Scientist/Adjunct Assistant Professor in Biophysics

San Francisco Bay Area or Pasadena/LA area.
Salary is competitive and commensurate with experience. Employer will provide health benefits, paid
June 10 2019
Position Type
Full Time
Organization Type

Scientist/Adjunct Assistant Professor in Biophysics

Global Viral (GV) invites applications for an independent, self-motivated biophysicist as Scientist/Adjunct Assistant Professor to work on a newly funded project aimed at exploring information transfer and origins of complexity in biological systems. Work will be supervised by Dr. Shailesh Date, Chief Scientific Officer of Global Viral, and will be performed at SF State University (San Francisco) in collaboration with Dr. Joseph Barranco, Chair, Dept. of Physics, and partly at NASA/JPL (Pasadena) in collaboration with Dr. Parag Vaishampayan.

The candidate will be a member of the Boundaries of Life research team, which comprises of PIs, students and postdocs from Stanford, Caltech, NASA/JPL and the Joint Genome Institute, and will be part of soon to be launched Laboratory for Research in Complex Systems (LRC). Non-US citizens should be eligible to work in the United States on a work (H1B) visa.

Project description: The project aims to meld aspects of biophysics (thermodynamics of physical processes) with evolutionary theory to build simple models illustrating origins of complex systems in biology, how biological systems reduce entropy and capture information, and how non-genomic information in the form of templates, gradients, flows ratios and so on is transmitted between generations. The project will focus on answering the following key questions:

  1. What does a survey of bacterial 16S rRNA inform us about bacterial phylogeny?
  2. Can evolutionary concepts like exaptation help explain origins of complexity at the systems level?
  3. Does the process of exaptation lead to something like a phase transition or state change in a system or group of systems by reorganizing molecular interactions?
  4. If function is viewed as sum of interactions within a complex biological system, which components of biological systems (inputs/processes/outputs/controls) are under selection pressure? 

Quantitative models will be experimentally tested using bacterial model systems, with the aim of synthetically pushing biological systems towards new behaviors and functions.

Desired qualifications: Candidates should have obtained a Ph.D. degree in the natural/quantitative sciences with emphasis on modeling biological systems. Strong computational and quantitative skills are required. Previous postdoctoral experience, along with knowledge of bioinformatics, commonly used bioinformatics tools/platforms, analysis of high throughput data (E.g. NGSa, mass spec), phylogenetics (particularly bacterial phylogenetics) and evolutionary biology will be considered a big plus. In all instances, candidates should demonstrate the ability to communicate and work with biologists to test predictive models; wet-lab skills are desired but not necessary.

Appointment and Duties: The position is intended to prepare the candidate for a career as a professional scientist, and requires the candidate to conduct research, teach and supervise, and perform service for the organization. The candidate will be appointed as Fellow/Scientist at Global Viral for the duration of the project (3 years), and may be nominated as Adjunct Assistant Professor at SF State University (approval to be based on qualifications and experience). The candidate will be appointed as Scientist at Global Viral for the duration of the project (3 years), and will also be nominated as Adjunct Assistant Professor at SF State University (approval to be based on qualifications and experience). Appointment beyond this period is contingent on availability of additional funding. Experienced candidates will have the opportunity to supervise a graduate (Masters degree) student. The candidate is expected to work independently to develop the funded project along with other supporting projects. He/she should be willing to write grant proposals to support research within the organization, and to travel between San Francisco and Pasadena and spend time working at JPL to conduct research activities.

To apply: Please send CV directly to and fill out this folllowing form  . Applications will be accepted till August 31, 2019, and the candidate is expected to start work in September. Global Viral welcomes all candidates regardless of race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation, and places a very high emphasis on diversity. Women and under-represented minorities are highly encouraged to apply.

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