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Research Associate in Diatom Cell Biology

Based at
University of York - Heslington Campus
Hours of work
Contract status
Fixed term
32,817 - 40,322 a year
Posted Date
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Role Description

The Mackinder Lab is looking to recruit a highly motivated, creative and talented postdoctoral researcher to perform a lead role on a project to develop high-throughput approaches in diatoms to rapidly advance our understanding of the diatom CO2-concentrating mechanism (CCM). The project is based in the Department of Biology, University of York. The post will be up to 3 years, with potential for extension.

The successful candidate will lead the development of a fluorescent protein tagging pipeline in the diatom Thalassiosira pseudonana to understand the spatial distribution of proteins in the diatom CCM. In parallel, target genes will be knocked out using CRISPR/Cas9 to understand their functional importance. The project will have a strong focus on the pyrenoid, a liquid-liquid phased separated organelle found in algae that is critical for efficient CO2 fixation. Diatoms are fundamental for global carbon cycling, contributing ~20% of global net primary production. A deeper understanding of how diatoms efficiently fix CO2 will provide novel insights into the cellular mechanisms that drive CO2 sequestration from the atmosphere into the ocean and provide molecular parts for the engineering of improved photosynthetic efficiency in plants.

Within the project, you will be part of an international team conducting research to understand CO2 fixation in photosynthetic organisms. You will assist in the development of research areas, research proposals and the writing of research results for dissemination through publications and conference presentations. You may also assist with undergraduate teaching in your area of expertise. You will have an interest in the subject matter of the project and possess a relevant PhD in the field of molecular biology, cell biology, biochemistry or a related subject. You will have experience in collaborative research that encompasses a range of molecular, cell, biochemical and data analysis techniques including; cloning, confocal microscopy and the handling of complex datasets. You will have attention to detail, a commitment to performing high-quality research and a positive collaborative ethos. You will have demonstrated experience of seeing a project to completion through publication in a quality internationally recognised journal. You will have the ability to efficiently meet deadlines and the initiative to plan research programmes. Excellent communication skills are essential, and you should be keen to develop project/team leadership skills.

The Mackinder lab ( focuses on the development of high-throughput approaches in a diverse range of photosynthetic microbes (Mackinder et al. 2017, Cell 171:133-147; Emrich Mills et al. BioRxiv and uses these datasets to give novel insights into how aquatic organisms turbocharge their photosynthesis through the operation of CO2 concentrating mechanisms (Mackinder et al. 2016, PNAS 113:5958–5963; Freeman Rosenzweig et al. 2017, Cell 171:148-162; Mukherjee et al. 2019 PNAS 116:16915–20). The labs main research goals are to rapidly advance our molecular understanding of how photosynthetic microbes drive approximately 50% of global CO2 fixation and use this knowledge to guide photosynthetic engineering to improve crop yields and guide enhanced biological based CO2 capture systems.

Informal enquiries should be addressed to Luke Mackinder (telephone +44 (0)1904 328984, For an alternative contact, please email

Interview date: tbc

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