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Postdoctoral Training Opportunity - Cell Free Synthetic Biology Diagnostics

The Lucks Laboratory

Postdoctoral Researcher Position – Cell Free Synthetic Biology Diagnostics

Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Center for Synthetic Biology Northwestern University

What they are looking for: They are seeking creative and enthusiastic postdoctoral researchers interested in the development and application of cell-free synthetic biology diagnostics to address global sustainability challenges. Particular areas of interest include development of computer aided design (CAD) tools to model and design the next generation of cell-free diagnostic platforms, developing approaches to massively increase the scale at which they can manufacture and deploy cell-free diagnostic systems, and understanding the impacts of cell-free diagnostics on human knowledge, attitudes and behaviors. Application areas of the technologies include water quality, human health, and pathogen monitoring. They are interested in candidates that are passionate about these questions, are excited to lead projects, and that have interest in experimental and/or computational approaches.

Who they are: The Lucks Lab is a highly energetic, multidisciplinary, collaborative and diverse group working at the forefront of synthetic biology. The staff come from a wide array of backgrounds (molecular biology, genetics, systems biology, chemical engineering, bioengineering, biophysics, and more) and are driven to creatively tackle fascinating and challenging problems in synthetic biology. They research both fundamental RNA biology questions, as well as questions related to engineering synthetic RNA systems to address important global challenges. They are embedded in a highly collaborative network of Departments, Programs and Centers around Northwestern University, and are core members of the Northwestern Center for Synthetic Biology.

Relevant recent publications:

  • J. Jung, K. K. Alam, M. Verosloff, D. A. Capdevila, M. Desmau, P. R. Clauer, J. W. Lee, P. Q. Nguyen, A. Pasten, S. Matiasek, J.-F. Gaillard, D. P. Giedroc, J. J. Collins, J. B. Lucks (2020). “Cell-free biosensors for rapid detection of water contaminants.” Nature Biotechnology. doi: 10.1038/s41587-020- 0571-7.
  • J. Jung, K. K. Alam, J. B. Lucks (2021). “Programming cell-free biosensors with DNA strand displacement circuits”. BioRxiv: 10.1101/2021.03.16.435693.
  • Thavarajah, M. Verosloff, K. J. Jung, K. K. Alam, J. Miller, M. C. Jewett, S. L. Young, J. B. Lucks (2020). “A primer on emerging field-deployable tools for democratizing global water quality monitoring.” npj Clean Water, 3, 18, doi: 10.1038/s41545-020-0064-8.
  • D. Silverman, U. Akova, K. K. Alam, M. C. Jewett, J. B. Lucks (2020). “Design and optimization of a cell-free atrazine biosensor.” ACS Synthetic Biology, 9, 671, doi: 10.1021/acssynbio.9b00388.
  • Thavarajah, A. D. Silverman, M. Verosloff, N. Kelley-Loughnane, M. C. Jewett, J. B. Lucks (2020). “Point-of-use detection of environmental fluoride via a cell-free riboswitch-based biosensor.” ACS Synthetic Biology, 9, 10-18, doi: 10.1021/acssynbio.9b00347.

For more information: Please visit the lab's website and Center for Synthetic Biology.

To apply: Provide a cover letter describing your previous research and your interest in our lab, and a CV with names and contact information for references to

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.