Research Associate/Assistant in Theoretical Design and Analysis of Biomolecular Control Systems in Synthetic Biology

Imperial College London

Job summary

The project entitled ‘Accelerating Engineering Biology: Efficient Engineering of Reliable and High-Performance Biosystems’ aims to model, analyse, and design biomolecular control systems embedded in living cells, with a particular focus on their robust dynamic performance and on their cellular resource consumption. This project is part of a long-term research plan for Engineering Biology supported by a Royal Academy of Engineering Chair in...

Job listing information

  • Reference ENG01704
  • Date posted 18 May 2021
  • Closing date 15 June 2021

Key information about the role

  • Location South Kensington Campus (map)
  • Position type Full time, fixed term
  • Salary £36,045 – £48,340 plus benefits
  • Department Department of Bioengineering
  • Category Researcher / Non Clinical Researcher

Job description

Job summary

The project entitled ‘Accelerating Engineering Biology: Efficient Engineering of Reliable and High-Performance Biosystems’ aims to model, analyse, and design biomolecular control systems embedded in living cells, with a particular focus on their robust dynamic performance and on their cellular resource consumption.

This project is part of a long-term research plan for Engineering Biology supported by a Royal Academy of Engineering Chair in Emerging Technologies to Prof Guy-Bart Stan.

The project involves the theoretical design and analysis of biomolecular (feedback and feedforward) control systems to robustly control individual cells and interacting populations of cells. The project will consider design tradeoffs in terms of cellular resource cost and accuracy/performance of designed biomolecular controllers.

Rational design of resource-based biomolecular control systems is important to develop next-generation synthetic biology systems that operate in symbiosis with their host cells, and through this enable the realisation of synthetic biology systems that have robust optimal performance, yet do not overload their host cell.

The project will make use of and further develop predictive, minimal, whole-cell and multi-cell models (Ordinary Differential Equations and Chemical Master Equations) that consider availability of shared cellular resources.

In the longer term, the project will aim to develop an engineering framework to predictively integrate and fine-tune several biomolecular control mechanisms at once (e.g. control via regulation of gene copy number, transcription, mRNA half-life, translation, and protein half-life) so as to increase the overall functional robustness and efficiency of implemented synthetic biology systems that need to operate in the context of their host cells.

The project will be supervised by Prof Guy-Bart Stan (http://www.bg.ic.ac.uk/research/g.stan/). You will have the opportunity to collaborate with other members of the Stan Group (https://gstan.bg-research.cc.ic.ac.uk/group/people.shtml) and of the Imperial College Centre of Excellence in Synthetic Biology (http://www.imperial.ac.uk/synthetic-biology/centre/) as well participate in the supervision of PhD, Masters, and Undergraduate students.

In addition, for the proposed role, you will work closely with other Research Associates, in particular theoreticians and experimentalists working in the Stan Group and in the Centre.

The Stan Group is part of the Department of Bioengineering and belongs to the world-leading Imperial College Centre of Excellence in Synthetic Biology (http://www.imperial.ac.uk/synthetic-biology/centre/) of which Prof Stan is the Co-Director.

You will also benefit from training and support from the Postdoc and Fellows Development Centre (https://www.imperial.ac.uk/postdoc-fellows-development-centre) and its multi-award-winning career development programmes.

Duties and responsibilities

You will work in the group of Prof Guy-Bart Stan and closely with other research staff, students, and collaborators on the project.

In addition, you will have the opportunity to collaborate with other well-known scientists at Imperial College, as well as other international academics and companies. You will be responsible for detailed modelling, analysis, and design of proposed biomolecular control systems, and for providing a connection point between the basic theory and the concrete experimental implementation.

Essential requirements

The ideal candidate will have PhD-level expertise in mathematical modelling and simulation of biomolecular/biochemical systems, and a familiarity with the design, analysis, and control of biomolecular and/or biochemical control systems.

Proficiency with scientific programming and the simulation of dynamical control systems is highly desirable. You will have the opportunity to present the results at international conferences and to write research and review articles in the appropriate journals.

You will help in the supervision of PhD, Master and Undergraduate students, collaborating with their supervisors and teams. You will work in a friendly, collaborative and multidisciplinary environment with high training and career development opportunities.

Further information

The project has a duration of 24 months with possibility of extension.

Informal enquires can be made directly to g.stan@imperial.ac.uk.

Any queries regarding the application process should be directed to Jo Adam, i.adam@imperial.ac.uk.