Synthetic Biology

Synthetic biology is an emergent field in biological physics and bionanotechnology that either uses non-natural molecules in biological systems or assembles natural biological components to create minimal, non-natural systems. Both approaches can be used to inform our understanding of biological systems or can be used to develop diagnostic tools for diseases. The School of Physics and Astronomy is seeking an experimentalist with strong biophysics background to complement and extend the existing strengths in the area of “minimal systems” or “biology in extreme environments” within the Molecular and Nanoscale Physics (MNP) Group and to complement additional UAF SynBio positions within the faculties of biological sciences and engineering.

We would be particularly interested in candidates who have expertise in:

i) The hierarchical assembly of basic biological building blocks for the construction of minimal functional systems that are involved in light capture or colour change, e.g. chlorosomes, iridophores or other photo-system mimics.
ii) Approaches to examine the structural, dynamical and functional strategies of biological molecules under extreme environmental conditions, including high/low temperature, pressure and extreme solution conditions, and the exploitation of such molecules in the assembly of new biomaterials and functional devices.

We would also welcome applications from those with other synthetic biology interest or with expertise in advanced biophysical techniques that could be used for studying biological systems, from molecules to cells.

You will develop a research profile in the field of Synthetic biology that will contribute to the University’s ambition to excel at REF2020, with a sustained record of internationally excellent (and some world-leading) publications.  You will also be expected to participate strongly in the development and delivery of relevant educational material/programmes at undergraduate, Masters and PhD level.

You will have a PhD in Physics, Biophysics or a related discipline an excellent track record of research in biological physics in relation to synthetic biology and a commitment to teaching at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels in a research environment.

University Grade 8 (£38,511 to £45,954)

For informal enquiries about the role please contact Professor Stephen Evans, tel: +44 (0)113 343 3852, email: or Dr Lorna Dougan tel: +44 (0)113 343 3852, email:

Ref: MAPPA1002