invited for a Post-doctoral Research Associate position in the group of Professor Paul Dupree, Department of Biochemistry, University of Cambridge, to study plant cell wall polysaccharide engineering.

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Closing Date 10 August 2016


The position is part of the OpenPlant project ( OpenPlant is a BBSRC-EPSRC funded Synthetic Biology Research Centre. It is a collaboration between the University of Cambridge, the John Innes Centre and The Sainsbury Laboratory Norwich in the United Kingdom. The successful candidate will benefit from participating in a vibrant network of scientists in all three institutes.

The research group of Paul Dupree is interested in the synthesis and function of plant cell wall polysaccharides. We now understand some of the machinery involved in the synthesis of xylan and glucomannan, the two main hemicelluloses of secondary cell walls of plants. This project aims to develop tools, identify enzymes and improve understanding so that we are able to engineer xylan and glucomannan structures in plants. The longer term goal is to be able to engineer polysaccharides for improved properties and applications of plant cell walls for timber, paper, agriculture, animal feed and human food.

Candidates must have, or be close to completing, a PhD in Plant Biochemistry, Plant Biotechnology, or related field. Knowledge of plant cell wall synthesis, polysaccharide analysis and Arabidopsis as a model system is essential. Previous experience with polysaccharide hydrolase heterologous expression and use, HPAEC monosaccharide analysis, PACE and synthetic biology is desirable. Proficiency in sequence analysis, expression construct preparation and confocal fluorescence microscopy is also required.

The successful candidate will conduct research and also write up their research work for presentation and publication. The post holder may be required to assist in the supervision of student projects, provide instructions to students and deliver seminars relating to their research area.

Good communication skills are essential as the post holder will need to work well in a team and collaborate with other researchers. Candidates would ideally have published or submitted papers in this area.

Fixed-term: The funds for this post are available for 3 years in the first instance.

Informal enquiries can be made to Professor Paul Dupree -