Postdoctoral Research Associate in Synthetic Cell Design

Northwestern University
Evanston, Illinois
Commensurate with experience
September 26 2019
Organization Type
Job Type

Kamat Lab at Northwestern University

Project summary: The Kamat lab is seeking a motivated recent or pending PhD graduate for a project focused on designing a synthetic cell. This NSF sponsored project will investigate strategies to optimize a cell-free biochemical reaction in synthetic vesicles. The project is a collaboration between the labs in Northwestern’s Center of Synthetic Biology (Kamat, Tullman-Ercek, Bagheri, Jewett, Lucks, Leonard, Tyo, Prindle, and Mrksich) that will involve the use of cell-free extracts, compartmentalization strategies using bacterial microcompartments and bilayer vesicles, and machine learning techniques. The postdoctoral associate will use a multidisciplinary approach to construct bilayer vesicles and encapsulate cell-free expression systems. They will conduct gene expression analysis, biophysical characterization of membranes, and imaging analysis in order to optimize structural and chemical features of synthetic vesicles and carry out a multi-step biochemical reaction. The project will focus on answering the following key questions:

1. How does segregation of cell-free expression components and select enzymes involved in a multi-step pathway influence the kinetics of the reaction and yield of desired biochemical product?

2. How can vesicle membranes be designed to selectively control the transport of key substrates and biochemical intermediates such that a biochemical reaction is optimized?

3. How can bacterial microcompartments be designed to segregate select enzymes to make specific intermediate products in a biochemical reaction?

4. How can the temporal dynamics of a biochemical reaction be controlled through careful design of vesicle and bacterial compartments?

Suggested qualifications: Qualified applicants should have a completed PhD in the area of synthetic biology, bioengineering, chemical engineering, membrane biophysics, or a similar field. Some experience with cell-free expression techniques, molecular biology techniques, and vesicle assembly and characterization techniques is important. Experience with microfluidic techniques is encouraged but not required.

To apply, please send your CV, a list of 3 references, and a cover letter to Neha Kamat (

Northwestern University is an Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action Employer of all protected classes, including veterans and individuals with disabilities. Women, racial and ethnic minorities, individuals with disabilities, and veterans are encouraged to apply. Hiring is contingent upon eligibility to work in the United States.


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